The Republican National Convention opened Monday (August 24th) with praise for President Trump's leadership in his first term and dark warnings about what would happen if Joe Biden were to win the election. That tone began with Trump himself, who made a surprise appearance earlier in the day in Charlotte, North Carolina, where the convention was originally supposed to be before plans changed due to the coronavirus pandemic. After the states awarded their delegates, officially making Trump the nominee, he addressed the much reduced number of people there, baselessly charging that Democrats are using the coronavirus to try to "steal" the election, and declaring, "The only way they can take this election away from us is if this is a rigged election."
As with the Democrats' convention the week before, the majority of the evening's convention was taped. But unlike last week, most of the night's speakers stood at a podium, speaking in an empty Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. The night's main speakers were Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, the GOP's only black senator, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.Nikki Haley, and Trump's oldest son, Donald Trump Jr. Both Scott and Haley, the daughter of Indian immigrants, were part of a theme of the night of trying to reach out and be welcoming to Americans of color. As part of that, former football star Herschel Walker, a longtime friend of Trump, defended him against accusations of being a racist, saying, "It hurts my soul to hear the terrible names that people call Donald. The worst one is 'racist.'"
One of the night's early themes was praising Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, including in a segment in which the president spoke with health care workers and first responders in the White House East Room. In a later segment in the same location, Trump spoke with six hostages brought home from foreign countries during his presidency. Touting the pre-pandemic economy under Trump was also a major theme.
But a large focus was on ominous warnings that electing Biden would lead to, among other things, violence in cities that would expand into the suburbs. This was driven home by the appearance of Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the St. Louis couple criminally charged for pointing guns at Black Lives Matter protesters marching past their home on a private street. Patricia McCloskey said, "What you saw happen to us could just as easily happen to any of you who are watching from quiet neighborhoods around our country." It was also accused that Biden is being used as a tool by socialists and leftists, with accusations that he will bring a "socialist utopia."
Top quotes of the night...
Herschel Walker:["I take it as a personal insult that people would think I'd have a 37-year friendship with a racist. People who think that don't know what they are talking about. Growing up in the Deep South, I have seen racism up close. I know what it is and it isn't Donald Trump."]
Mark McCloskey:["At this moment in history, if you stand up for yourself and for the values our country was founded on, the mob, spurred on by their allies in media, will try to destroy you. You've seen us on your TV screen and Twitter feeds, you know that we are not the kind of people that back down. Thankfully neither is Donald Trump."]
Nikki Haley:["Joe Biden and the Democrats are still blaming America first. Donald Trump has always put America first and he has earned four more years as president."]
["This president has a record of strength and success. The former vice president has a record of weakness and failure. Joe Biden is good for Iran and ISIS, great for communist China, and he's a godsend to everyone who wants America to apologize, abstain and abandon our values."]
Donald Trump Jr.:["It is almost like this election is shaping up to be church, work and school versus rioting, looting and vandalism."]
Senator Tim Scott:["We don't give in to cancel culture or the radical and factually baseless belief that things are worse today than in the 1860s or the 1960s. We have work to do, but I believe in the goodness of America, the promise that all men and all women are created equal.]
["President Trump built the most inclusive economy ever. Seven million jobs created pre-Covid-19 and two-thirds of them went to women, African-Americans and Hispanics. The first new major effort to tackle poverty in a generation."]
["Our side is working on policy while Joe Biden's radical Democrats are trying to permanently transform what it means to be an American. Make no mistake, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris want a cultural revolution, a fundamentally different America. If we let them, they will turn our country into a socialist utopia."]