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Updates and analysis from Day 2 of the Republican National Convention

First lady Melania Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Eric and Tiffany Trump spoke on Tuesday
Image: First lady Melania Trump, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on a background of stage lights and dark red curtains.
Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

The Republican National Convention continued Tuesday with speeches from first lady Melania Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and two of Trump's children.

Melania Trump headlined Tuesday night's line-up with a speech from the White House, where she is reflected on her time as first lady, making the case why her husband deserves another four years.

Pompeo, meanwhile, addressed the convention from Jerusalem, a move that has drawn fire from diplomats and breaks with long-standing tradition aimed at keeping U.S. foreign policy separate from domestic politics.

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading RNC news from this week.

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RNC highlights from Night 2

Aug. 26, 202003:54

Fact check: Pompeo claims Trump 'ended ridiculously unfair trade deals with China.' Did he?

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday in his RNC speech that Trump “ended ridiculously unfair trade deals with China that punched a hole in our economy.”

This claim is exaggerated. 

Trump and China signed phase one of a hard-fought trade deal only months ago in January, and questions have remained among U.S. officials and policy watchers since over whether China has held up its end of the deal so far. 

The deal reached in January capped a bitter 18-month battle between the world's two largest economies that had roiled markets and slowed economic growth worldwide.

The $200 billion trade deal includes "an average" of $40 billion a year for the next two years in agricultural purchase targets from the Chinese; a pledge to purchase $77.8 billion more in U.S. manufactured goods, such as cars, aircraft and farm machinery; $52.4 billion in U.S. oil and gas purchases; $37.9 billion in financial and other services; and increased protections for U.S. intellectual property.

The deal, however, didn’t include arrangements about other substantial disputes between the nations, including enforcement of forced technology transfer and China's subsidies of competitive industries. Those thornier issues were relegated to the second phase of the trade deal, which is not likely to be resolved until after the U.S. presidential election.

 

Melania Trump's speech strikes decidedly different tone on pandemic and race than her husband's

Melania Trump used her keynote speech at the Republican National Convention to strike a decidedly different tone than her husband or a number of other prominent speakers who preceded her.

It began with the coronavirus pandemic, of which she expressed her “deepest sympathy ... to everyone who has lost a loved one.” More than 800,000 have died globally with nearly 180,000 of those deaths in the U.S.

“My prayers are with those who are ill or suffering,” she said. “I know many people are anxious and some feel helpless. I want you to know you are not alone.”

That came after Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, hours earlier referred to the pandemic in the past tense.

While prior speakers like Nikki Haley said America is not racist, the first lady said the racial unrest in the country speaks to “a harsh reality” in the country.

“We are not proud of parts of our history,” she said, adding, “I urge people to come together: stop the violence and looting, though done in the name of justice. Never judge anyone based on the color of their skin."

Later, she said she did not want to spend time “attacking the other side” because that “only serves to divide the country further.”

Certainly, that was a turn from prior RNC speakers, like Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who said no one in the country will be safe if Joe Biden wins.

On her husband, the first lady said, “Whether you like it or not, you always know what he’s thinking.”

Melania touts beauty of Africa in RNC speech. Trump had a different description.

During her headlining speech at the RNC Tuesday night, Melania Trump spoke warmly of her visit to several African countries in 2018.

She called it a “vast and beautiful” continent in which she visited various countries, such as Ghana, and learned about the cultures and also the slave trade. This is, of course, in contrast with her husband.  The president has referred to Haiti and African nations as "shithole countries" during a meeting with a bipartisan group of senators at the White House in 2018. 

Later in her speech, the first lady also touched on the current protests surrounding racial injustice. 

"It's a harsh reality, we are not proud of parts of our history," she said. The line was a notable contrast to her husband, a strong critic of the protest movement who has vocally defended Confederate Flags and monuments.

Daniel Cameron, Kentucky's Republican attorney general, excoriates Biden in speech

Daniel Cameron, a Republican who is Kentucky's attorney general, excoriated Biden in his speech at the RNC on Tuesday night over the former vice president’s previous comments on race. 

