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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Matt Gaetz throws red meat to base, knocks Democratic 'woketopians'
Rep. Matt Gaetz, the Florida Republican who is one of Donald Trump’s most loyal congressional backers, filled a speech with anti-Biden jokes and outlandish claims about Democrats.
Gaetz criticized what he deemed “woketopians” in the Democratic Party and claimed Democrats “will disarm you, empty the prisons, lock you in your home, and invite MS-13 to live next door. And the defunded police aren’t on their way.”
Blasting Biden for campaigning from home during the pandemic, labeling him “basement-dwelling Joe Biden,” Gaetz spent much of the speech launching attacks on Democrats while praising Trump for having a mind “as powerful as any brick and mortar.”
DNC offers some counterprogramming in Washington
Kim Klacik, a Black Republican, gets a national debut at RNC
Republican congressional candidate Kim Klacik, a nonprofit founder and member of the Baltimore County Republican Central Committee, was one of the first group of speakers on Monday night.
Klacik went viral this month and got the attention of President Trump when she released a campaign ad of her marching through streets of vacant houses in Baltimore and placing the blame for the city’s issues squarely on Democratic leadership — an oft-repeated Trump-ism.
"The Democrats have controlled my city, Charm City, for over 50 years and they have run this beautiful place into the ground," she said in her speech.
Klacik, who is Black, is running for a House seat she is unlikely to win — it’s a blue district that Elijah Cummings represented for more than 20 years until his death in 2019. Nevertheless, her speedy rise to prominence may signal a future in the national party, which struggles with attracting Black support.
Pompeo to address RNC in unprecedented appearance for America’s top diplomat
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a defender of the president, will address the RNC but it will be in his personal capacity, a senior administration official told NBC News Monday.
“No State Department resources will be used. Staff are not involved in preparing the remarks or in the arrangements for Secretary Pompeo's appearance,” the official said. “The State Department will not bear any costs in conjunction with this appearance.”
However, Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, raised serious questions about his appearance, saying in a Monday statement that two internal State Department documents suggest Pompeo “will violate legal restrictions on political activities” by appearing. (The Hatch Act prohibits government employees from engaging in certain political activity.)
Traditionally, Secretaries of State abstain from politics, and there is no example of a sitting Secretary of State speaking at a political nominating convention in modern American politics. Pompeo is traveling abroad in Israel and will most likely tape his remarks.
Who is Charlie Kirk? Conservative provocateur speaks first at RNC
Charlie Kirk is the first speaker on Monday's RNC program.
A 26-year-old conservative activist, Kirk founded Turning Points USA, a conservative nonprofit, when he was 18 and has become one of the biggest rising stars in the Republican Party. He often does outreach to other youth groups and young adults to join the conservative movement.
Kirk is an ardent Trump supporter, and the president has spoken at Kirk’s organization a number of times. He has often amplified some of the president’s debunked conspiracy theories, such as those about the coronavirus and Chinese spying.
Opening RNC video features actor Jon Voight
The opening video of the RNC featured a familiar voice: Jon Voight.
Voight is one of the most outspoken Republicans in Hollywood and has been a staunch supporter of President Trump. Voight regularly posts videos to his Twitter feed extolling Trump and urging voters to support him.
Trump Jr. speech was pre-taped
Donald Trump Jr.'s speech was expected to be live, but a source familiar with the matter says he recorded it earlier Monday.
President Trump criticized the DNC last week for using pretaped remarks.
Trump to appear with rescued hostages tonight
A campaign official says President Trump will make a taped appearance during the convention tonight with six hostages rescued during his administration.
They are expected to be:
Michael White: A U.S. Navy veteran who was arrested in July 2018 while visiting his girlfriend in Iran. White was the first American to be detained in Iran since President Trump took office. Released June 4, after 683 days in captivity.
Sam Goodwin: A world traveler who entered northern Syria from Iraq on May 25, 2019. He encountered a regime checkpoint and was taken into custody for failure to have a visa. Released on July 26, 2019.
Andrew Brunson: A pastor, Brunson was accused of being part of a terrorist group, the Gulen movement, and was arrested on Oct. 7, 2016, by Turkey; charges of spying were later added. Released on Oct. 12, 2018.
Joshua and Tamara Holt: Arrested in Venezuela shortly after their wedding and accused of stockpiling weapons. Released on March 26, 2018.
Bryan Nerran: A pastor, Nerran was arrested on Oct. 5, 2019, by the Indian government for having $40,000 without declaring it. Released May 15.
Michael Cohen says Trump 'can't be trusted' in ad for Democratic group
Michael Cohen, President Trump's former fixer, will appear in a series of anti-Trump ads to warn voters not to trust the president.
In the first of such ads, cut by the Democratic group American Bridge 21st Century, Cohen says that Trump "can’t be trusted — and you shouldn’t believe a word he utters."
"So when you watch the president this week, remember this. If he says something is huge, it’s probably small," he says. "If he says something will work, it probably won’t. And if he says he cares about you and your family, he certainly does not."
He said Trump's promotion of "law and order" is "laughable" because "virtually everyone who worked for his campaign has been convicted of a crime or is under indictment — myself included."
"So when the president gets in front of the cameras this week, remember that he thinks we are all gullible, a bunch of fools," he said. "I was a part of it. And I fell for it. You don’t have to like me. But please, listen to me."
Watch the ad below:
Trump calls Biden 'crazy' for saying he'd shut down country to control virus if scientists deemed it necessary
Donald Trump called Joe Biden "ridiculous" for saying he would shut down the country if scientists deemed it necessary to control the virus.
"Joe Biden has said he would lock down the Country again. That’s crazy!" Trump tweeted. "We’re having record job growth and a booming stock market, but Joe would end it all and close it all down. Ridiculous!"
In an interview with ABC News, Biden said he is "prepared to do whatever it takes to save lives because we cannot get the country moving until we control the virus."
If scientists deemed a shutdown necessary, Biden said, "I would shut it down; I would listen to the scientists.”
The virus has so far killed more than 175,000 Americans.
RNC chair offers a backstage look
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeted a backstage look at herself next to someone she said was President Trump ... but his back is to the camera.