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Updates and analysis from Day 4 of the Republican National Convention

The convention concluded with President Donald Trump's acceptance speech.
Image: President Donald Trump and his daughter, Ivanka Trump, will be the keynote speakers on the last night of the Republican National Convention on Thursday.
President Trump and his daughter Ivanka will be the keynote speakers on the last night of the Republican National Convention on Thursday.Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

The final day of the Republican National Convention took place on Thursday, culminating in President Donald Trump's speech accepting the Republican nomination for president.

Other speakers on Thursday included Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and senior adviser, and Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer.

Trump delivered his speech at the White House, a decision that critics have said could be a violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in certain political activities. The president and vice president are exempt from the law but other White House employees are not.

Fact check: Giuliani wrong about 'riots' in 'Democrat' cities

Rudy Giuliani made several wrong, exaggerated or misleading claims about policing and law enforcement in the U.S. during his RNC speech Thursday.

Speaking about the protests sparked across the U.S. in response to the death of a Black man, George Floyd, under the knee of a White Minneapolis police officer, Giuliani said, “Soon protests turned into riots in many other American cities, almost all Democrats."

He blamed the violence on "Black Lives Matter and ANTIFA" who he said "sprang into action" and"hijacked peaceful protest into vicious brutal riots."

He added that, in those riots, "people [were] beaten, shot, and killed. Police officers routinely assaulted, badly beaten, and occasionally murdered.”

This is all a substantial distortion and exaggeration of the facts.

Following Floyd’s death, protests took place in at least 450 cities. As NBC News fact checked Wednesday night, those include large demonstrations in Miami, whose mayor is a registered Republican, and smaller ones in smaller cities and towns in regions supportive of Trump.

Furthermore, the protests in recent months have been largely peaceful. Violent incidents did occur, but many were initiated by outside groups with political agendas

According to multiple reports, including a Washington Post fact check, there were no signs that that antifa was behind violence at these protests. As of earlier this month, federal prosecutors had not been able to link dozens of people arrested in protests in Portland, Ore., to antifa.

In fact, in at least one instance where a police officer was killed during a protest, the suspect was actually aligned with a far-right extremist group. In Oakland, Air Force Staff Sgt. Steven Carrillo — a member of the “boogaloo,” an online extremist group with violent views — is accused of killing a federal officer. Authorities have said he was using nearby peaceful protests as cover.

And during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, two people were killed and another was injured when someone opened fire.

Police have arrested 17-year-old Illinois resident Kyle Rittenhouse on a first-degree intentional murder charge in connection with those shootings. NBC News has reported that Rittenhouse had promoted "Blue Lives Matter" online.

Giuliani calls on Trump to ‘Make our nation safe again’

Rudy Giuliani delivered a forceful speech condemning violence in American cities and ended his speech by calling on Trump to "make our nation safe again" — a puzzling pitch for a president who has led the country during such unrest.

Giuliani also slammed Joe Biden, calling him a “Trojan Horse with Bernie, AOC, Pelosi, Black Lives Matter and his party’s entire left wing hidden inside his body just waiting to execute their pro-criminal, anti-police policies.”

“It is clear that a vote for Biden and the Democrats creates the risk that you will bring this lawlessness to your city, town or suburb,” he said. “It can come to where you live.”

While railing against the Black Lives Matter group, Giuliani paid tribute to victims of violence and said that "all Black Lives Matter" to Republicans.

In conclusion, Giuliani said, “Mr. President, make our nation safe again."

Protesters gather outside the White House ahead of Trump speech

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the White House on Thursday night shortly before President Trump was set to accept the Republican nomination on the South Lawn.

The demonstration followed calls on social media for protesters to try disrupt the president's outdoor speech by making lots of noise. Federal officials erected extra fencing around the White House earlier this week in an apparent bid to keep protesters farther away.

Reporters at the protest site described the mood as festive ahead of the speech, and said there was a police presence, but no sign of a large federal response.

Read more here.

Fact check: Giuliani mischaracterizes legislative efforts for police reform

Rudy Giuliani claimed in his RNC speech Thursday that, following George Floyd’s death, “it seemed, for a few brief shining moments, Democrat and Republican leaders would come together with a unified proposal to reduce police misconduct.”

