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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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Rand Paul paints Trump as a pacifist to ‘end wars.’ Trump rhetoric says otherwise

Rand Paul tried to paint Trump as someone who would bring an end to wars overseas and reduce the number of troops in countries like Afghanistan. 

"President Trump is the first president in a generation to seek to end wars rather than start one,” later adding that he fears Biden "will support war again," citing the former vice president’s Iraq war vote. Biden has since said he regrets giving President Bush that authority.

However, Trump’s record and rhetoric say otherwise. He has said that North Korea would “be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” during his ongoing back and forth with Kim Jong Un. He also threatened to "bomb the shit out of ISIS” and has considerably boosted the military’s budget during his first term.

Larry Kudlow refers to pandemic in the past tense

Larry Kudlow, President Trump's top economic adviser, referred to the pandemic and associated economic downturn in the past tense, saying it "was awful" in his speech before the Republican National Convention on Tuesday.

Known for his extremely rosy economic outlooks, Kudlow's remarks were quickly panned online.

It also was a rare mention of the pandemic on Tuesday, which has so far killed more than 175,000 Americans and has yet to dissipate, along with its economic impact.

About those lobsters...

A lobster fisherman took the RNC stage on Tuesday night to make a pitch for the president’s re-election, highlighting an industry near and dear to the president's heart: Maine lobsters.

Trump has often boasted about fighting for the state's lobster industry — he sent a bailout their way earlier this year — but both the segment and president fail to mention that it was Trump's trade war that destabilized the industry in the first place. 

Thousands of immigrants caught in backlog may not get citizenship in time to vote

As President Donald Trump swore in new Americans on the second day of the Republican convention, hundreds of thousands of immigrants waited in a citizenship backlog.

And many are unlikely to be able to vote this year as a result. 

The coronavirus delayed citizenship interviews — which stopped in March and resumed in June — as well as naturalization ceremonies. A budget shortfall in the agency funded by application fees added to an operations slowdown at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. 

On Tuesday, USCIS announced it was canceling a planned furlough of more than 13,000 employees set for Aug. 30. The agency faced bipartisan pressure from Congress to avert the furloughs. 

Becoming a citizen is a months-long process and with the backlogs, thousands are waiting to complete their naturalization in time to register to vote in November. USCIS came under fire for not finding substitutes for live ceremonies and interviews. 

Fact check: Sen. Rand Paul on Trump's Iraq War opposition

“Joe Biden voted for the Iraq War, which President Trump has long called the worst geopolitical mistake of our generation,” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said on Tuesday night.

This is true, though it omits some key context. Before the Iraq War began, Trump said he supported the invasion of the country in an interview. He did not express a negative opinion about the war until after it had started, according to previous NBC News fact checks

Biden, too, has changed his mind. Biden has repeatedly said his vote for the Iraq War was a mistake.

Trump kicks off convention by honoring man he just pardoned

One of the first segments of Tuesday's convention was a video honoring Jon Ponder, a convicted felon who later became an advocate for prisoners. Trump pardoned Jon Ponder hours before Ponder was set to speak.

In a video released Tuesday evening, Trump said Ponder's "life is a beautiful testament to the power of redemption."

Ponder appeared alongside Rich Beasley, the FBI agent who arrested him. Beasley recounted the story of how the two reconnected, referring to Ponder as one of his "best friends."

Read more about the pardon here.

Trump tweets first comments on Jacob Blake shooting, says Wisconsin should call in National Guard — the governor already has

Donald Trump made his first public reference to the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, calling on Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers to call in the National Guard to handle protests that have erupted in its aftermath.

"Governor should call in the National Guard in Wisconsin," Trump tweeted. "It is ready, willing, and more than able. End problem FAST!"

One issue: The governor already called in the National Guard on Monday.

The opening prayer at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday included a mention of Blake's family.

Blake, who was shot seven times in the back by police and is now paralyzed from the waist down, according to his family, was not mentioned by name in the tweet.

