First Lady Hits A Different, Empathetic Tone: Convention Update
(Bloomberg) -- First lady caps night with different, empathetic tone. Kentucky official tells Biden Black voters are “not all the same.” And Eric Trump paints a dark picture of Democratic control.
There are 70 days until the election.
First Lady Caps Night With Empathetic Tone
Melania Trump, who keeps a low profile as first lady, struck a different tone from the polemics that preceded her at the convention, especially on the pandemic.
Melania Trump said she and President Donald Trump were deeply grateful for the sacrifices made by frontline workers and the unity that Americans have found during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I want to acknowledge the fact that since March, our lives have changed drastically,” she said. “The invisible enemy Covid-19 swept across our beautiful country and impacted all of us. I know many people are anxious and some feel helpless. I want you to know: You’re not alone. My husband’s administration will not stop fighting until there is an effective treatment or vaccine available to everyone.”
She shared her personal story of immigrating to the United States from Slovenia, talked about the inspiring women and children she has met as first lady and defended her husband as a non-traditional politician who gets results.
She also said she had reflected on the recent “racial unrest” in the country as well as the “inhumane stories” of slavery and called on Americans to come together across racial divisions and live up to their ideals.
Melania Trump spoke to a crowd of dozens of people in the newly renovated White House Rose Garden that included the president, Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen.
Kentucky Official Tells Biden Black Voters Are ‘Not All the Same’ (11:07 p.m.)
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, whose office will decide whether to bring charges against police officers in the high-profile shooting of Breonna Taylor, said Republicans stand for equality under the law but also assailed protesters who he said were tearing up American cities.
“Whether you are the family of Breonna Taylor or David Dorn, these are the ideals that will heal out nation’s wounds,” he said, citing the cases of an emergency medical services worker shot in her home in Louisville and a police officer killed during protests in St. Louis. “Republicans will never turn a blind eye to unjust acts, but neither will we accept this all-out assault on Western civilization.”
Cameron, Kentucky’s first black attorney general, took charge of the Taylor case in May when the local prosecutor recused himself. He met with Taylor’s family earlier this month but declined to give details about the status of the case, saying the investigation is continuing.
One of several Black Republicans with speaking roles at the convention, Cameron also rebuked Joe Biden for saying African-Americans who vote for Trump “ain’t Black.”
“Mr. Vice President, look at me. I am black. We are not all the same,” he said. -- Gregory Korte
Eric Trump Goes on the Attack in Convention Speech (10:47 p.m.)
Trump’s son Eric painted a dark picture of American under Democratic control, saying radicals want to “erase history,” “disrespect our flag” and national anthem, and “defund, destroy, and disrespect our law enforcement.”
“The Democrats want an America where your thoughts and opinions are censored when they do not align with their own.”
Trump called Democratic nominee Joe Biden “a career politician” who “does not know the slightest thing about the American worker,” a “total pushover for Communist China” who would be “a giant relief” for terrorists. He then argued that the “American spirit” defeated “fascism and communism” and in November will “defeat the empty, oppressive, and radical views of the extreme left.”
Eric Trump, who also spoke at the 2016 convention, has mostly stayed away from his father’s political work as he focused on running the Trump Organization, where he is executive vice president.
Earlier this week, the New York state attorney general asked a judge to order Trump to answer questions under oath as part of an investigation into whether the Trump Organization committed loan and tax fraud by overstating the values of its assets.
Florida Lieutenant Governor Warns Against Socialism (10:26 p.m.)
Florida Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez said that as a daughter of Cuban immigrants she worries about the socialist rhetoric on the left.
“Fellow Americans, the fabric of our nation is in peril. Daily, the radical left systematically chisels away at the freedoms we cherish. They peddle dangerous ideologies, cower to global progressives, and normalize socialism to dismantle our Constitution.”
“Let me assure you, socialism doesn’t offer opportunity. Socialism deprives. It is a falsehood that feigns promises for its masses and consistently yields only misery.”
Nuñez has not always been a supporter of the president. In 2016 she tweeted Trump was “the biggest con-man there is” and insinuated that he had ties to the Ku Klux Klan. When one of Trump’s most ardent supporters, Ron DeSantis, asked her to be his running mate in 2018, she deleted the tweet.
Before becoming the first Latina lieutenant governor of Florida, Nuñez served in the state’s House of Representatives. -- Emma Kinery
Iowa Governor Says Trump ‘Showed Up’ After Storm Hit State (10:11 p.m.)
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds praised President Donald Trump’s response to a storm that ripped through her state, devastating millions of acres of farm land.
Reynolds said Trump called her the day after the storm to reassure her that the federal government would support her state.
“When the winds had finished raging and the cleanup had only begun, he showed up,” she said. “You might not know, because the national media didn’t report it. But the Trump administration was here. In full force.”