He added that it didn’t move forward because “this possibility was very dangerous to the left.”

There is no evidence that Democrats and Republicans ever came anywhere close to reaching any kind of bipartisan deal on police reform after Floyd, a Black man, died under the knee of a white police officer. And the pressure to not move forward on a bill came from the White House, not the progressive wing of the party.

On the contrary, the House, in which the Democratic Party holds the majority, passed a sweeping police reform bill in late June largely along party lines to address systemic racism and police brutality.

The legislation would ban all neck restraints, including chokeholds and the kind used on Floyd by a then-Minneapolis police officer, as well as no-knock warrants in drug cases, as was used in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, in March.

The legislation would also require police departments to send data on the use of force to the federal government and create a grant program that would allow state attorneys general to create an independent process to investigate misconduct or excessive use of force. The bill would also make it easier for people to recover damages when police departments violate their civil rights, and, for the first time, make lynching a federal hate crime.

Trump threatened to veto the measure if it passed the Republican-controlled Senate.

Senate Republicans had supported their own, narrower, bill, which wouldn't ban chokeholds but would withhold federal funding from police departments that don't stop using the potentially deadly technique.

The Republican bill would collect data on entries using "no-knock" warrants instead of banning them.

And while the Democratic bill would create a national registry for complaints and disciplinary records of officers and also require reporting on use-of-force incidents, the GOP measure would collect data only when police officers use force that results in serious injury or death.

How Alice Marie Johnson became of symbol of Trump’s criminal justice reform agenda

Two years ago, reality star Kim Kardashian West personally lobbied the president in an Oval Office meeting to intervene on behalf of Alice Marie Johnson. 

Johnson’s story went viral after she did an interview from inside of an Alabama federal prison in which she was serving a life sentence without parole for a first-time, nonviolent drug offense.

In that video, Johnson shared the details of her story.

Johnson had been in federal lockup for more than 21 years after being found guilty in connection to a drug trafficking conspiracy, and she would likely have died behind bars without the president's clemency. She was one of the thousands of Americans serving life sentences for nonviolent offenses, according to a 2013 report by the American Civil Liberties Union, the vast majority of whom are there on drug crimes.

Since her sentence was commuted by Trump in June 2018, she has consistently thanked Kardashian West and the president for her release — and Trump has also used her story as he advocates from criminal justice reform. In her speech on Thursday, she did explicitly not urge Americans to re-elect the president, but praised and thanked him for his actions on criminal justice. 

"I pray that you will not just hear this message, but that you will be inspired by my story and your compassion will lead you to take action for those who are forgotten. That's what our president, Donald Trump did for me," she said. "And for that, I will be forever grateful. God bless you. God bless President Trump, and God bless America." 

RNC airs video clip from Barcelona, calls it 'Biden’s America'

The Republican National Convention aired a video on Monday decrying U.S. protests and citing potential chaos in the streets if Joe Biden is elected president.

The video, which has since been posted on President Trump’s official YouTube account, is titled “Catalina and Madeline” and features two Chicago-area sisters, Catalina and Madeline Lauf, who discuss their conservative beliefs and their support for the president.

“This is a taste of Biden’s America,” one of the sisters narrates as photos and videos of protests flash on screen. “The rioting, the crime. Freedom is at stake now and this is going to be the most important election of our lifetime.”

While the imagery appears to allude to the recent American protests after the fatal encounter of George Floyd with the Minneapolis police in May, one part of the video is from an entirely different protest, a different country and a different year.

NBC News was able to identify that a portion of the video was in fact taken during Catalonia independence protests in October 2019 and not during recent protests in the United States over racial injustice and police brutality. Catalonian public broadcaster, CCA, was first to report on the misinformation on August 25.

The Trump campaign and the RNC did not immediately respond to NBC News' requests for comment.

Fact check: Cotton says Biden 'opposed the mission to kill Osama bin Laden.' This is misleading.

