CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV/CBS News) - The 2020 Republican National Convention kicked off Monday with the official business in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The Republican National Convention’s main business, including the roll call nomination of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, took place at the Charlotte Convention Center.
Monday’s convention proceedings were attended by six delegates from each state and territory, amounting to 336 delegates total.
The convention week featured four nights of speakers ranging from the president’s most vocal supporters on Capitol Hill to members of his family to Americans who the Trump campaign says have written “the great American story.”
The convention, themed “Honoring the Great American Story,” closed Thursday with President Trump delivering a speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination from the White House.
Day 4 Updates:
President Trump accepted his party’s nomination for president in a lengthy speech that stretched nearly an hour and a half.
“My fellow Americans, tonight, with a heart full of gratitude and boundless optimism, I profoundly accept this nomination for president of the United States,” Trump said.
President Trump addressed the Americans impacted by Hurricane Laura and said he will be visiting those impacted this weekend.
“This election will decide whether we save the American dream, or whether we allow a socialist agenda to demolish our cherished destiny,” he said. “And this election will decide whether we will defend the American way of life, or whether we allow a radical movement to completely dismantle and destroy it.”
President Trump said Joe Biden “is a Trojan horse for socialism” and painted him as a weak candidate.
“He takes his marching orders from liberal hypocrites who drive their cities into the ground while fleeing far from the scene of the wreckage,” the president said of Biden.
Trump spoke more, making the case for his reelection by listing his domestic and foreign policy accomplishments.
He attacked Biden’s 47 years in office, calling the former vice president’s record “a shameful roll call of the most catastrophic betrayals and blunders in our lifetime.”
The president touted how his administration made sure personal protective equipment reached hospitals, and the nation’s case fatality rate. The president also touted the financial recovery package signed into law in the early months of the pandemic, as millions of workers lost their jobs.
Trump reiterated his support for law enforcement, but also acknowledged the justice system must hold police officers who commit wrongdoing accountable.
“We must remember that the overwhelming majority of police officers in this country are noble, courageous and honorable,” he said. “We have to give law enforcement, our police, back their power. They are afraid to act. They are afraid to lose their pension. They are afraid to lose their jobs, and by being afraid, they are not able to do their jobs. And those who suffer most are the great people who they want so desperately to protect.”
President Trump said that in November, voters “must turn the page forever on this failed political class” and with him in office for a second term “write the next chapter of the great American story.”
The president then laid out the broad contours of his second-term agenda, which includes expanding Opportunity Zones, shifting medical supply chains back to the U.S. and slashing taxes and regulations. Trump also vowed to create 10 million jobs in the next 10 months and said he would push for more stringent penalties for assaults on law enforcement.
Ivanka Trump portrayed her father as a man of “deep-seated compassion.”
She spoke of the sorrow felt for coronavirus victims and of how moved her father was watching Alice Johnson released from prison after he commuted her 30-year sentence for a non-violent drug offense.
Ivanka addressed Americans on the Gulf Coast who have been impacted by Hurricane Laura, which slammed into Louisiana late Wednesday night.
“My father has strong convictions. He knows what he believes, and says what he thinks,” he said. “Whether you agree with him or not, you always know where he stands. I recognize that my dad’s communication style is not to everyone’s taste. And I know his tweets can feel a bit unfiltered. But the results, the results speak for themselves.”
Ivanka Trump said across his first term in office, “Washington has not changed Donald Trump. Donald Trump changed Washington.”
Ben Carson extended his condolences to the family of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man who was shot by a police officer in Kenosha on Sunday, as well as others “who’ve been impacted by the tragic events in Kenosha.” He urged Americans to “come together in love of our fellow citizens.”
“History reminds us that necessary change comes through hope and love, not senseless and destructive violence,” Carson said.
Carson highlighted President Trump’s support of historically Black colleges and universities, as well as the Trump administration’s work on criminal justice reform, adding that he is the “most pro-life president in our country’s history.”
Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal attorney, discussed the recent uptick in crime in New York City, where he served as mayor, and urged voters not to “let Democrats do to America what they have done to New York”.
Giuliani attacked Biden, portraying him as a candidate who lacks principles and as a “Trojan horse” for the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.
The former New York City mayor said the November election, and a victory for Trump, will give the president a mandate to crack down on the unrest in Democratic-led cities.
“President Trump, with his boundless love of our country and all our people, his disciplined work ethic, his exceptional ability to inspire and his deep understanding of our system of government and the strength of American values is the man we can trust to preserve and even improve our way of life,” he said.
During his RNC speech, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pointed out that he’s the only top party leader on Capitol Hill not from New York or California. He was blunt about why Republicans don’t want the District of Columbia to become a state - because that would likely tip the balance of the Senate to Democrats.
“With two more liberal senators, we cannot undo the damage they’ve done,” McConnell said.
McConnell suggested Democrats want to control every aspect of Americans’ lives, including “how many hamburgers you can eat.”
Day 3 Updates:
Vice President Mike Pence spoke to residents of Texas and Louisiana in the path of Hurricane Laura, a Category 4 storm set to slam the Gulf Coast, and urged them to “stay safe, and know that we’ll be with you every step of the way.”
"In these challenging times our country needs a president who believes in America, who believes in the boundless capacity of the American people to meet any challenge, defeat any foe, and defend the freedoms we all hold dear," Pence said. "America needs four more years of President Donald Trump in the White House."
Turning to his experience as vice president, Pence said that during their first term, he has watched President Trump “endure unrelenting attacks and get up every day and fight to keep the promises he made to the American people.”
"Over the past four years, I've worked closely with our president. I've seen him when the cameras are off," he said. "Americans see President Trump in lots of different ways but there's no doubt how President Trump sees America. He sees America for what it is, a nation that has done more good in this world than any other, a nation that deserves far more gratitude than grievance, and if you want a president who falls silent when our heritage is demeaned or insulted, then he's not your man."
Pence highlighted national security and the president’s work reshaping the federal judiciary, protecting the Second Amendment and signing legislation reforming the tax code.
The vice president spoke on the tragedies and hardships brought with the coronavirus pandemic, but praised President Trump’s efforts in response, including the administration’s efforts to speed development and distribution of a coronavirus vaccine.
"The choice is clear: to bring America all the way back, we need four more years of President Donald Trump in the White House," he said.
Pence was the first and only speaker Wednesday night to mention the violence and unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
"Let me be clear: the violence must stop, whether in Minneapolis, Portland or Kenosha," Pence said. "Too many heroes have died defending our freedoms to see Americans strike each other down."
He praised law enforcement and said that under the Trump administration, there will be “law and order on the streets of America for every American of every race and creed and color.”
Second Lady Karen Pence spoke to the role of military spouses, both in their efforts supporting their families and as business owners forging their own paths.
Pence highlighted Lisa Bradley and Cameron Cruse, who started the handbag company R. Riveter, which is manufactured by military spouses, and Jilan Hall-Johnson, a culinary artist who opened the Sassy Biscuit.
"President Trump and Vice President Pence have been supporting our United States Armed Forces, including our military families, on a significant scale," she said. "While traveling throughout our nation to educate military spouses about policy solutions that President Trump has promoted, involving real, tangible progress in military spouse employment, I have been inspired to meet heroes" like Bradley and Cruse.
In early August, Karen Pence visited Charlotte to raise awareness about mental health and veteran suicide prevention efforts underway in the community. Following the suicide prevention roundtable, Mrs. Pence visited a military spouse owned business, DocTerra Mobile Veterinary Services, PLLC.
Pence opened and closed her RNC remarks by commemorating the 100th anniversary of ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.
Outgoing White House counselor Kellyanne Conway continued to try to make the case that the president is a champion of women.
