The Republican National Convention Is Upon Us: Here’s What You Need To Know

August 21, 2020 by Dan McCue
(Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – The Democrats dominated the political universe this week, holding what has been widely called a very successful first-of-its-kind virtual national convention, and sending its ticket of former Vice President Joe Biden and vice presidential nominee, Sen. Kamala Harris, off to start their fall campaign.

Now it’s time for the Republicans to do the same for the re-election campaign of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

The Republican National Convention promises to be as unusual, in some respects, as was the Democrats gathering in Milwaukee and points across the nation this past week.

This stems, of course, from President Trump’s announcement in early June that he was forced to seek a new location for the party’s planned convention in Charlotte, N.C., after Gov. Roy Cooper rejected his demand the convention not be subjected to social distancing and other measures intended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Jacksonville, Fla., was selected to host President Trump’s acceptance of his party’s nomination for re-election, but the party scrapped plans for a four-night celebration in the Sunshine State after a rise in coronavirus cases there.

That has left many things in flux as the start of Monday’s convention approaches.

The latest word from the president is that while some convention business will be conducted in Charlotte, he intends to deliver his acceptance speech from the White House, presumably from the South Lawn.

That’s weather permitting, of course, but considered highly likely given that the Republican National Committee has applied for a permit for fireworks over the Washington Monument on Thursday night.

The permit is for an aerial fireworks display that would begin at 11:30 p.m. and end at approximately 11:35 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 27, shortly after Trump’s speech on the final day of the 2020 GOP convention.

Under federal law, government employees and property are generally barred from being used for political purposes, with notable exceptions. The Hatch Act, which prevents federal officials from certain forms of political activity at work, exempts both the president and the vice president from any restrictions.

A number of alternative sites in D.C. are being considered should rain or thunderstorms upset the South Lawn plan, one of them being the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, which the president leases from the federal government.

If the event is held there, any cost incurred by the government would be repaid, a party official said.

While the convention formally kicks off Monday, a few hundred delegates are already gathering in Charlotte for convention business to be addressed throughout the weekend.

One thing the delegates won’t be doing, according to Fox News, is voting on a 2020 party platform or re-adopting the 2016 platform. Because the party has chosen not to convene its platform committee, Trump’s 2016 platform will simply remain in effect.

The conclusion of the business meetings will be followed by three days of speeches and programming from mostly unannounced sites. Some will be live, party officials said, while others will be pre-taped.

Previewing themes for next week’s convention, Vice President Pence said in a series of television appearances Friday that the GOP event will be a marked contrast to the Democratic convention, which he characterized as having a “negative” tone.

“We’re going to make sure that the American people see the choice here,” Pence said.

The vice president said a significant emphasis will be placed on “law and order” in the wake of outbreaks of violence that appeared to accompany some of the peaceful protests that occurred across the nation in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis, who was killed by a White police officer.

“We don’t have to make a choice between supporting law enforcement and supporting our African American families,” Pence said during a Fox News appearance on Friday. “We have done both from the beginning of this administration. We’re going to continue to do both.”

“We’re going to talk about how we’re going to support law and order, support the men and women of law enforcement, and get ready to hear a lot about that next week,” Pence said.

Pence also promised a “great lineup” of convention speakers including a “number of voices from all across the country to talk about what this president has done.”

The schedule is as follows:

MONDAY

The 2020 Republican National Convention will begin Monday at 9 a.m., and the main feature of the opening day will be the formal nomination of President Trump and Vice President Pence as the party’s nominees for the 2020 election.

The roll call will take place at the Charlotte Convention Center, with six delegates from each state and territory, amounting to 336 delegates total, attending.

Monday’s theme is “A Land of Heroes” and speakers scheduled to appear Monday include Covington Catholic High School graduate Nicholas Sandmann, who gained notoriety after a confrontation with a Native American activist earlier this summer; anti-abortion activists Abby Johnson; and Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow was killed in the 2018 Parkland, Fla., school massacre.

Other speakers include Tanya Weinreis, who will say her Montana coffee shop and employees’ livelihoods were saved by a loan from the federal coronavirus relief Paycheck Protection Program, and Mark and Patricia McCloskey, a St. Louis, Mo., couple who waved guns at Black Lives Matter protestors gathered outside of their mansion in June.

TUESDAY

Tuesday’s theme is “A Land of Promise” and will feature a speech by First Lady Melania Trump from the Rose Garden of the White House. Other speakers scheduled to appear Tuesday include Trump’s adult children.

WEDNESDAY

The 2020 Republican National Convention will continue Wednesday and feature Vice President Pence delivering his acceptance speech from Fort McHenry National Park, Baltimore, Md.,

The theme of the third day is “Land of Opportunity.”

THURSDAY

Themed “A Land of Greatness,” Thursday is wildcard day, with viewers waiting to see where President Trump actually delivers his acceptance speech.

Other speakers who will be sprinkled throughout the final three days of the event include former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Trump’s former ambassador to the United Nations; South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem; South Carolina U.S. Senator Tim Scott; Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California.

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