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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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.”
Fact check: Echoing Trump, McCloskey warns that Biden wants to abolish suburbs. (He doesn't).
Patty McCloskey, who along with her husband was caught on video brandishing firearms at Black Lives Matter protesters outside their St. Louis home in June, used her Republican National Convention speech to accuse Joe Biden and "radical" Democrats of wanting “to abolish the suburbs altogether by ending single-family home zoning.”
“This forced rezoning would bring crime, lawlessness and low-quality apartments into now thriving suburban neighborhoods,” said McCloskey, who, along with her husband, Mark, was charged with felony unlawful use of a weapon for the June incident.
These claims are all false.
Her statement echoes a key campaign claim by Trump, who has pointed to Biden’s support for an Obama-era rule designed to combat racial discrimination in housing as the basis of this allegation.
The policy pushed by Biden, however, only aims to help the federal government work with local government agencies to create more affordable housing units in all communities. That includes in “communities where U.S. government policies purposely excluded their ability to buy homes and rent homes” — like the suburbs.
The broader rule in question, the Affirmatively Further Fair Housing rule (AFFH), was designed to help implement provisions of the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
Political analysts, including NBC News’ Jon Allen, have pointed out that Trump, in saying that Biden wants to abolish the suburbs," is actually saying that Biden just trying to enforce a federal rule designed to counter segregation in housing.
“His campaign sounds more like George Wallace than Ronald Reagan," Democratic strategist Michael Starr Hopkins told Allen last month. "His message is clear: 'Elect me and I’ll keep Black people out of your neighborhoods and out of your schools.'"
Suburbs, of course, are, loosely defined; they are simply the areas around major metropolitan areas with more wealth and less housing density. And while it is accurate to say the racial composition of suburbs has changed significantly over time (in 2018, Pew reported that the white share of the population in suburban counties had fallen 8 percent, to 68 percent, since 2000), communities within suburbia remain highly segregated — for a complex set of reasons, Allen noted.
Trump, however, has said as much, arguing that local agencies should get federal housing subsidies even if they refuse to desegregate.
"The Democrats in D.C. have been and want to at a much higher level abolish our beautiful and successful suburbs by placing far-left Washington bureaucrats in charge of local zoning decisions," Trump said at a White House event last month. "Our plan is to protect the suburbs from being obliterated by Washington Democrats, by people on the far Left that want to see the suburbs destroyed — that don’t care. People who have worked all their lives to get into a community and now they’re going to watch it go to hell."
Trump Jr. blasts Biden, calls for 'an end to racism' in convention speech
Donald Trump Jr. delivered the penultimate speech at Monday night's Republican National Convention programming, blasting Democrats and Joe Biden, whom he called the “Loch Ness Monster of the swamp.”
He also lamented the so-called cancel culture and said, "Biden and the radical left are also now coming for our freedom of speech and want to bully us into submission."
"If they get their way, it will no longer be the 'Silent Majority,' it will be the ‘Silenced Majority.'"
The president's eldest son also called for putting “an end to racism,” though, peeling off from sentiment expressed by other speakers who said criticism of America as racist was misplaced.
"All men and women are created equal and must be treated equally under the law," Trump Jr. said. "That’s why we must put an end to racism, and we must ensure that any police officer who abuses their power is held accountable. What happened to George Floyd is a disgrace. And if you know a police officer, you know they agree with that, too."
Trump Jr. did have a couple of missteps in his speech, such as when he called the abbreviation for personal protective equipment "PP and E."
Nikki Haley claims American is 'not racist.'
In a speech featuring the notable claim that “America is not a racist country,” former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley spoke about a Republican vision of an America with a few problems that sort of, kind of, have a bit to do with race, but not ever racism.
Haley claimed that America — a country which enshrined equality in its foundational documents while millions of Black people living here would remain enslaved for 89 years after its founding — is not a nation riddled by racism. She instead spoke of growing up a “brown” girl in a black-and-white world. She spoke of her father’s work teaching at a historically Black college. However, most historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) were created during Reconstruction, in the period just after the Civil War, at a time when most Southern institutions barred Black students from enrolling. Those conditions remained until the 1960s. Reconstruction was also the period in American history when the Klu Klux Klan formed to combat and ultimately end the brief period of Black empowerment and inclusion in public life.
Haley then referred to a racist mass murder at a Charleston, South Carolina church during her time in office. At the time, Haley said the state had “stared evil in the eye,” and should not forget its history, a “tough history,” as she ordered the Confederate flag removed from the South Carolina state Capitol grounds. Today, Black Americans lag behind white Americans on almost every major measure of economic and physical well-being tracked by researchers. Haley criticized those demanding wholesale change as the wrong focus and wrong approach to improving Black life in the United States.
A few speeches later, Sen. Tim Scott reminded viewers that the Civil War also began in South Carolina.