“The question is: Will we choose the path that gives us the best chance to meet those universal desires? Or will we go backward, to a time when people were treated like political commodities who can’t be trusted to think for themselves?” Cameron, who is Black said, a common refrain from Black conservatives who argue the Democratic Party takes Black voters for granted. 

He called Biden a “backwards thinker” with a “trail of discredited ideas and offensive statements” — one of the most forceful rebukes of Biden from one of the top Black Republicans in the country. 

“I think often about my ancestors who struggled for freedom. And as I think of those giants and their broad shoulders, I also think about Joe Biden, who says, ‘If you aren’t voting for me, you ain’t black,’ who argued that Republicans would put us ‘back in chains,’ who says there is no ‘diversity’ of thought in the black community," he said. 

Biden has apologized for his comments after intense scrutiny, but Cameron’s speech signals the problems both parties have with race. Although Black voters support Biden overwhelmingly, he has struggled with younger Black voters.

Trump has also been accused of using racial slurs, including the N-word. Cameron himself has also been under scrutiny over the killing of 26-year-old EMT and aspiring nurse Breonna Taylor. Protesters have called on officials to charge and arrest the officers who killed Taylor in her own home on March 13.

Fact check: Eric Trump falsely says Biden wants to defund police

"Biden has pledged to defund the police," the president's son said Tuesday.

The assertion, made or insinuated in multiple speeches at the RNC, is inaccurate. Biden rejected those calls from the hard left in June, telling CBS News: "No, I don't support defunding the police."

He has instead proposed to increase police funding by "reinvigorate the COPS program with a $300 million investment," according to his official justice platformCOPS refers to Community Oriented Policing Services, a program that seeks to bolster community-based policing. 

Pompeo praises Trump from Jerusalem amid backlash

Pompeo addressed the RNC, speaking from Jerusalem in an unprecedented political moment for the country's top diplomat

He promoted Trump's agenda abroad, saying that it "may not have made him popular in every foreign capital, but it has worked."

His speech was met with backlash even before it aired. 

Diplomats who are barred by law from mixing work and politics say they're appalled by Pompeo's decision to address the RNC, breaking with long-standing traditions aimed at isolating American's foreign policy from partisan battles at home.

It would be problematic enough, current and former U.S. diplomats said, if Pompeo were simply showing up at the convention to speak. But Pompeo's decision to use a stop in Jerusalem during an official overseas trip as the site for his recorded speech to fellow Republicans raises even more troubling questions about the message it sends to other countries and whether U.S. taxpayers are footing the bill, they said.

The speech is also under investigation by the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s subpanel on oversight.

Eric Trump drops a chilling line from Reagan, but its context isn't quite right

Eric Trump channeled Ronald Reagan during his speech with the line: "One day we could spend our sunset years telling our children what it was once like in the United States, where men and women were free."

It's certainly a striking line, and one Eric Trump used to warn about what would happen if "the extreme left" takes power in the U.S. But the context here is notable. The line is from a 1961 speech from Reagan who, as an actor, was arguing against Medicare, the national health insurance system that is now used by more than 60 million older Americans and people with disabilities. 

It's a program that could be expanded if Biden wins.

Trump's RNC White House naturalization ceremony raises Hatch Act red flag

The Hatch Act generally prohibits federal employees aside from the president from engaging in political activities in their official capacity, and critics charged that DHS Secretary Chad Wolf's presiding over a naturalization ceremony filmed for the Republican National Convention may have been a violation. The use of the White House as a backdrop for the event also raised red flags.

Accusations of Hatch Act violations are not new to the Trump administration. Violations can result in disciplinary actions or removal from the government, though such a strong response has not taken place in light of high profile instances.

Another potential violation occurred later in the convention, with Pompeo's speech.

The Hatch Act began trending on Twitter during the convention's second hour.