Republicans forged ahead with a tough law and order message on the third day of their nominating convention Wednesday – accusing Joe Biden and Democrats of promoting looting and chaos even as the nation grappled with yet another police shooting and its violent aftermath.
The virtual convention kicked off in Washington, D.C. with dark warnings form South Dakota’s Republican Gov. Kristi Noem, who said Democratic-run cities ‘are being overrun by violent mobs.’
‘There’s looting, chaos, destruction and murder. People who can afford to flee have fled,’ she said.
Another early speaker, GOP Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, celebrated police and firefighters, who she said don’t fit into the narrative of leftists.
‘Leftists try to turn them into villains. They want to cancel them. But I’m here to tell you these heroes can’t be cancelled,’ she said.
Michael McHale, who heads the National Association of Police Unions, called the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris ticket ‘the most radical anti-police ticket in history.’
He called for ‘aggressive federal prosecution of those who attack our police officers,’ and said good police officers ‘need to know their elected leaders and the department brass have their backs.’
‘Unfortunately, chaos results when failed officials in cities like Portland, Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York, make the conscious decision not to support law enforcement,’ he said. ‘Shootings, murders, looting and rioting occur unabated.’
The start of the convention featured those and other attacks as the tense situation in Kenosha, Wisconsin continued to unfold, hours after a police officer shot Jacob Blake, a black man and father of six, in the multiple times.
Blake, 29, was shot and paralyzed from the waist down by police who were responding to a dispute at the scene on Sunday evening, sparking national outrage and heated protests decrying police brutality.
The incident took on a tense and familiar rout, as Black Lives Matter protesters took to the streets in outrage, and armed vigilantes staked out territory.
Hours before the start of the convention Wednesday, police announced the arrest of 17-year old Kyle Rittenhouse as the man in connection in the shooting that left two dead and one seriously wounded.
Soon, Rittenhouse was identified as identifying as occupying a front-row seat just feet form the president at a Trump rally in Iowa in January.
Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, one of the convention speakers, downplayed the sighting in comments to reporters shortly before her speech.
‘We’re not responsible for the private conduct of people at our rallies any more than … all the crazy people who have been involved with the Obama-Biden campaigns or other things,’ she said.
The Milwaukee Bucks decided to boycott their scheduled playoff game in protest, and the NBA and Major League Baseball soon postponed games altogether.
At the convention, Noem, the second-term governor and GOP rising star, opened the third night of the Republican National Convention by bashing Biden for prompting a Democratic agenda she claims promotes looting and chaos.
‘It took 244 years to build this great nation – flaws and all – but we stand to lose it in a tiny fraction of that time if we continue down the path taken by the Democrats and their radical supporters,’ Governor Kristi Noem said in reference to widespread protests and riots linked to the Black Lives Matter movement.
‘From Seattle and Portland to Washington and New York, Democrat-run cities across this country are being overrun by violent mobs,’ Noem continued. ‘The violence is rampant. There’s looting, chaos, destruction, and murder. People that can afford to flee have fled. But the people that can’t – good, hard-working Americans – are left to fend for themselves.’
The opening video of the third night, voiced again by actor Jon Voight, flashed clips of Black Lives Matter protesters rioting in the streets and attempting to tear down historical statues and monuments with chains.
In the hours preceding Noem’s speech, Biden put out a video on Twitter condemning the violence that had occurred in Kenosha, Wisconsin in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
‘Protesting brutality is a right and absolutely necessary, but burning down communities is not protest, it’s needless violence,’ Biden said. ‘Violence that endangers lives, violence that guts businesses and shutters businesses that serve the community, that’s wrong.’
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem was the first to speak on night three of the Republican National Convention – and she claimed Joe Biden is a proponent of the ‘looting’ and ‘chaos’ that has come from the nationwide protests and riots
‘From Seattle and Portland to Washington and New York, Democrat-run cities across this country are being overrun by violent mobs,’ Noem said during her remarks. ‘The violence is rampant. There’s looting, chaos, destruction, and murder’
The opening video of the night showed Black Lives Matter protesters rioting in the streets
Images of ‘American heroes’ also flashed as the video’s narrator and actor Jon Voight said of protesters: ‘There are those who condemn our heroes, seek to erase history and deconstruct the American ideal. We made American into something it was never intended to be’
Noem claimed of the rioting, ‘our founding principles are under attack.’
