The first night of Republican National Convention Monday kicked off with a video montage narrated by actor Jon Voight as patriotic and pro-Donald Trump images and clips showed on screen.
The first speaker, Charlie Kirk, who founded conservative student organization Turning Point USA, kicked off the night warning Americans that ‘everything we love’ is at stake in November.
‘Speaking to you in my personal capacity tonight as a 26-year-old, I have a chance to view the state of our country as someone who sees the angst of young people and the challenges facing new parents forming families,’ Kirk said from a podium at the Andrew W Mellon Auditorium in Washington D.C.
‘I am here tonight to tell you – to warn you – that this election is a decision between preserving America as we know it, and eliminating everything that we love,’ he urged.
In an attempt to expand speaking time and to upstage Democrats, the festivities Monday night began a full half-an-hour earlier than Democrats began their convention each night last week.
Voight, an avid Republican, touted in his monologue narration that Trump was elected because he works ‘tirelessly’ for Americans.
‘We chose a different path,’ Voight said of Trump’s election. ‘A man who is not a politician. A man who cares. A man who loves America, and all Americans. A man who works tirelessly for you. Even tonight during this nomination.’
Actor Jon Voight (pictured left with Donald Trump) opened the first night of the Republican National Convention by narrating an video montage of patriotic and pro-Trump clips
The first speaker to open the Republican Convention on Monday night was Charlie Kirk, a 26-year-old who founded student conservative organization Turning Point USA
‘I am here tonight to tell you – to warn you – that this election is a decision between preserving America as we know it, and eliminating everything that we love,’ Kirk said during his remarks at Andrew W Mellon Auditorium in Washington D.C.
Tanya Weinreis, a Montana business owner, is one of the first recipients of the Payment Protection Program. ‘I feel for workers and businesses across America, who are under assault from shutdowns, from riots, and now face the terrifying prospect of Joe Biden coming after everything we’ve built,’ she said Monday
Also on deck for early remarks at the convention kick-off Monday were California public school educator Rebecca Friedrichs, who spoke out against unions and propped up Trump’s pro-school choice agenda; and businesswoman Tanya Weinreis, who owns a coffee shop in Montana and was able to remain in business after receiving the Payment Protection Program grant in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
‘My company was one of the first to get help from the PPP loan and Praise God, it has been a lifesaver for us,’ Weinreis said.
‘I feel for workers and businesses across America, who are under assault from shutdowns, from riots, and now face the terrifying prospect of Joe Biden coming after everything we’ve built,’ she continued of the Democratic nominee.
‘I am so grateful that we have leaders like President Trump standing up for us who understand the good local business do in our neighborhoods and are not afraid to fight for us every day,’ the Mountain Mudd Espresso owner said. ‘Thank you President Trump – it is so exciting to be a part of this great American comeback story.’
Trump plans to make remarks during the 10:00 p.m. hour each night of the four-night convention this week.
There are reports that his remarks on Monday night will be pre-recorded.
They will play after Trump already made a mini-rally speech during a surprise stop in Charlotte, North Carolina – the original site of the RNC – on Monday afternoon.
Trump said during the stop at the in-person convention that Democrats will try to steal the election in November by avoiding sending or accepting mail-in ballots from Republicans.
‘They’re trying to steal the election from the Republicans, that’s what it means,’ the president said to a room full of Republican delegates and party personnel.
‘In a very nice way, I will tell you, they are trying to steal the election just like they did it last time with spying and we caught them.’
‘And that included President Obama and that included Biden,’ he continued as he referred to the 2016 campaign as ‘Spygate.’
The president claimed that Democrats will harvest ballots and stop those coming from Trump voters from being processed as he denounced universal mail-in voting as a ‘fraud.’
‘You get the ballot and then they have harvesting,’ Trump claimed.
He also reenacted a conversation between two voters where one only agreed to turn in the other’s ballot after finding out that they cast their vote for Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
‘In fact, harvesting is illegal in your state,’ Trump continued of North Carolina. ‘They wanted to put a Republican, fine man, a pastor, they wanted to put him in jail because he harvested. Now they want to make harvesting legal all of a sudden.’
