The Republican National Convention kicked off Monday morning in Charlotte, North Carolina, where the official convention business took place place, with the vote on the formal nomination of President Donald Trump.
On Monday night, viewers heard from a long list of Trump supporters, including former South Carolina governor and ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley; the president's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.; and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina. Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the couple who controversially waved firearms at Black Lives Matter protesters outside St. Louis, Missouri, home earlier this summer, also delivered remarks.
Trump also appeared in a video with six people who his administration helped free after they had been taken into custody in countries around the world and held sometimes for years.
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Sen. Tim Scott believes the debates will be the 'determining factor' in 2020 presidential election outcome
Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., the headliner of the RNC Monday night, said Tuesday that he believes the presidential debates will help determine how ultimately wins the presidential election in November.
In an interview on NBC's "TODAY" show," host Savannah Guthrie asked Scott if he thinks the current polls showing Biden ahead of President Donald Trump are off the mark.
"I mean the polls were off in 2016 I would not be surprised if the polls are off now but more importantly, we'd better use the next 70 days to sell our case. I think we're going to do so. I think October is the month to remember. In my opinion, elections don't really start until after Labor Day so where we are right now in this election cycle is less important than where we'll be in October," Scott said.
He added, "I'm looking forward to actually seeing this race sharpened, and then the debates will be the determining factor, in my opinion, of how this election turns out."
Fact check: Do Democrats want to give tax breaks to Manhattan millionaires?
Republicans repeatedly criticized Democrats for including a tax break that would affect high-earning taxpayers in states like California and New York in COVID-19 relief bills Monday night.
“And now Joe Biden wants to come for your pocketbooks. Unless of course you’re a blue state millionaire. I'm serious. That’s one of their solutions for the pandemic. They want to take more money from your pocket and give it to Manhattan elites and Hollywood moguls so they get a tax break,” Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., said. Trump Jr. made a similar remark, too.
It's accurate to say that Democrats have advocated for repealing a Trump tax change that capped state and local tax deductions from federal taxes. The so-called SALT deduction benefits high-income earners in high-tax jurisdictions, like Manhattan and Hollywood. That said, Scott oversimplifies how tax cuts work — the SALT cap repeal isn't taking money from the poor and giving it to the wealthy, it's lowering how much blue state taxpayers pay on their own income.
It's also a decidedly partisan issue: the people hit by the SALT tax cap are typically from blue states like New York and California, both of which pay far more money into U.S. tax coffers than they receive in federal funding, making up for other states that receive more federal funding than their taxpayers put in. And this cap was written into Trump's tax overhaul to help pay for other tax cuts that benefited wealthy individuals and corporations.
Fact check: Scott says Biden's 1994 crime bill 'put millions of Black Americans behind bars'
Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., said Monday night that, “in 1994, Biden led the charge on a crime bill that put millions of Black Americans behind bars.”
The crime bill Scott references contributed to mass incarceration, studies have shown. Here's more context for the claim.
The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, or the 1994 crime bill as it became known, earmarked billions in funding for states to build new prisons, train and hire additional police, expanded the federal death penalty and instituted a federal "three-strikes" life sentence mandate.
Biden, then a U.S. senator from Delaware, helped write the bill, which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. Critics in both major political parties — not only Trump, but several of Biden’s former rivals for the Democratic nomination, including Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., who is now his running mate — have said it contributed to mass incarceration.
Different studies have come to different conclusions. Some — like a 2016 Brennan Center analysis — have noted that though the bill was not the root cause of "mass incarceration," it was "the most high-profile legislation to increase the number of people behind bars.
The crime bill granted states billions to build prisons if they passed laws requiring inmates to serve at least 85 percent of their sentences, the Brennan Center said, noting that 30 states introduced or amended laws between 1995 and 1999 so that they would be in compliance and receive the money. By 1999, 42 states had "truth-in-sentencing" laws on the books, which contributed to an increase in imprisonment.
But a 2019 report titled "Racial Disparity in U.S. Imprisonment across States and Over Time," published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology, found that while the law increased overall mass incarceration, it did not widen the existing disparity between Black people and white people being imprisoned.
"Whatever its other effects, this suggests that the 1994 crime bill did not aggravate the preexisting racial disparity in imprisonment," the report said.
Others like Marc Mauer, the executive director of The Sentencing Project, a criminal justice reform and advocacy group, have said that suggestions that the bill was the key driver of mass incarceration were “off base.”