‘This year, the choice for Americans is between a man who values these ideals and all that can be built because of them, and a man who isn’t guided by these ideals and coincidentally, has built nothing,’ she said.
‘History chooses its heroes for the time in which they live,’ Noem concluded. ‘But, there is another American hero to be recognized. That is the common American. This is who President Trump is fighting for. He’s fighting for you.’
The video kicking off the night set the tone by lauding the ‘extraordinary American spirit,’ while condemning those they claim are out to undermine that – including Black Lives Matter protesters
‘The spirit of heroism thrives in the precedence of tyranny, disaster – it is stronger than any violence,’ Voight narrated as images and clips of revolutions and disasters flashed on screen, such as the Underground Railroad, the storming of the beaches of Normandy and first responders carrying people from the World Trade Center on 9/11.
The mood shifted as images of recent protests began playing. ‘Yet, there are those who condemn our heroes, seek to erase history and deconstruct the American ideal. We made American into something it was never intended to be.’
Goya Foods CEO Robert Unanue will address the third night of the Republican National Convention, as will a blind Chinese activist, and Lara Trump, the daughter-in-law of the president.
Unanue caused a boycott of Goya products in July after he said Americans were ‘blessed’ to have President Donald Trump during an appearance at the White House.
Now he’ll be one of the many speakers advocating for Trump’s re-election.
Goya Foods CEO Robert Unanue will address the third night of the Republican National Convention after he caused a boycott of the foods in July with his praise for President Trump
Lara Trump, the wife of President Trump’s son Eric, will be the only family member to address the GOP convention on Wednesday night
Chen Guangcheng, a blind Chinese civil rights advocate who escaped house arrest in China in 2012 and migrated to the United States, will also speak
Lara Trump will be the solo family member addressing the gathering on Wednesday. She’s married to Eric Trump, who spoke on Tuesday night. She will likely make the case for the president’s re-election. She was a regular speaker at Trump campaign rallies and is an adviser to the campaign.
Also speaking will be Chen Guangcheng, a blind Chinese civil rights advocate who escaped house arrest in China in 2012 and migrated to the United States.
In what could one of the most memorable moments of the night, Kellyanne Conway will say her public goodbye to President Trump when she addresses the convention ahead of her departure from the White House at the end of the month.
Conway, a counselor to the president who’s been at his side since he took the oath of office, announced on Sunday evening she was quitting the administration to spend time with her family, saying her children needed ‘less drama, more mama’.
Her 15-year-old daughter Claudia has been active on social media, expressing her disapproval of her mother’s work for the White House, criticizing Conway and saying she was trying to get emancipated from her parents. Conway’s husband George Conway is also stepping back from his role with a super PAC working against Trump’s re-election.
Kellyanne Conway has been one of Trump’s most visible advisers and a frequent defender of his on the TV airwaves, the place he appreciates it the most.
Kellyanne Conway will say her public goodbye to President Trump when she addresses the Republican National Convention on Wednesday; above she’s in the Rose Garden for first lady Melania Trump’s speech
Her appearance at the convention will likely combine a defense of the president’s policies with an appeal to female voters to support him.
WEDNESDAY CONVENTION SPEAKERS
Vice President Mike Pence
Second lady Karen Pence
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany
Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee
Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa
Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota
Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas
Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York
Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York
Trump campaign adviser Lara Trump
Congressional candidate Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina
Clarence Henderson, a civil rights activist from the 1960s
Burgess Owens, a former NFL player and Fox News Channel commentator who is running for a House seat in Utah
Goya Foods CEO Robert Unanue
Michael McHale, president of the National Association of Police Organizations
Former Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, Pence’s national security adviser
Scott Dane, the Executive Director of Associated Contract Loggers and Truckers of Minnesota
Tera Myers, school choice advocate
Sister Deirdre Byrne, the superior of the D.C. Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts
Lou Holtz, retired football coach
Chen Guangcheng, blind legal activist from Shandong Province, China
Sam Vigil, the widower of Jacqueline Vigil who was shot in driveway of their New Mexico home
Civil rights activist Clarence Henderson
Former Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell
Always ready to spar with the media and quick with quip, Conway survived four White House chiefs of staff and numerous Cabinet secretaries.