Donald Trump claimed Monday that Democrats will attempt to ‘steal the election’ in November by harvesting ballots and stopping those cast for him form being turned in. He walked on stage to cheers at his surprise arrival
The comments came as Trump made a surprise stop at the Republican National Convention Monday afternoon to make nearly one-hour remarks before a room of delegates and party personnel
On the sidelines: White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, left, Debbie Meadows, center, and Ivanka Trump were at the side of the stage as Trump spoke
Socially-distanced convention: The small number of delegates are being spaced out for the event, with an attempt to make it look more like a traditional convention but without large numbers of people crammed onto the floor
‘They’ll put him in jail as a Republican, right? If he was a Democrat they wouldn’t be thinking about it,’ he insisted. ‘In California they do the same thing. No repercussion.’
The president made a surprise stop at the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina on Monday afternoon as delegates announced their states’ count to officially nominate Trump to become the party’s candidate in November.
During his remarks he called mail-in voting the ‘greatest scam in the history of politics’ even beyond the U.S.
‘We’re not patriotic by saying this. No,’ Trump said of Democrats pushing for universal mail-in voting for the November election.
‘We voted during World War I. We voted at the voting booth during World War II,’ the president told a room full of delegates and RNC personnel.
‘The pandemic – we’re doing very well, and people know how to handle it,’ he continued. ‘Look at the crowds. They’re doing very well. It’s very safe. it’s going to be very safe.’
Coming out onto the stage to his rally anthem ‘God Bless the USA,’ Trump was greeted by delegates at the scaled-down convention with chants of ‘four more years.’
‘We have to win. This is the most important election in the history of our country,’ Trump said to cheers from a smaller-than-usual crowd.
‘Don’t let them take it away from you,’ Trump urged the end of his nearly hour-long remarks. ‘Don’t let them take it away. North Carolina, we love you. That’s why I’m here… very special people.’
The surprise remarks came right after delegates completed the roll call nominating Trump to become the Republican nominee for the presidential race in November
With the running mate: Mike Pence joined Donald Trump on stage during the president’s unexpected appearance
Trump also reiterated that even though he is opposed to states going fully toward mail-in voting, he is a proponent of absentee voting – which he has used to cast his ballot in the past few elections.
‘If you have an absentee ballot where you request it, we’re all in favor of that,’ Trump told the enthusiastic room of Republicans.
‘Absentee, like in Florida, they have absentee is good,’ he said of the state where he recently changed his residency. ‘But other than that, they’re very, very bad. There will be millions of ballots.’
‘But these are small and they can’t control it,’ he said of absentee measures.
He also railed against potential defects with ballots, insisting that nearly one-fourth would be ‘fraudulent.’
‘They said 23 per cent of the ballots were defective. What does defective mean? it means fraud,’ Trump said.
‘It means – it means a lot of things that we won’t get into because I don’t want to be accused – you see all the cameras back there. It’s the fake news. I don’t want to be accused of anything,’ he said pointing to the back of the room in typical rally fashion.
Delegates officially nominated Trump to be their candidate in November during the roll call Monday morning, which was held in-person in Charlotte and contrasted with Democrats’ virtual roll call last week to nominate Joe Biden as their candidate.
Trump interrupted the roll call by showing up for previously unscheduled remarks, which continued with Tennessee following his hour-long speech.
The president plans to speak during the 10:00 p.m. hour all four nights of the convention – and added bonus remarks at the original convention site Monday afternoon in North Carolina.
The president said he felt ‘obligated’ to make a visit to the location of the convention after their Governor Roy Cooper barred the RNC from having the usual massive crowd at its events
Trump is also preparing to speak during the 10:00 p.m. hour of the convention all four nights
Here for the president: Trump greeted supporters as he walked off stage and to his limousine after the speech
During his remarks Monday, Trump lashed out against North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, claiming he felt an ‘obligation’ to speak in Charlotte after he was forced to move other events to different locations.
‘I just want to thank the people of North Carolina because to be honest with you I felt an obligation to be here. You have a governor who’s in a total shutdown mood. I guarantee on November 4, it’ll all open up. It’ll be fine, like most other states,’ Trump said of Cooper, who restricted the convention crowd size, making it so only the delegates were able to convene for the events.