"For decades, he has elevated women to senior positions in business and in government," she said of the president. "He confides in and consults us, respects our opinions, and insists that we are on equal footing with the men."
She also touched on the drug crisis in America, having focused much of her time in the White House on fighting the opioid epidemic.
“Rather than look the other way, President Trump stared directly at this drug ‘crisis next door’ and, through landmark, bipartisan legislation has helped secure historic investments in surveillance, interdiction, education, prevention, treatment and recovery,” Conway said. “We have a long way to go, but the political inertia that costs lives and the silence and stigma that prevents people in need from coming forward is melting away. This is the man I know and the president we need.”
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany shared an intimate story about her decision to get a double mastectomy, after her doctor showed she was at high risk for breast cancer.
McEnany said she received calls from Ivanka Trump and President Trump after undergoing the procedure.
"I was scared. The night before I fought back tears, as I prepared to lose a piece of myself," McEnany said. "But the next day, with my mom, dad, husband, and Jesus Christ by my side, I underwent a mastectomy, almost eliminating my chance of breast cancer— a decision I now celebrate. During one of my most difficult times, I expected to have the support of my family, but I had more support than I knew. As I came out of anesthesia, one of the first calls I received was from Ivanka Trump. Days later, as I recovered, my phone rang. It was President Trump, calling to check on me. I was blown away."
“Though I didn’t personally know the President at the time, I know him well now and I can tell you that this president loves the American people, stands by Americans with preexisting conditions, and supports working moms,” she added.
Day 2 Updates:
In the closing speech of Night 2, First Lady Melania Trump opened her remarks with words of assurance that her husband would not rest until there’s a treatment or vaccine for the coronavirus.
Mrs. Trump offered sympathy for those grieving over lost loved ones from COVID-19 and recognized that the U.S. has more work to do to address racial unrest and division.
“I want to acknowledge the fact that since March, our lives have changed drastically. The invisible enemy, COVID-19, swept across our beautiful country. And impacted all of us. My deepest sympathy goes out to everyone who has lost a loved one,” she said.
Speaking from the newly-renovated Rose Garden, Melania Trump spoke of her visits with military personnel and first responders, offering thanks of the nation for their service. President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were among the audience of about 100 family and friends.
The first lady spoke about her “Be Best” program.
“Helping children is not a political goal,” Melania Trump said. “It is our moral imperative.”
Mrs. Trump also urged the media to focus even more on the nation’s drug crisis.
“Addiction has touched every part of our society,” Mrs. Trump said. “We need to talk about it openly.”
The first lady also recognized that, while the nation has made progress in racial equality, the nation has further to go.
“It is a harsh reality that we are not proud of parts of our history,” the first lady said.
Melania Trump appealed for her husband’s reelection, saying his leadership warrants another term.
In a segment during the second night of the convention, President Donald Trump granted a full pardon to former convict Jon Ponder, who is now the founder of Hope for Prisoners program, to assist former prisoners re-enter society. Ponder’s wife and former FBI Agent Richard Beasley were there.
In his second convention segment of night 2, President Trump looked on as Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf administered an oath to five new American citizens. The event served to display Trump’s support for legal immigration and naturalization.
“You followed the rules. You obeyed the laws,” Trump said.
The new American citizens were immigrants from Bolivia, Lebanon, India, Sudan and Ghana.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered remarks from Jerusalem.
He praised Trump’s work on foreign policy, highlighting the killing of Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds military force, the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal and the peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
“The primary constitutional function of the national government is ensuring that your family, and mine, are safe and enjoy the freedom to live, to work, to learn and to worship as they choose,” Pompeo said. “Delivering on this duty to keep us safe and our freedoms intact, this president has led bold initiatives in nearly every corner of the world.”
Eric Trump highlighted his father’s accomplishments including judicial appointments, the overhaul of the tax code with the GOP-controlled Congress and foreign policy agenda.