She also was criticized for her fast-and-lose approach with the facts, which she famously labeled ‘alternative facts.’
Conway, who also managed Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, appeared unruffled during an appearance Monday at the unveiling of an art exhibit of student work tied to the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment.
‘How am I doing? I’m good. I make my own choices,’ she told reporters.
Conway will address the GOP faithful on night three of the Republican National Convention where the theme will be ‘Land of Heroes.’
Vice President Mike Pence will have the keynote spot, giving his address from Fort McHenry in Baltimore – where a battle during the War of 1812 that inspired Francis Scott Key to write ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.’
Pence has served as both messenger and defender for Trump – often ignoring or sidestepping the president’s more outrageous – but his own political future is looming.
He would be a favorite for the GOP nomination in 2024 if he can survive the Trump storm.
In his speech, given at an historic monument, he’s expected to address the protests that have risen up in support of the Black Lives Matters movement, words that will come as violence rips through Kenosha – two people were killed Tuesday night during the third night of unrest in Wisconsin following the police shooting of black man Jacob Blake.
Pence could also address the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 5.79 million Americans and killed more than 178,000.
He heads the administration’s Coronavirus Task Force and has been a point person for the federal response.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany will also speak and share a deeply personal story that she doesn’t frequently discuss publicly, Fox News reported.
‘During one of my most difficult times, I expected to have the support of my family, but I had more support than I knew,’ McEnany is expected to say.
Karen Pence, an evangelical Christian, will also speak and is likely to address her faith.
Several Republican lawmakers will speak, including Reps. Elise Stefanik and Lee Zeldin, both of whom were staunch defenders of the president during the impeachment process.
Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence will also speak Wednesday night with the vice president speaking from Fort McHenry in Baltimore
Kellyanne Conway has been at the White House since President Trump took the oath of office; above she’s seen with the president and first lady Melania Trump in June 2019
Conway’s 15-year-old daughter Claudia has been an outspoken critic of President Trump on social media
Also speaking is Madison Cawthorn, the North Carolina congressional candidate who defeated the White House’s pick in a GOP primary for chief of staff Mark Meadows’ former House seat.
President Trump is expected to make one or more appearances – as he has on the previous two convention nights.
On Tuesday night, the president was on hand for his wife’s speech to the convention.
During her remarks, Melania Trump painted her husband’s weaknesses as strengths when she argued for President Trump’s bid for a second term in a speech designed to appeal to female voters on Tuesday night – but also spoke at length on race and coronavirus, setting a strikingly different tone from her husband.
She painted herself as a wife and a mother during her 26-minute remarks, which outlined the reasons women should vote for President Trump in November and addressed the areas where female voters rate him as weak, the coronavirus pandemic and race relations.
And unusually she intervened directly in unfolding events, as violence flared for a second night in Kenosha, WI, in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake, left paralyzed after being shot seven times in the back.
‘I urge people to come together in a civil manner so we can work and live up to our standard American ideals. I also ask people to stop the violence and looting being done in the name of justice,’ she said.
Unlike Trump, she said of racial division: ‘Like many of you, I have reflected on the racial unrest in our country. We are not proud of parts of our history.’
That set a tonal contrast to her husband, who clapped from the front row of the Rose Garden as she spoke, with her parents just behind him.
And she paid explicit tribute to the dead of the coronavirus pandemic – never using his ‘China virus’ phrase’ – saying she mourned with those left behind.
Her speech was meant to smooth away her husband’s rough edges even as she was careful to stay out of the political arena. It came on a night when Republicans tried to set a positive tone and lay claim to optimism, with Trump pardoning a black bank robber and swearing in five new Americans, both in the White House, while Mike Pence presented a video from Abraham Lincoln’s childhood home with ordinary voters paying tribute to Trump.
But it also saw Tiffany and Eric Trump channel their father with his younger daughter making a rare public appearance to rail against big tech and the media claiming they try to ‘mentally enslave’ people to control what views they hear.