RNC speaker pulled after tweet surfaced promoting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories

Mary Ann Mendoza was removed from her speaking slot just hours before she was set to appear at Tuesday night's Republican National Convention after she was found to have promoted a series of tweets positing anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. 

Mendoza is on the advisory board of President Trump's re-election campaign. She has been an outspoken advocate for Trump's immigration policies. Her son was killed in 2014 by a drunk driver who was an undocumented immigrant.

Mendoza was removed from her slot sometime before 6 p.m. ET, according to a Trump campaign source. Mendoza's prepared remarks were still sent out to media organizations.

"We have removed the scheduled video from the convention lineup and it will no longer run this week," Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh told NBC News.

In a tweet on Tuesday morning, Mendoza encouraged her followers to read a long Twitter thread that featured a wide variety of known anti-Semitic conspiracy theories as well as references to QAnon. She later deleted the tweet and apologized. 

You're going to hear from a handful of Trump family members tonight

Donald Trump is putting his family front and center during the Republican National Convention on Night 2, with his son Eric Trump, daughter Tiffany Trump and wife Melania Trump, the first lady, slated to speak.

Trump has put family members like his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner in top White House jobs while Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., who spoke in a primetime Monday address before the convention, run the family business. Ivanka Trump will deliver her speech on Thursday.

It remains an open question which, if any, Trump — with most eyes focused on Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. — will pick up the family's political mantle after their father's presidency.

The family affair comes amid some turmoil within the Trump family. Days ago, the president's niece, Mary Trump, who earlier this year published a tell-all book on the president's family, released secretly recorded audio of Trump's sister, former federal judge Maryanne Trump Barry, chiding her brother as a liar with "no principles."

Meanwhile, last August, Trump's longtime executive assistant Madeleine Westerhout resigned from the White House after she told reporters in an off-the-record discussion that she had a better relationship with the president than his eldest daughter and said Trump didn't like being photographed with Tiffany Trump because he perceived her as overweight. She also jokingly said Trump couldn't pick Tiffany Trump out of a crowd.

Trump denied that sentiment, telling reporters, "Tiffany is great. I love Tiffany."

RNC speaker promotes thread of anti-Semitic and QAnon conspiracy theories

Mary Ann Mendoza, an anti-immigration activist who is scheduled to speak on Tuesday at the convention, encouraged her Twitter followers on Tuesday morning to read a long Twitter thread of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. 

"Do yourself a favor and read this thread," she added to a tweet thread that looped in a variety of conspiracy theories about Jewish people and a wide-ranging plot to rule the world that included the sinking of the Titanic and the assassination of John F. Kennedy. 

The thread also included numerous references to QAnon, the baseless conspiracy theory that posits a variety of wild claims, most centrally that President Trump is waging a secret war against a secret cabal of child abusers.

The Daily Beast first reported on Mendoza's tweets.

Conspiracy theories that spent years bubbling on the fringes of the internet and far-right communities have gradually made inroads to many parts of the Republican party. QAnon has been the most successful, with numerous GOP candidates having a connection to the movement. When asked about QAnon, Trump said he didn't know much about it but said, "I've heard these are people who love our country."

Mendoza later deleted the tweet and apologized, saying, "I retweeted a very long thread earlier without reading every post within the thread.  My apologies for not paying attention to the intent of the whole message.  That does not reflect my feelings or personal thoughts whatsoever."

All eyes on Melania: First lady’s speech will be ‘positive,’ but will it avoid plagiarism?

Melania Trump is headlining Night 2 of the RNC tonight, but one cloud hanging over her speech is the allegations of plagiarism from her 2016 RNC speech. 

Melania Trump’s speechwriter lifted direct passages from Michelle Obama's 2008 DNC remarks in what the campaign at the time called an innocent mistake.

This year, the first lady's chief of staff, Stephanie Grisham, told Fox News on Tuesday that Melania’s speech is “going to be very positive and uplifting.” 

“But she also wants to lay out for the American people why it's so important that the president become re-elected,” she said, adding that the first lady has also been working for months with historians, horticulturists and others to restore the Rose Garden to its original 1962 design for her speech.