“Prison populations began to rise in 1973, and reached double-digit annual percentage increases in the 1980s. This was a national phenomenon, largely taking place at the state level, where more than 85 percent of prisoners are housed,” Mauer wrote for NBC News in 2016. “During these years virtually every state adopted some form of mandatory sentencing and harsher penalties for juvenile offenders, while also ramping up arrests for drug offenses.”
New Republicans-against-Trump group includes current officials, founder says
Former Department of Homeland Security official Miles Taylor confirmed on Monday the creation of an anti-Trump group called the Republican Political Alliance for Integrity and Reform (REPAIR). The group is made up of former U.S. officials, advisers and conservatives and organized by ex-Trump administration officials, Taylor said.
Taylor says at least two "senior officials" currently serving in the administration are joining the group, "anonymously at least at the outset," predicting that their presence will "irk" the president.
"We’ll have a broad group of Republicans focused on denying Trump a second term and, most importantly, planning for a post-Trump GOP and America," he said.
The White House did not immediately return a request for comment.
No platform, a reverence for Trump: 4 key takeaways from Night 1
While the Democratic convention focused on persuasion and de-emphasized base mobilization, the Republican convention so far is focusing on base mobilization and de-emphasizing persuasion.
The president and his allies said the nation is spiraling into chaos and violence, promising that he will work to address it. The convention painted a dark and dystopian vision of the country if he were to lose to the Democratic ticket of former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris, who were portrayed throughout as beholden to "radicals."
The effectiveness of the approach remains to be seen, but the mood on opening day was far from the "very optimistic and upbeat convention this week" that Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller previewed on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday.
Tim Scott's speech gets high marks on Twitter
Biden, Democrats focus their RNC counter-attack on Trump's 'failed' COVID-19 response
The opening night of the Republican National Convention railed against socialism, cancel culture, "woketopians," labor unions and calls to defund the police. But Democrats ignored much of that to keep their focus on President Trump's coronavirus crisis.
Democrats didn't engage with the red meat GOP speakers tossed to the virtual crowds and instead just referred back to the chaos they say Trump has caused in office.
"What (voters) will hear from Donald Trump this week are the last things our country needs: more desperate, wild-eyed lies and toxic division in vain attempts to distract from his mismanagement," said Andrew Bates, a spokesperson for the Democratic nominee. "What they won't hear is what American families have urgently needed and been forced to go without for over seven consecutive months: any coherent strategy for defeating the pandemic."
Tim Scott, GOP's lone Black senator, ties his personal story to Trump’s re-election
Tim Scott, one of the most prominent Black Republicans in America, gave a stirring speech on Monday tying his personal journey from college dropout and son of a single working mother to lawmakers to Trump’s vision for the country’s future.
"Do we want a society that breeds success, or a culture that cancels everything it even slightly disagrees with?” Scott in his speech — which was notably different than other speakers on the main stage in that Trump was not the main focus — touted his legislative relationship with the president on the economy and education.
He painted Biden and Harris as the leaders of “radical Democrats” who want to turn American into a “socialist utopia.”
His speech was also designed as a pitch to Black voters, who almost universally support Biden and the Democratic ticket. Scott, who is the first Black senator from the South since Reconstruction, talked about Biden’s role in crafting the crime bill in the '90s and his gaffes on race.
"Make no mistake, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris want a cultural revolution. A fundamentally different America,” he said.
Fact check: Did Biden call Trump a racist over his coronavirus response?
“The president quickly took action and shut down travel from China. Joe Biden and his Democrat allies called my father a racist and xenophobe for doing it,” Trump Jr. claimed during his primetime Monday night address.
Biden has not directly called the president's travel restriction — which shut down some travel into the U.S. from China in earlier days of the pandemic — xenophobic and racist, but he did denounce Trump's coronavirus response as "xenophobic" both a day after the travel restriction was announced and in another tweet in March.
Was Biden describing the travel ban or the racist term Trump uses to describe the coronavirus that originated in Wuhan? Here's the tweet.
Biden has, more generally, characterized Trump as a racist.
“The way he deals with people based on the color of their skin, their national origin, where they’re from, is absolutely sickening,” the Democratic nominee said in July, when asked about the president's repeated use of the racist term for the virus. “We’ve had racists, and they’ve existed. They’ve tried to get elected president. He’s the first one that has.”