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.
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Susan Collins refuses to say if she'll vote for Trump
After the head of the Maine Republican Party told local reporters in a conference that Sen. Susan Collins “supports” President Trump, it raised a lot of questions as the Maine senator has refused to say if she’ll vote for Trump in November. She did not vote for him in 2016.
Collins is in a tough re-election race where she is carefully trying the thread the line of not offending Trump supporters in the state while still maintaining the support of the independent-minded Maine voter.
Pressed on her plans to vote in November, Collins told an NBC affiliate reporter, "I am concentrating on my own race."
Trump pardons convention speaker set to appear with FBI agent who caught him
President Trump pardoned Jon Ponder, a convicted felon who became an advocate for prisoners, hours before Ponder was set to speak at the Republican convention on Tuesday.
In a video released Tuesday evening, Trump said Ponder's "life is a beautiful testament to the power of redemption."
Ponder was convicted of bank robbery and embraced Christianity while imprisoned for six years. He founded Hope for Prisoners in Las Vegas, a prisoner re-entry group that Trump addressed this year.
Ponder will be speaking at the convention alongside former FBI agent Richard Beasley, who arrested Ponder for bank robbery.
A thrice-convicted felon, Ponder was pardoned for other state convictions by Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, this year.
Two White House officials told NBC News the video of Trump pardoning Ponder will play during the convention Tuesday. this video of the president pardoning Jon Ponder will play tonight.
"The president believes Jon Ponder encapsulates the First Step Act," one official said.
Pompeo to say at RNC that Trump will keep 'freedoms intact' if re-elected
Republicans will focus on the economy, trade and cultural debates to make the case for President Trump on Tuesday on the second night of their nominating convention, according to excerpts released by the campaign.
Mike Pompeo will talk about foreign policy, arguing Trump has "led bold initiatives in nearly every corner of the world” and “keep us safe and our freedoms intact," according to the Trump campaign.
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky will also focus on Trump's foreign policy according to an excerpt shared by the campaign, and will say the president was committed to “end war rather than start one."
Michael Cohen is 'complying...'
Biden campaign says there were 'too many lies to count' during RNC's first night
Joe Biden's campaign on Tuesday said there were "too many lies to count" during the first night of the Republican National Convention, adding it was "total malarkey."
"Last night’s incoherent charade was sad, underwhelming, and devoid of vision to the point that it bordered on self parody," the campaign said in a release. "And it glaringly lacked what American families have been demanding for over seven months as Trump’s devastating, inexcusable mismanagement of the pandemic response has cost nearly 180,000 American lives and tens of millions of jobs: any strategy to overcome the coronavirus outbreak."
"Instead of offering anything close to a plan to save American lives and bring our economy back on track, the Republican Convention speakers issued obvious lie after obvious lie," the campaign added. "It was a stark reminder of their inability to make any affirmative case for Trump’s re-election after he’s made the United States the hardest hit country by the pandemic in the entire world and made divisive poison his calling card."
QAnon-supporting House candidate to attend Trump White House speech
Every Rose Garden has its thorny issues
The White House Rose Garden was spruced up in time for its moment in the campaign spotlight.
First lady Melania Trump will deliver her RNC speech Tuesday night from the garden, famous for its close proximity to the Oval Office after three weeks of work. White House officials said the renovations were paid for by private donations. They declined to reveal the cost of the work.
The location of the first lady's speech will be just one of the ways that the Republican National Convention will break with political norms. Federal rules prohibit the White House from being the setting for expressly political events, a regulation that many presidents have flirted with violating.
But the Trump family will be the first to use the executive mansion for a political convention.
Forklift damages iconic monument ahead of Pence speech
A forklift has damaged a brick walkway at the iconic national monument Fort McHenry, where Republicans were building a stage for Vice President Mike Pence’s appearance for the party’s national convention, a National Park Service spokeswoman said Monday.
A national parks advocacy group expressed outrage at the damage, saying stewardship of national monuments should be nonpartisan and professional.
National Park Service spokeswoman Stephanie Roulett confirmed the damage in an email Monday. She said the damaged bricks dated from a 1930s restoration at the fort but gave no details.
This month, the Maryland Republican Party asked for and got a special-use permit from the National Park Service to use the fort as a backdrop for Pence’s political address Wednesday during the Republican National Convention. The park service provided The Associated Press a copy of the permit, which calls the event a political rally and said crews would be building a stage inside the fort, among other work.
Puerto Ricans push back on Kimberly Guilfoyle's 'first-generation American' remarks
Puerto Ricans are pushing back against misleading remarks from Kimberly Guilfoyle, the national chair of the Trump Victory Finance Committee, during her speech at the Republican National Convention Monday night.
Guilfoyle, a former California prosecutor and the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr., showed her support for President Donald Trump's re-election as "a Latina and proud American," she said. Her mother is from Puerto Rico and her father from Ireland.
"As a first generation American, I know how dangerous their socialist agenda is," said Guilfoyle, referring to Democratic opponent Joe Biden and his vice presidential pick, Kamala Harris. "My mother, Mercedes, was a special education teacher from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. My father, also an immigrant, came to this nation in pursuit of the American dream. Now, I consider it my duty to fight to protect that dream."
Her remarks sparked a loud social media backlash lead by people reminding Guilfoyle that Puerto Ricans are not immigrants because they are born U.S. citizens.
House panel to investigate Pompeo's RNC speech
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s decision to speak at the RNC on Tuesday is now under investigation by the House.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s subpanel on oversight informed the State Department of the inquiry in a letter obtained by NBC News after the committee obtained internal State Department legal guidance that explicitly prohibited Senate-confirmed presidential appointees from even attending political conventions.
The subcommittee’s chairman, Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, says that the speech is not only "highly unusual and likely unprecedented" but that "it appears that it may also be illegal."
The letter refers to an email Deputy Secretary Stephen Biegun sent the workforce, reported by NBC News, saying that to comply with the Hatch Act, "I will be sitting on the sidelines of the political process this year and will not be attending any political events, to include the national conventions."
The House panel is requesting a briefing by next Tuesday, Sept. 1, on how the speech came about, as well as a list of all costs related to the trip including those reimbursed by the RNC, the Trump campaign or others. A State Department spokesperson previously told NBC News that the State Department was not bearing any of the costs of Pompeo’s speech, which it said he is conducting in his "personal capacity."
Cissie Graham Lynch, granddaughter of Billy Graham, among those speaking Tuesday night
Tuesday's convention lineup includes Cissie Graham Lynch, the daughter of evangelist Franklin Graham and the granddaughter of the late Billy Graham, and a former Planned Parenthood clinic director turned pro-life speaker.
Graham Lynch serves as communications adviser and spokesperson of her father's organizations, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse. She serves on the executive evangelical advisory board of President Donald Trump’s faith advisory council, according to Trump's campaign, which announced Tuesday's lineup. Franklin Graham is slated to speak at the convention on Thursday.
Also speaking Tuesday is Abby Johnson, who worked for Planned Parenthood for eight years before becoming a pro-life speaker and founder of And Then There Were None, an organization that encourages workers related to abortion to leave their jobs, the campaign said.
Sen. Rand Paul and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are also expected to speak, as are two of the president's children, Eric Trump and Tiffany Trump. First lady Melania Trump is scheduled to conclude the night.