WASHINGTON — Republicans on the second night of President Donald Trump’s convention Tuesday bemoaned the cultural battles, derided “cancel culture” and tried to portray Democrat Joe Biden as radical and out of touch.
“The Democrats want an America where your thoughts and opinions are censored when they do not align with their own,” said Eric Trump, the president’s eldest son. “To the voiceless, shamed, censored and canceled — my father will fight for you.”
Trump entered his convention trailing his Democratic opponent Joe Biden in the polls, as he continues to face heavy criticism for his administration’s handling of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The convention, a combination of in-person and pre-taped addresses, will also feature Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, first lady Melania Trump and other members of the president’s family.
Repeatedly, the convention featured footage of Donald Trump that will stoke criticism that the president is blurring the line between political and official business.
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“I implore you to see beyond the facade, the masks, that so many other politicians employ,” Tiffany Trump, the president’s daughter, said. “My father does not run away from challenges, even in the face of outright hatred, because fighting for America is something he will sacrifice anything for.”
Speakers also cast the media as complicit in cultural debates, echoing a criticism Donald Trump frequently launches on the campaign trail.
“I learned that what was happening to me had a name. It was called being cancelled.” said Nick Sandmann, who was involved in an incident with a Native American activist on the Washington Mall in January 2019. Video of a portion of their encounter went viral and there was a dispute over what actually occurred.
“Cancelled is what’s happening to people around this country who refuse to be silenced by the far left. Many are being fired, humiliated or even threatened. Often, the media is a willing participant. “
Sandmann has a pending lawsuit against NBCUniversal and other media based on reporting about the incident.
Florida Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez warned “the fabric of our Nation is in peril.”
“Daily, the radical Left systematically chisels away at the freedoms we cherish,” she said. “They peddle dangerous ideologies, cower to global progressives, and normalize socialism to dismantle our constitution.”
Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi ticked through a lengthy attack of the Biden family asking: “Why should there be one standard for the elite political class, and another set of rules for the rest of us?”
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds thanked Donald Trump for his help after recent storms destroyed parts of the state and left thousands without power, and accused the media of failing to give him credit.
“When the winds had finished raging and the cleanup had only begun, he showed up. You might not know, because the national media didn’t report it. But the Trump administration was here. In full force,” Reynolds said.
Republicans, acknowledging that the economy was still suffering from the coronavirus pandemic, also sought to portray Donald Trump as the right person to lead the country to recovery.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said that the virus brought “hardship and heartbreak,” referring to the pandemic that continues to rage across America in the past tense. He argued Biden’s tax plan would damage the economy.
“In economic terms, folks, this is no time for a $4 trillion tax hike,” Kudlow said.
Donald Trump, who is expected to make an appearance all four nights of the convention, addressed viewers early on in the evening in a pre-recorded video announcing a pardon for Jon Ponder, the CEO of Hope for Prisoners, a post-prison reentry program he started after being convicted three times.
“Jon’s life is a beautiful testament to the power of redemption,” Trump said, in the video. “We honor your devotion to showing returning citizens that they are not forgotten.”
Trump appeared again later in the evening in a video showing him participating in a naturalization ceremony with five new citizens at the White House.
Shortly before the RNC began, the White House announced the Ponder pardon and shared the video of Trump signing the pardon and the video of the naturalization ceremony that aired as part of the convention.
Mary Ann Mendoza, an “angel mom,” was abruptly canceled from the speaking lineup minutes before the event started after she tweeted about a Jewish plot to enslave the world.
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The Tuesday programming will come with a barrage of criticism from Democrats over the location of the speeches. The coronavirus pandemic scuttled Republican plans to hold their convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Melania Trump will speak from the White House Rose Garden, a departure from decades of custom that saw presidents work to keep purely political events from the grounds of the executive mansion.
Pompeo will speak while on a diplomatic trip to Israel, bucking political norms that have seen previous secretaries of state skip conventions. There are no recent examples of a secretary of state delivering a speech at a nominating convention.