The storm struck Iowa in early August with 100-mile-per-hour winds that left three people dead and scores injured and wiping out millions of acres of corn and soybeans. Last week, the Trump administration approved an emergency declaration for the state. Both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have visited the state in the wake of the disaster, showing the White House’s concern that a state Trump won by nine points in 2016 is now up for grabs. -- Naomi Nix
Pam Bondi Assails Joe and Hunter Biden on Ukraine (10:03 p.m.)
Bondi, the former Florida attorney general, launched the fullest assault yet on Democratic nominee Joe Biden of the second night of the Republican convention, reviewing his son Hunter Biden’s work for a Ukrainian energy company.
Trump had promised to use Hunter Biden’s involvement with Ukraine in an effort to show the family was corrupt.
“When you look at his 47 year career in politics, the people who benefited are his family members, not the American people,” Bondi said.
Hunter Biden sat on the board of Burisma, a natural gas company, which was under investigation by prosecutor Viktor Shokin. At the same time, then-Vice President Biden led an international effort to have Shokin removed for failing to probe corruption aggressively enough.
The House impeachment probe was triggered by Trump’s attempt to prod Ukraine’s president into investigating whether Biden, as vice president, put pressure on Ukraine to help Burisma.
Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said, “Here on planet Earth, the conspiracy theory that Bondi repeated has been conclusively refuted.” -- Emma Kinery
New Lawyer Tiffany Trump Takes Political Turn (9:54 p.m.)
President Donald Trump’s youngest daughter, Tiffany, used her time on the convention stage to make a more starkly political speech than she has in the past.
Tiffany Trump, who graduated from Georgetown University Law Center in May, has mostly stayed away from her father’s political work over the last four years.
But speaking at the second night of the Republican National Convention, Tiffany Trump made the case for her father’s re-election by citing his handling of the economy, praising his positions on prescription drug prices and school choice, and lambasting political correctness and the news media.
“If you care about living your life without restraints, about rebelling against those who would suppress your voice, and building your American dream,” she said, “then the choice in this election is clear.”
Student Rails Against ‘Cancel Culture’ (9:39 p.m.)
Nicholas Sandmann, the MAGA hat-wearing high school student who became the face of a national controversy last year, told the Republican National Convention Tuesday that re-electing the president was the best way to combat a media-driven “cancel culture.”
“In November, I believe this country must unite around a president who calls the media out and refuses to allow them to create a narrative instead of reporting the facts,” Sandmann said.
Sandmann, then 16, was attending an anti-abortion march at the Lincoln Memorial with his classmates from Covington Catholic High School when he became the focus of news reports in 2019. Commentators accused him and his classmates of trying to intimidate a Native American counter-protester, but a full video of the episode showed that it was the counter-protester who first approached the school group.
“My life changed forever in that one moment. The full war machine of the mainstream media revved up into attack mode,” he said. “And do you know why? Because the truth wasn’t important.”
Sandmann sued CNN and the Washington Post over their coverage of the confrontation, and both news organizations settled for undisclosed sums. “I fought back hard to expose the media for what they did to me and won a personal victory,” Sandmann said. “And I know you’ll agree with me when I say no one in this county has been a victim of unfair media coverage more than President Donald Trump.” -- Gregory Korte
Larry Kudlow Promises New Tax Cuts (9:27 pm.)
Kudlow, the chief White House economic adviser, said that if Trump were re-elected his administration would usher in new tax cuts for middle class Americans and roll back regulations facing small businesses.
“Now looking ahead, more tax cuts and regulatory rollback will be in store,” Kudlow said during the Republican National Convention on Tuesday. “Payroll tax cuts for higher wages, income tax cuts for the middle class, capital gains tax cuts for investment, productivity and jobs.”
Trump said earlier this month he was considering implementing a capital gains tax cut, a move he decided against last September after saying it wouldn’t do enough to help the middle class. The president can’t unilaterally cut the 20% long-term capital gains rate without the approval of Congress, but some advisers tell him he could issue an executive order that would slash tax bills for investors when they sell assets. -- Naomi Nix
Wisconsin Dairy Farmer Praises Trump’s ‘Economic Boom’ (9:10 p.m.)
A dairy farmer from the key swing state of Wisconsin argued that Trump’s handling of the economy and response to the coronavirus helped her small family farm.
Speaking on the second night of the Republican National Convention, Grantsburg farmer Cris Peterson pointed out that Trump took office in the midst of a years-long slump for small dairy farmers, a key voting bloc in the battleground state.
But she credited the recent success of her own farm to “President Trump’s economic boom” and to support for farmers during the pandemic.