Eric Trump called Joe Biden “a career politician who has never signed the front of a check and does not know the slightest thing about the American worker or the American business.”
Day 1 Updates:
The RNC events in Charlotte concluded around 3 p.m. Monday. The RNC was designated a National Special Security Event (NSSE), which ran from 6:00 a.m. to approximately 3:00 p.m.
The opening morning in Charlotte featured surprised speeches from the president and the vice president.
President Donald Trump spoke on multiple subjects from unity to the pandemic as he addressed delegates during the first day of the Republican National Convention in Charlotte on Monday.
The president touched down aboard Air Force One at the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport just before noon. His motorcade then moved through uptown to the Charlotte Convention Center, where the RNC’s official business of re-nominating Trump as the official Republican candidate for the 2020 presidential election.
President Trump took the stage to cheers and chants of “four more years” from the crowd. He then thanked the crowd and began his speech.
“This is the most important election in the history of our country,” Trump said before remarking on the “special evening” that was the 2016 election. “We have to be very careful and we have to win. Our country is counting on it. This is the biggest, this is it. Our country can go in a horrible, horrible direction or in an even greater direction.”
As President Donald Trump landed in Charlotte aboard Air Force One, Vice President Mike Pence spoke across town at the Charlotte Convention Center during the Republican National Convention.
“I’m here for one reason and one reason only and that is, not just the Republican party, but America needs four more years of President Donald Trump in the White House,” Pence said around noon Monday. The audience responded in chants of “four more years!”
During his nearly 20 minute speech, Pence spoke about the “agenda” of the Democratic party, listing higher taxes, socialized medicine, open borders, abortion and cutting finding to law enforcement.
After leaving Charlotte, Trump visited the Asheville area with daughter Ivanka Trump and United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue for the Farmers to Families program.
The three visited the Farmers to Families Food Box farm, taking a tour of Flavor 1st Growers and Packers in Mills River, North Carolina.
Trump announced that USDA will provide another billion dollars for the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. It pays farmers and packers to produce the food boxes to help families in need due to the pandemic.
Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, one of the few former members of the Trump administration speaking at the convention, recalled her experience and praised Trump for his foreign policy record.
“The U.N. is not for the faint of heart. It’s a place where dictators, murderers and thieves denounce America, and then put their hands out and demand that we pay their bills,” Haley said. “Well, President Trump put an end to all that. With his leadership, we did what Barack Obama and Joe Biden refused to do. We stood up for America and we stood against our enemies.”
Haley claimed that if Joe Biden is elected in November, he would be doing the bidding of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Bernie Sanders and the progressive members of the party.
Donald Trump, Jr., the first member of the Trump family to speak, praised his father for his response to the coronavirus pandemic and economic gains. Trump, Jr. said a Biden presidency would harm working Americans.
"Joe Biden is basically the Loch Ness Monster of the Swamp. For the past half-century, he's been lurking around in there. He sticks his head up every now and then to run for president, then he disappears and doesn't do much in between," Trump, Jr. said. "So if you're looking for hope, look to the man who did what the failed Obama-Biden administration never could do and built the greatest economy our country has ever seen, and President Trump will do it again."
Trump, Jr. said that under his father's administration, free speech has thrived, law enforcement is supported and all students will have access to a good education.
"America is the greatest country on Earth. But my father's entire worldview revolves around the idea that we can always do even better," he said. "Imagine the life you want to have, one with a great job, a beautiful home, a perfect family. You can have it. Imagine the country you want to live in, one with true equal opportunity, where hard work pays off and justice is served with compassion and without partiality. You can have it."
Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina closed out the first night of the convention. Scott said while Trump and Biden are the two presidential candidates on the ballot in November, the election is “about the promise of America.”