‘On November 4 – you know these Democrat governors, they love a shutdown until after the election is over because they want to make our numbers look as bas as possible for the economy,’ he lamented.
At the start of the pandemic, millions of Americans lost their jobs – setting all-time high unemployment numbers.
While several events are still being held at the location in Charlotte, the convention is not allowing the usual massive crowd as it has been partially moved to other locations in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
The nomination came as Trump’s campaign unveiled earlier in the day its 49-point plan for his second term, including a ‘return to normal’ by next year.
Accepting his nomination: Vice President Mike Pence was at the convention in Charlotte for his own speech
The plan also focuses on creating 10 million new in 10 months jobs, including bringing 1 million manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. from China.
It also has a whole section dedicated to ‘eradicating COVID-19,’ which includes a ‘return to normal by 2021,’ ‘developing a vaccine by the end of 2020’ and ‘holding China fully accountable for allowing the virus to spread around the world.’
The other points of the plan features sections on healthcare, education, ‘draining the swamp,’ defending police, ending illegal immigration and protecting Americans workers, innovating for the future and his promised ‘America First’ stance on foreign policy.
The Party is conducting a more business-as-usual convention with many events taking place at the convention site in Charlotte, North Carolina – including the roll call on Monday.
Other than backing Trump, the Republican National Committee has not agreed on any other platform for the 2020 convention as the president is prepared to focus on the accomplishments of his first term rather than presenting plans for a second.
In a new resolution adopted Saturday from the previous 2016 platform, the RNC made six declarations and resolved four issues – but otherwise kept the four-year-old platform the same.
‘RESOLVED, That the Republican Party has and will continue to enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda,’ the RNC listed.
In a second point it said ‘[t]hat the 2020 Republican National Convention will adjourn without adopting a new platform until the 2024 Republican National Convention.’
‘Under the emergency procedures set forth under rule 37(e), we will not be adopting an updated version of the rules of the Republican Party until the next convention in 2024,’ Jeff Kent delegate from Washington state said during the first day of the convention Monday morning.
Delegates arrived in Charlotte, North Carolina – the original location of the convention – over the weekend as many speakers prepare to make their remarks remotely in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic
While the RNC will not be fully virtual like the Democratic Convention was last week, the in-person events are severely scaled down
The RNC released a resolution on its 2020 platform that said it will not adopt a new platform from 2016 until 2024, but did reaffirm it will ‘enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda’
One of Trump’s unofficial 2020 slogans is, ‘Promises Made, Promises Kept,’ which will be on full display all four nights of the convention.
‘The RNC enthusiastically supports President Trump and continues to reject the policy positions of the Obama-Biden Administration, as well as those espoused by the Democratic National Committee today; therefore, be it RESOLVED, That the Republican Party has and will continue to enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda,’ the RNC 2020 resolution reads.
The quadrennial event this year will also, in part, be put on by two producers who worked on ‘The Apprentice,’ the show where businessman Trump rose to reality television stardom.
Sadoux Kim is a longtime deputy to the show’s creator and is a lead consultant on the production of the convention. He served as a Miss Universe judge in the past when Trump owned the pageant.
Chuck LaBella, a former NBC entertainment executive, is also on the RNC payroll. He helped produce ‘The Comedy Central Roast of Donald Trump.’
The convention this year will feature more logistical challenges as several speakers will join from remote locations in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic – similar to the Democratic convention last week.
The speaker line-up, which was released this weekend, is full of staunch Trump allies, both on and off Capitol Hill.
Traditionally, the party’s nominee only delivers remarks one night of the four-night nominating convention.
Democratic nominee Joe Biden did make appearances each night of his nominating events last week, but only made a keynote address on the final night on Thursday.
Initially Trump all the events were scheduled to take place in Charlotte, North Carolina. Once the state’s Governor Roy Cooper decided large gathers would not be permitted in the midst of the pandemic, Trump moved his speech – and most of the marquee events – to Jacksonville, Florida where, at the time, lockdown orders were less restrictive.
As the Sunshine State went back into lockdown after experiencing a spike over the summer, Trump was forced to rethink his plans again.
The president will make his acceptance speech from the White House on Thursday and several other events and remarks during the convention will take place in federal grounds and buildings.
The president’s top campaign aides have spent the last few weeks scrambling to come up with a platform for the next four years as the makeup of the convention changed yet again.
Senior administration officials have admitted that they are learning toward pledging Trump will continue working toward hallmarks of his first term instead of presenting entirely new ideas in order for the president to appeal to his base and respond to criticism from his own party.
FULL REPUBLICAN CONVENTION LINE UP
Tim Scott, South Carolina senator
Steve Scalise, House Republican Whip and Louisiana representative who was shot during a congressional baseball game practice in June 2017
Matt Gaetz, Florida representative
Jim Jordan, Ohio representative
Nikki Haley, Donald Trump’s former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
Ronna McDaniel Georgia, Republican National Committee Chairwoman
Vernon Jones, Georgia state representative
Amy Johnson Ford
Kimberly Guilfoyle, former Fox News host and girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr.
Natalie Harp, on the campaign’s advisory board and healthcare advocate
Charlie Kirk, Turning Point USA founder
Kim Klacik, black Republican running for Congress in Baltimore who went viral after urging black voters to break from Democrats
Mark and Patricia McCloskey, St. Louis couple who faced felony charges for defending their home by wielding guns at protesters passing their home
Sean Parnell, veteran running for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 17th district
Andrew Pollack, school safety activist whose daughter Meadow was killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018
Donald Trump, Jr., the president’s eldest son
Tanya Weinreis, Montana coffee shop owner and recipient of the Payment Protection Program grant
Melania Trump, First Lady
Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State
Rand Paul, Kentucky senator
Kim Reynolds, Iowa governor
Jeanette Nuñez, Florida lieutenant governor
Daniel Cameron, Kentucky attorney general
Pam Bondi, former Florida attorney general
Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood clinic director and pro-life activist
Myron Lizer, Vice President of the Navajo Nation
Mary Ann Mendoza, ‘Angel Mom’ who lost her police officer son in 2014 after he was in a head-on car collision with an illegal alien
Nicholas Sandmann, teenager whose confrontation with a Native American activist while wearing a MAGA hat near the Lincoln Memorial went viral
Eric Trump, the president’s son
Tiffany Trump, the president’s youngest daughter
Mike Pence, vice president
Karen Pence, second lady
Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee senator
Joni Ernst, Iowa senator
Kristi Noem, South Dakota governor
Dan Crenshaw, Texas representative
Elise Stefanik, New York representative
Lee Zeldin, New York representative
Richard Grenell, former acting director of National Intelligence
Kellyanne Conway, White House counselor
Keith Kellogg, Pence’s National Security Advisor
Jack Brewer, former NFL player
Sister Dede Byrne, member of the Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary
Madison Cawthorn, partially paralyzed Republican nominee for North Carolina’s 11th congressional district
Scott Dane, executive director of Associated Contract Loggers & Truckers of Minnesota
Clarence Henderson, civil rights activist
Ryan Holets, police officer known for adopting the baby of a homeless Heroin addicted woman he found behind a gas station
Michael McHale, president of National Association of Police Organizations
Burgess Owens, former NFL player running for Utah’s 4th congressional district
Lara Trump, Eric Trump’s wife
Donald J. Trump, President
Ben Carson, Housing and Urban Development secretary
Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader and Kentucky senator
Tom Cotton, Arkansas senator
Kevin McCarthy, House Republican Leader and California representative
Jeff Van Drew, New Jersey representative who flipped from Democrat to Republican in the middle of his term
Ivanka Trump, president’s eldest daughter and senior adviser
Ja’Ron Smith, president’s assistant for domestic policy
Ann Dorn, widow of retired St. Louis police captain David Dorn Dorn was shot and killed on June 2 at a pawn shop where he served as a security guard
Rudy Giuliani, former New York City mayor and president’s personal lawyer
Franklin Graham, evangelical leader
Alice Johnson, ex-inmate pardoned by Mr. Trump
Carl and Marsha Mueller, parents of Kayla Mueller, a humanitarian worker who was tortured and killed by ISIS
Dana White, UFC president