Small dairy farms have been under pressure for years, but they closed at a much faster rate in 2018 and 2019, as milk production has been consolidated at much larger farms, according to a July report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Dairy farmers blame falling milk prices and a decline in exports to China after it put tariffs on U.S. milk in response to Trump’s trade war. As with other farmers, they have also been hurt by the slowdown in the food service industry during the pandemic. Earlier this year, the Trump administration announced a $19 billion bailout for farmers and ranchers.
Senator Rand Paul Warns Against Socialists ‘Burning Our Cities’ (8:59 p.m.)
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul said Trump will fight “socialists poisoning our schools and burning our cities.”
“To those of you who want lower taxes and better, less expensive health care, join me in supporting President Trump,” Paul said.
As a staunch libertarian, Paul has been critical of Trump in the past. But Paul is in favor of criminal justice reform, and pointed to Trump’s First Step Act as one of the accomplishments of his tenure.
“President Trump signed the First Step Act, the first real reform in a generation, and one that sought to undo the harm that others, like Joe Biden, have done,” Paul said.
Before taking office, Paul was an ophthalmologist for more than 15 years. He’s spoken out against the Affordable Care Act and other forms of “socialized medicine.” -- Emma Kinery
Small-Dollar Trump Donors Get a Live Shoutout (8:25 p.m.)
President Donald Trump’s small-dollar donors are getting a shoutout on the campaign’s livestream of the convention.
On the Trump campaign’s YouTube channel, viewers can watch the convention with a cable news-style ticker at the bottom.
Beneath a message urging voters to text the campaign, there are two rolling lists of donors’ first names and last initials, their state and the amount they gave: “John O. CO $25 -- Michele C. NC $60 -- Michael C. FL $5 -- Sterling D. CA $5.”
The campaign is currently running ads on Facebook telling supporters to donate before the deadline to ensure their name will be featured on screen at key times, like first lady Melania Trump’s speech Tuesday night.
“THIS IS YOUR CHANCE TO GO DOWN IN HISTORY!” one ad says. “Get your name on the list of Patriotic Americans who will have their names broadcast LIVE during the 2020 GOP Convention.”
Trump Holds Naturalization Ceremony Before Convention (7:37 p.m.)
A video posted by the White House shows Trump hosting a naturalization ceremony for five new American citizens from the Center Hall of the White House, in an event likely to be featured during Tuesday’s Republican National Convention.
“You followed the rules, you obeyed the laws, you learned your history, embraced our values and proved yourselves to be men and women of the highest integrity,” Trump said, adding that “the history and heritage of the united states are now yours to preserve and pass down to the next generation.”
Trump’s participation in the naturalization ceremony comes as White House officials are drafting what the president has described as a sweeping executive order to overhaul the nation’s immigration system.
Trump has long advocated for changes to the current system that would likely reduce legal immigration and put a greater emphasis on skills over familial connections, but has been repeatedly stymied by Congress. Critics -- including some Republicans -- have said his unilateral actions are likely to face a legal challenge.
By posting the video publicly to YouTube ahead of the convention, the White House will likely avoid restrictions on federal employees using taxpayer funds for political events like the convention. Stephanie Grisham, the former press secretary and current chief of staff to First Lady Melania Trump, told reporters that the White House counsel’s office had given staff members multiple memos detailing what activities were allowed and prohibited. -- Justin Sink
Kanye West Makes Minnesota, Tennessee Ballots (6:26 pm)
Voters in Minnesota and Tennessee will see Kanye West on their ballots for president this year, but those in Missouri won’t.
Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett tweeted Tuesday that West has qualified as an independent presidential candidate for the Nov. 3 ballot in the state, and the Minnesota secretary state’s office also said the rapper qualified for the ballot there.
The Missouri secretary of state’s office said it notified West he didn’t qualify for the ballot there.
The determinations come a day after West’s campaign missed a deadline to file signatures to appear on the ballot in Wyoming. A final determination about his ballot eligibility is still outstanding in at least Iowa, according to the secretary of state’s office there.
West, who announced his quixotic independent candidacy in July, has been approved to appear on the ballot in at least Louisiana, Arkansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Utah and Vermont. He has been rejected for various reasons in multiple other states. -- Mark Niquette
QAnon Sympathizing Candidates Invited to White House for Trump’s Speech (6:31 p.m.)
Two House candidates who have expressed some support for the conspiracy theory known as QAnon, have been invited to attend Trump’s acceptance speech on Thursday.
Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted that she will be attending the event at the White House, along with a copy of the official invitation. Greene, who Trump referred to as “a future Republican star,” won the primary in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District and has come under fire for anti-Muslim remarks and for her comments supporting the movement QAnon.
Gun-rights activist and Colorado Congressional candidate Lauren Boebert, who has also sympathized with QAnon, was invited to the White House as well.
“It is an absolute honor to be chosen as one of President Trump’s guests at this important event,” Boebert tweeted. She unseated the five-term Trump-backed Republican Congressman Scott Tipton in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District primary.