"We live in a world that only wants you to believe in the bad news, racially, economically and culturally-polarizing news. The truth is, our nation's arc always bends back towards fairness. We are not fully where we want to be, but I thank God almighty we are not where we used to be," he said. "We are always striving to be better. When we stumble, and we will, we pick ourselves back up and try again".
Scott recounted Biden’s past comments on Black Americans and his efforts spearheading the 1994 crime bill. He also praised the president’s efforts on criminal justice reform and providing more funding for historically Black colleges and universities.
“I’m going to ask you, the American people, not to look simply at what the candidates say but to look back at what they’ve done,” he said. “This election is about your future, and it’s critical to paint a full picture of the records of Donald Trump and Joe Biden.”
Scott closed by warning that if Biden and Harris are elected, “they will turn our country into a socialist utopia.”
In order of appearance
- Timothy Cardinal Dolan, archbishop of New York
- Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA
- Rebecca Friedrichs, public school teacher
- Tanya Weinreis, small business owner whose coffee shop qualified for a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program
- Representative Matt Gaetz
- Kim Klacik, Republican congressional nominee
- Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee
- Amy Johnson Ford, nurse practitioner
- Dr. G.E. Ghali, surgeon
- Representative Jim Jordan
- Herschel Walker, former NFL player and businessman
- Natalie Harp, Trump campaign advisory board member
- Vernon Jones, Georgia state representative
- Andrew Pollack, father of Meadow Pollack, who was killed in the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
- Mark and Patricia McCloskey, St. Louis couple who pointed guns at Black Lives Matter protesters
- Kimberly Guilfoyle, Trump campaign fundraiser and girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr.
- House Republican Whip Steve Scalise
- Sean Parnell, Republican congressional nominee
- Maximo Alvarez, founder of Sunshine Gasoline
- Nikki Haley, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations
- Donald Trump, Jr., oldest son of President Trump
- Senator Tim Scott
- First Lady Melania Trump
- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
- Senator Rand Paul
- Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds
- Florida Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez
- Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron
- Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi
- Abby Johnson, anti-abortion rights activist
- Jason Joyce
- Myron Lizer, Navajo Nation vice president
- Mary Ann Mendoza, mother whose son was killed by an illegal immigrant
- Megan Pauley
- Cris Peterson
- John Peterson
- Nicholas Sandmann, student who sued news outlets after confrontation with Native American activist
- Eric Trump, son of Mr. Trump
- Tiffany Trump, daughter of Mr. Trump
- Vice President Mike Pence
- Second Lady Karen Pence
- Senator Marsha Blackburn
- Senator Joni Ernst
- South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem
- Representative Dan Crenshaw
- Representative Elise Stefanik
- Representative Lee Zeldin
- Richard Grenell, former acting director of national intelligence
- Kellyanne Conway, White House counselor
- Keith Kellogg, national security adviser to the vice president
- Jack Brewer, former NFL player
- Sister Dede Byrne, surgeon and military veteran
- Madison Cawthorn, Republican congressional nominee
- Scott Dane, executive director, Associated Contract Loggers & Truckers of Minnesota
- Clarence Henderson, civil rights activist
- Ryan Holets, police officer known for adopting opioid-addicted baby
- Michael McHale, National Association of Police Organizations president
- Burgess Owens, former NFL player and GOP congressional nominee
- Lara Trump, Trump campaign adviser and wife of Eric Trump
- President Trump
- HUD Secretary Ben Carson
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
- Senator Tom Cotton
- House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy
- Representative Jeff Van Drew
- Ivanka Trump, White House senior adviser
- Ja'Ron Smith, White House assistant
- Ann Dorn, widow of former police officer killed in St. Louis
- Debbie Flood
- Rudy Giuliani, former New York mayor
- Franklin Graham, evangelical leader
- Alice Johnson, ex-inmate pardoned by Mr. Trump
- Wade Mayfield
- Carl and Marsha Mueller, parents of U.S. aid worker killed by ISIS
- Dana White, president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship