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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Major GOP donor gives emotional speech
Maximo Alvarez, owner of Sunshine Gasoline Distributors in Florida, delivered an emotion-filled speech in favor of President Trump and against Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
What stands out about Alvarez, aside from his personal story, is the amount of money he gave to Trump and the Republican National Committee before he spoke. The total, according to Federal Election Commission records, is just short of $220,000 over the last two election cycles — $150,000 for Trump and $68,900 to the RNC.
It is unusual for a political party to reserve a primetime speaking slot for someone who is both a major contributor and has not held a significant elective office.
Trump praises dictator in segment with freed hostages
In a recorded segment at Monday night’s RNC, President Trump praised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan while speaking with rescued American hostages, including Andrew Brunson, a pastor who was detained in Turkey — by Erdogan — several years.
"To me, President Erdogan was very good," Trump said at a meeting with hostages released under his administration.
According to Brunson’s Twitter bio he “was accused of being part of a terrorist group, the Gulen movement, and was arrested on October 7, 2016, by Turkey, latter charges of spying were added. Released October 12, 2018.”
Trump has never hid his praise for strongmen, such as Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
A window on the real suburbia
A vision of the suburbs on repeat at the RNC Monday night was a crime-free zone of peace, and tranquility populated by white, gun-loving residents.
But the reality of the American suburbs and, by extension, America’s cities is something a bit different. In a series of analyses released by the Pew Research Center in 2018, researchers found that in America’s cities there is, collectively, no racial or ethnic majority. In the suburbs, white Americans make up about 68 percent of residents and Blacks and Latinos together another 25 percent. Immigrants, while still clustered in cities, are a fast-growing part of the population in suburban and rural areas too. What’s more, about 49 percent of immigrants – almost half – live in suburban areas and small cities. About 23 million poor people called the suburbs home before the pandemic. And about 35 percent of suburban residents described addiction as a “major problem” in their community, along with 50 percent of those who live in cities, according to a 2018 Pew Research Center survey.
The suburbs have changed so much that despite the constant RNC references to suburban utopias — ignoring the racist codicils and redlining that played a huge role in determining who could live where — the Trump campaign has said it is reconsidering this messaging.
About those Nikki Haley VP rumors...
Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is speaking Monday at the Republican National Convention.
She will not be joining Donald Trump on the Republican ticket, however, as Vice President Mike Pence was renominated on Monday — squashing many months of rumors over whether Trump would replace his running mate in hopes of attracting new voters.
While speculation on the potential swap was rampant, it was not backed up by substantial reporting.
Fact check: Puerto Ricans are American citizens.
Trump brings up unproven COVID-19 treatments in segment with front-line workers
During a conversation with front-line workers aired during the RNC, President Trump again talked up unproven treatments for COVID-19 — hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin and zinc — and implied that partisanship had infected the studies that found hydroxychloroquine to be an ineffective treatment.
Speaking to a detention worker in California who had recovered from COVID-19, Trump asked what doctors have given him as treatment. The worker said he was given a Z-pack, or azithromycin, as well as cough syrup.
“OK, and I won't even ask you about the hydroxychloroquine,” Trump said, while talking with a front-line worker who had contracted the coronavirus and said he’d taken azithromycin. “It's a shame what they've done to that one. But I took it. I took the Z-pack also. And zinc.”
Trump has said he took those medications prophylactically this year, but there is no evidence that hydroxychloroquine, the antimalarial drug often used to treat lupus and rheumatoid diseases, is an effective treatment for coronavirus. Studies around the world have found it to be ineffective or harmful to patients. In June, a slew of studies dampened hopes around the drug's ability; the National Institutes of Health halted a clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine after concluding the treatment was “very unlikely” to help hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Studies have also not found that the drug acts as a prophylactic, either. There’s no evidence that anything other than the scientific method has been inflicted on the study of hydroxychloroquine.
And finally, azithromycin — commonly known as a Z-pack — and zinc have not yet proven to be effective treatments for COVID-19.
A tale of two conventions
Gun waving St. Louis couple says no one will be safe if Biden wins
The first night of the Republican convention was billed as presenting an “optimistic” look at the country. Meanwhile, a gun-waving St. Louis couple who went viral for taking on protesters in front of their home said no one in the U.S. will be safe if Joe Biden wins this fall.
“But in all seriousness, what you saw happen to us could just as easily happen to any of you who are watching from quiet neighborhoods around our country,” Patricia McCloskey said. “And that’s what we want to speak to you about tonight.”
“These are the policies that are coming to a neighborhood near you,” she added. “So make no mistake: no matter where you live, your family will not be safe in the radical Democrats’ America.”
Mark and Patricia McCloskey spoke to bolster Donald Trump's rhetoric around ongoing nationwide anti-police brutality protests. Personal injury lawyers, the McCloskeys have since been charged with one felony count of unlawful use of a weapon after going viral for their confrontation with protesters in June.
“Not a single person in the out-of-control mob you saw at our house was charged with a crime. But you know who was? We were,” Mark McCloskey said. “They’ve actually charged us with a felony for daring to defend our home.”
In Missouri “it is illegal to wave weapons in a threatening manner at those participating in nonviolent protest,” St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner has said.
MAGA, can you hear me? Kimberly Guilfoyle gives high-volume speech to empty room
In a forceful speech Monday night that could likely be heard by everyone, Trump surrogate Kimberly Guilfoyle defended the president’s politics and trashed his rivals for impeding his progress.
She said that “this election is a battle for the soul of America,” a phrase also used by the Biden campaign.
"They want to enslave you to the weak, dependent, liberal, victim ideology, to the point that you will not recognize this country or yourself,” she also said.
The reaction to her speech on social media was largely not about its dark, brooding message but her speaking volume, which may have worked in a crowded conventional hall, not an empty room.