Republicans embarked on their national convention promising an optimistic view of the country’s prospects and convincing arguments as to why Donald Trump deserves four more years in the White House.
Parts of the program seemed to keep that optimistic promise, such as when, on the first night, Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only black Republican in the Senate, argued that the United States was not in the throes of a crisis. bitterness and bigotry.
“America is not a racist country,” reassured former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, once the country’s first Native American female governor, in a separate speech.
But as Tuesday’s second night approached, the party seemed increasingly unable to resist the lure of more disturbing themes, the kind that have animated Trump’s political base since he used his inaugural address. of 2017 to warn of an emerging “American carnage”.
Trump has once again set out to present himself as the strongman savior of a country plagued by insecurity, grudge and health crisis – in the hope of somehow avoiding another blame for what critics say have been costly failures of leadership.
The convention was scheduled to continue on Tuesday with an anchor speech by First Lady Melania Trump.
“I can tell you that every word of this speech comes from her,” Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s chief of staff, told reporters. Four years ago in Cleveland, to huge controversy, Melania Trump’s speech turned out in part to be remarkably similar to Michelle Obama’s remarks.
This year, also controversial, the first lady was scheduled to speak from the White House, in violation of both tradition and federal law dictating a wedge between political activities and the conduct of elections. Images of Trump in the White House were also released on Monday.
Further controversy arose as reporter Yashar Ali said that Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former friend and advisor to Melania Trump, “taped the first lady” by making “harsh comments about Ivanka Trump, the president’s eldest daughter and senior advisor ”. Wolkoff has a book coming out in September.
Still deviating from the norms separating politics and government, Mike Pompeo was to become the first sitting secretary of state to speak at a political convention.
Other speakers scheduled for Tuesday included Eric and Tiffany Trump, the president’s children; Kentucky Senator Rand Paul; Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds; and Nicholas Sandmann, a teenager who successfully sued media organizations after interacting with a Native American activist.
It followed a Monday night appearance by a couple who have also featured prominently in Culture Wars, Mark and Patricia McCloskey of St Louis, Missouri. They face felony charges for wielding guns against anti-racist protesters earlier this summer.
“Make no mistake, no matter where you live,” said Patricia McCloskey, “your family will not be safe in the America of radical Democrats. What you have seen happen to us might as well happen to any of you watching from quiet parts of our country.
The most spirited speakers on the first night of the convention, including Donald Trump Jr, the president’s eldest son, warned of the supposedly destructive intentions of Democrats around the world; the threats to “Western civilization” that only Trump could repel; the pernicious nature of “canceling culture”; and the danger of “quiet neighborhoods” in the face of “lawlessness and chaos in our streets”.
“What you have heard is a parade of dark and fear-mongering divisions aimed at distracting from the fact that Donald Trump has no assertive arguments to make to the American people about why he should be re-elected, ”said Kate Bedingfield, deputy campaign manager. of the Joe Biden campaign.
But after a virtual Democratic national convention that praised its relatable nature in a connected era, political analysts on both sides of the aisle credited Republicans for intertwining traditional centerpieces – including call-voting official nominal to name Trump – with unexpected moments.
Some speakers seemed about to get carried away by zeal.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” shouted Kimberly Guilfoyle, one of Trump Jr.’s top fundraisers and girlfriend, in a clip happily shot online. “Leaders and fighters for freedom and liberty and the American dream: the best. Is still. Come! “
In his own unusually forceful speech, Trump Jr. warned that the left was trying to “overturn the founders.”
“Joe Biden is basically the Loch Ness Swamp Monster,” Trump Jr said of the Democratic nominee and Washington DC, a supposed “swamp” of iniquity and corruption his father has promised to empty.
“For half a century, he has been hiding there. He lifts his head from time to time to run for president.
One of Trump’s greatest political responsibilities, disapproval of his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, has been treated as an asset, with a clincher in which frontline healthcare workers and responders emergency have credited Trump with saving lives.