Melania Trump made the case for her husband’s second term in a speech designed to appeal to female voters when she addressed the Republican National Convention on Tuesday night
Melania Trump portrayed her husband’s blunt statements, which critics call cruel, as honesty and said it was needed for the country
The president leaned in to kiss his wife on the lips – but Melania appeared to dodge out of the way
A small crowd of supporters listened to the first lady give her remarks in the White House Rose Garden with President Trump in the front row
Melania Trump spoke for nearly 26 minutes on Tuesday night in her convention speech
‘Dad, let’s make Uncle Robert very proud this week,’ said Eric Trump in his convention speech, referencing his uncle the late Robert Trump, whose funeral service was held at the White House Friday
First daughter Tiffany Trump went after the media, tech giants and the education establishment in her Tuesday night Republican National Convention speech
What Melania Trump said about…
‘I urge people to come together in a civil manner, so we can work and live up to our standard American ideals. I also ask people to stop the violence and looting being done in the name of justice, and never make assumptions based on the color of a person’s skin… while debate rages on about issues of race, let’s focus on the strides we have made and work together for a better tomorrow for everyone.’
‘AUTHENTIC’ DONALD TRUMP
‘We all know Donald Trump makes no secrets about how he feels about things. Total honesty is what we as citizens deserve from our president, whether you like it or not, you always know what he is thinking. And that is because he is an authentic person who loves this country and its people and wants to continue to make it better.’
THE AMERICAN DREAM
‘Growing up as a young child in Slovenia, which was under Communist rule at the time, I always heard about an amazing place called America, a land that stood for freedom and opportunity… my parents worked very hard to ensure our family could not only leave and prosper in America, but also contribute to a nation that allows for people to arrive with a dream and make it reality.’
DEMOCRATS AND THE MEDIA
‘No matter the amount of negative or false media headlines or attacks from the other side, Donald Trump has not and will not lose focus on you… despite the unprecedented attacks from the media and opposition he will not give up.’
‘Just like me, I know many of you watch how mean and manipulative social media can be. And just like me I’m sure many of you are looking for answers, how to talk to your children about the downside of technology and their relationships with their peers.’
‘Almost four years ago, we went into election day completely underestimated. Despite what is being said again this year, I know just as you do that Americans will go to the polls and vote on the behalf of their families, our economy, our national security and our children’s futures.’
The First Lady’s speech capped a night where the White House and executive power of the presidency took center stage at the second night of the Republican National Convention.
President Trump book-ended his convention with the trappings of the presidency, issuing a presidential pardon at the beginning, watching immigrants be made citizens in the middle, and ending on the South Lawn with the first lady speaking live from the Rose garden. At the same time Democrats cried foul saying he and his administration repeatedly broke the Hatch act, which bans using government property and employees to aid political campaigns.
Several administration officials participated in the convention on its second night, including economic adviser Larry Kudlow – the former CNBC host who introduced himself to people as ‘you know me from TV and radio’ – acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Vice President Mike Pence, Second Lady Karen Pence, outgoing senior adviser Kellyanne Conway, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross were spotted in the Rose Garden for Melania Trump’s remarks with several other guests – some who wore masks and some who did not.
Melania Trump was introduced in a flashy video that touted her Be Best campaign and was filled with images of her looking glamorous at state events and mom-like with her hugs to children. She walked down the colonnade to dramatic entrance music and a standing ovation, the camera moving ahead of her to trace her every move as she approached the Rose Garden.
Her speech – in contrast with other Trump family members who addressed the convention – showed the human side of the president.
She spoke of motherhood, even as she did not mention the Trumps’ 14-year-old son Barron by name, and said her husband was a man who won’t stop fighting for families.
‘To mothers and parents everywhere, you’re warriors. In my husband, you have a president who will not stop fighting for you and your family. I see how hard he works each day and night and despite the attacks from the media, he will not give up. In fact, if you tell him it cannot be done, he just worked harder,’ she said.
She also said the president was a man who supports her and has supported women by giving them high-ranking jobs in his administration.
‘Donald is a husband that supports me in all that I do. He has built an administration with unprecedented number of women in leadership roles and fostered an environment where the American people are always the priority. He welcomes different points of view and encourages thinking outside of the box,’ she said.
And she humbly asked voters to return the Trump family to the White House for another four years.
‘I know I speak for my husband and the family when we say we’re so grateful that you trusted him to be your president. We would be honored to serve this incredible country for four more years,’ she said.