As the owner of a restaurant in Colorado called Shooter’s Grill, where waiters openly carry guns, Boebert ran on a pro-gun, pro-freedom agenda and has previously said that she hopes QAnon is real “because it only means America is getting stronger and better.”
QAnon, which has been labeled by the FBI as a potential domestic terrorism threat, is a conspiracy theory primarily focused on the idea that Trump is battling a “deep state” cabal of Democratic politicians, celebrities and people in government who are involved in child sex trafficking.
House Democrats to Investigate Pompeo Speech (5:13 p.m.)
The vice chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said Tuesday he would investigate whether Pompeo’s speech at the Republican convention violated State Department policy or the Hatch Act, a law designed to separate government and political activity.
Pompeo is speaking to the convention Tuesday in a pre-recorded speech from Jerusalem while on official business.
“It is highly unusual, and likely unprecedented, for a sitting secretary of State to speak at a partisan convention for either of the political parties,” wrote Joaquin Castro, who is the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs’ oversight subcommittee. “It appears that it may also be illegal.”
In his letter to the State Department, Castro asks Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun to provide answers to several questions about the speech, including questions about the legal guidance that was circulated in advance of the speech, apparently clearing Pompeo to deliver it. Castro asked for responses to his questions by September 1.
Convention Week Relatively Quiet on Ad Front for Trump (1:47 p.m.)
While Trump is enjoying the free air time that comes with convention week, his campaign appears to be taking a break from paying for media.
From Tuesday through Labor Day, Trump’s campaign has booked just $243,773 of ads, almost all of them on Washington, D.C. cable stations, according to Advertising Analytics. Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s campaign has booked $22.9 million of broadcast, cable and radio time in battleground states over the same period.
Trump can still book time for the coming days, and has recently made big national cable buys when the advertising week, which runs Tuesdays through Mondays, is already in progress. The campaign’s $1.8 million buy for last week was made on Friday, four days into the week, and after the Democratic National Convention concluded.
Campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said it “makes little sense to blow donor money on ads during convention weeks, when all of the national media is focused on the candidates anyway.”
That upcoming hiatus comes before a deluge. After Labor Day, the traditional start of the sprint to the general election, Trump has $147.9 million of ad time reserved, while Biden, whose campaign has said it will spent $280 million on media in the fall, has $115.9 million reserved so far.
Biden has spent $66.5 million on paid media in August, almost three times as much as the $22.7 million for Trump. Despite the lower outlays, Trump put more money, some $5.4 million, into digital ads than Biden, who spent $3.1 million. -- Bill Allison
Convention Speakers Echo Trump’s Favorite Line on the Economy (1 p.m.)
Speakers on the first night of the Republican National Convention borrowed one of Trump’s favorite lines: that he built the greatest economy ever.
Representative Matt Gaetz credited Trump for “the strongest economy our country has ever seen.” Donald Trump Jr. similarly said his father “built the greatest economy our country has ever seen.” And his partner, former Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle, went even further, calling it “the greatest economy the world has ever known.”
Starting in 2018, Trump has argued that he was responsible for the greatest economy in the history of the country. But although it was strong, it did not surpass previous highs in employment, gross domestic product or productivity.
The economy has since taken a hit due to the coronavirus pandemic, which one speaker -- St. Louis attorney Mark McCloskey -- acknowledged when he spoke of it in the past tense, saying Trump “brought us the greatest economy our country had ever seen.”
Trump Has Widened His 2016 Base, Campaign Aide Says (11:33 a.m.)
The decision to highlight race and diversity on the first night of the Republican National Convention was intended to show that President Donald Trump has expanded his base in the last four years, campaign manager Bill Stepien said Tuesday.
“I was the face of President Trump’s election in 2016. I’m a white guy who owns a pick up truck. I like college football and I drink beer,” Stepien told Politico in an interview Tuesday. “This time around, this week, last night, tonight and the remaining days of the convention you’re going to see the expanded base of support for the president.”
Throughout his presidency, Trump has often stoked racist tensions with controversial statements and has been criticized for his handling of nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd in police custody.
But on Monday, the party convention leaned into racial issues, including an emotional speech from a Cuban immigrant about fleeing communism and a speech by South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, the only Black Republican in the chamber, who said the next American century would be better than the last. Trump received support from 8% of Black voters in 2016.
“The president has grown this party, the president has grown his coalition over the years and he’s proud to highlight these great American stories,” Stepien said. -- Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou
The second night of the Republican National Convention will feature speeches by first lady Melania Trump and Trump’s son Eric Trump and daughter Tiffany Trump. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo will speak from Jerusalem. Nicholas Sandmann, who sued media outlets that inaccurately portrayed him seeming to confront a Native American protester, will also speak.
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