This is misleading. Biden has offered multiple versions of the advice he provided to Obama regarding whether the then-president should move forward the 2011 mission that ultimately killed bin Laden.

In 2012, Biden revealed what he told Obama during a Situation Room meeting where top administration officials were going around the room offering their advice president should or shouldn’t move forward.

"He got to me. He said, 'Joe, what do you think?' And I said, 'You know, I didn't know we had so many economists around the table.' I said, 'We owe the man a direct answer. Mr. President, my suggestion is, don't go. We have to do two more things to see if he's there,'" Biden said, according to reports at the time.

Five months later, he told NBC News’ “Meet the Press” that he’d privately told Obama after that meeting had ended to, “Follow your instincts, Mr. President” and that Biden had “wanted him to take one more day to do one more test to see if he was there.”

He further leaned into that version in a 2015 interview, saying “that I thought he should go, but follow his own instincts.” Biden then contradicted his initial claims, saying, “imagine if I had said in front of everyone, 'Don't go,' or 'Go,' and his decision was a different decision. It undercuts that relationship.” 

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton, in her 2014 book “Hard Choices,” wrote that Biden “remained skeptical” about the raid, while Gates in his 2014 book, wrote that he and Biden were both “skeptics.” 

Fact check: Cotton accurately quotes former Obama defense secretary on Biden

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., leveled several accusations against Joe Biden, mostly regarding his views and actions as vice president on foreign policy. This one, about what a former defense secretary had to say about Biden's judgment, is accurate. 

Cotton said that “Barack Obama's own secretary of defense said Joe Biden has been wrong on nearly every major national security decision over the past four decades.”

This is true. Robert Gates, who served as President Obama’s secretary of defense for more than two years, wrote in his 2014 memoir, “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary At War,” that Biden had “been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades."

Ben Carson discusses Jacob Blake, says Trump isn't racist

Ben Carson made what appeared to be the first mention of Jacob Blake, the Wisconsin man shot seven times by police, at the Republican National Convention on Thursday.

"Before I begin, I’d like to say that our hearts go out to the Blake family,” Carson said. “The images everyone has seen from this tragic event in Kenosha are heart-wrenching. This action deserves a serene response, one that steers away from the destruction of a community that molded Jacob and his family into the kind of man his family and friends know today."

“In order to succeed in change, we must first come together in love of our fellow citizens,” he continued. “It may be hard to believe now, but indeed our country, our world, have been through worse and history reminds us that necessary change comes through hope and love, not senseless and destructive violence.”

Carson then transitioned his speech into pitching Trump as not racist, echoing several other speakers of color at the Republican convention.

NYPD union boss Pat Lynch underscores Trump’s law and order message

Pat Lynch is the president of the Police Benevolent Association, a union with 50,000 active and retired NYPD officers. While it is unusual for him to speak at a political convention, he has been a bullhorn for law enforcement in New York City and around the country, particularly as officers violently clashed with protesters calling for defunding the police.

Lynch has been at loggerheads with the city’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, and has generated controversy over the years, such as fiercely opposing the firing of the officer who killed Eric Garner. 

His RNC speech was similar to Trump’s rhetoric about Democratic-run cities. 

“The Democrats have walked away from us. They have walked away from police officers and they've walked away from the innocent people we protect,” Lynch said. “Democratic politicians have surrendered our streets and our institutions. The loudest voices have taken control, and our so-called leaders are scrambling to catch up with them.”

It’s worth noting that, according to The New York Times, major crimes have not risen in NYC and the paper’s analysis of city data shows that the recent spike in shootings is largely because of the number of arrests for gun crimes has sharply decreased.

RNC goes after Bill de Blasio. He’s not on the ballot and already has low approval ratings

The RNC played a montage fearing residents and tenant leaders from New York City’s House Authority buildings, which houses low-income New Yorkers. 

The residents and video slammed Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is not on the Democratic ticket. What’s more, he was not invited to speak at the Democratic National Convention. Since the start of the pandemic and racial unrest, de Blasio has been routinely criticized by both conservatives and progressives. 

A Change Research poll in March put him at a 40 percent approval rating among the city’s residents.