The brazen contradictions of the RNC

Kayleigh McEnany.
(Image credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

There's whiplash — and then there's the experience of watching the RNC on night three as speakers careen from denouncing Democratic nominee Joe Biden as a closet leftist who will oversee the intentional dismantling of everything righteous and good about America to fulsome defenses of progressive policies and ideals, sometimes from the same speaker and in the space of a few seconds.

On Tuesday night, women's reproductive rights were denied and denounced by an activist who believes in "household voting" (each household receiving one vote), with final voting decisions being made by the household's husband and father. But on Wednesday, the RNC portrayed Republicans as champions of the Women's Suffrage Movement and associated itself with Susan B. Anthony and other heroes of the fight for women's rights.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany delivered a moving speech about her decision to undergo a preventative mastectomy to avoid breast cancer. Along the way, she commended Donald Trump for his emotional support, and for supporting Americans with pre-existing conditions — despite the fact that the Trump administration is doing its best in court at this very moment to do away with the Affordable Care Act's protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

And on it went. Madison Cawthorn, a wheelchair-bound North Carolina congressional candidate, claimed the mantle of Martin Luther King, Jr. while attacking progressives for supposedly wanting to tear down the country. Jack Brewer, a former football player currently facing federal charges for insider trading who's also a member of the organization Black Voices for Trump, broke from the convention's relentless message about Biden's weakness on crime and policing to accuse the Democratic nominee of contributing to the plague of mass incarceration.

That was night three of the RNC — one political jujitsu move after another, with anything and everything thrown up on TV screens in the hope that some of it just might stick and give the president a boost. The shape-shifting was so cynical and so brazen that it's hard to imagine it could work. But then again, Trump has surprised us before.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Damon Linker

Damon Linker is a senior correspondent at He is also a former contributing editor at The New Republic and the author of The Theocons and The Religious Test.