Republican National Convention
August 4, 2020

In what sounds like a challenge lifted from an episode of The Apprentice, President Trump's aides are scrambling under limited time to piece together four days worth of Republican National Convention programing.

Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, senior adviser Hope Hicks, and chief speechwriter Stephen Miller are among the White House officials involved in the convention planning. One of their major tasks is to scout the perfect location where Trump can deliver his renomination speech, and they only have a few weeks to get everything finished, as the convention is set to start on Aug. 24, with Trump giving his address three days later.

While the parties and programs that were to be held in Jacksonville, Florida, have been canceled, Trump has said he will go to Charlotte, North Carolina, to thank delegates who will be there for official party business. When it comes to his renomination speech, six aides involved with the efforts told The New York Times they are thinking big, with the Liberty Bell, Mount Rushmore, and a Gettysburg battlefield just some of the places where Trump might deliver the address.

Gettysburg was suggested because Trump likes to compare himself to Abraham Lincoln, aides said, and one White House official told the Times the president is also agreeable to the idea of giving multiple speeches in different historical locations. There was also talk of first lady Melania Trump speaking from Seneca Falls, New York, where the first women's rights convention in the United States was held in 1848, with advisers thinking this would help Trump's sinking numbers with women. This idea was scrapped when they realized there wasn't enough time to make it happen, the Times reports. Catherine Garcia

July 29, 2020

Will he or won't he?

President Trump on Monday told Raleigh, North Carolina, NBC affiliate WRAL that he was committed to accepting the Republican presidential nomination in the Tar Heel state in August, but added he wasn't sure where exactly it would be. Then, on Wednesday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway appeared to nix the idea it would take place in Charlotte, the site of the Republican National Convention. Conway said it was "highly doubtful" the president would appear in the city because North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) made it "unattainable" with his insistence on maintaining coronavirus restrictions for the event, which led Trump to move recently called-off celebratory events to Jacksonville, Florida.

The situation grew even more confusing on Wednesday afternoon, when Vice President Mike Pence reportedly said his boss would be making the speech in Charlotte after all. Pence's word on the subject may indeed be final, but the situation has changed so frequently over the last few months, it's probably safer to wait and see. Tim O'Donnell

July 23, 2020

President Trump announced on Thursday evening that he has canceled the Jacksonville, Florida, portion of the Republican National Convention because "the timing for this is not right" and he has to "protect the American people."

The convention, slated for late August, was originally going to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina. After GOP officials and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) could not agree on social distancing measures, it was decided that official party business would still take place in Charlotte, but the parties and programs were moved to Jacksonville.

Trump told reporters that on Thursday afternoon, he "looked at my team and I said the timing for this event is not right, just not right with what's happened recently." The formal nominating process will still proceed in Charlotte, Trump said, and he will give some sort of acceptance speech.

Florida is seeing a surge in coronavirus cases, and earlier this week, Duval County Sheriff Mike Williams shared with Politico his concerns over being able to provide adequate security for the event, which was still not fully planned. One GOP official told The Washington Post Trump's advisers told him that if he canceled the Florida part of the convention and showed he took the coronavirus seriously, it could help his sinking poll numbers. Catherine Garcia

July 21, 2020

With the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida, a little over a month away, Duval County Sheriff Mike Williams says a lot of things still need to come together in order for him to provide adequate security for the event.

Williams, a Republican, told Politico it's still not clear what events will be held and where, and they are "not close to having some kind of plan that we can work with that makes me comfortable that we're going to keep that event and the community safe. It's not my event to plan, but I can just tell you that what has been proposed in my opinion is not achievable right now ... from a law enforcement standpoint, from a security standpoint."

Originally, the Republican National Convention was going to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, but it was moved to Jacksonville after Gov. Roy Cooper (D) and the GOP could not agree on coronavirus mitigation measures. It will now take place Aug. 24-27, with President Trump expected to be nominated in person.

As Williams waits for the RNC schedule, he has asked for 2,000 officers from across the state to work in Jacksonville during the event, but so far, only about 500 have committed, Politico reports. Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood is sending two dozen officers, but told Politico he does not think the convention should be held amid the pandemic. It takes months to plan a convention, and "that's without COVID-19," he said. "There's going to be tons of issues. This has something that has never ever happened before. And for some reason common sense is being thrown out the window."

Republican National Committee spokeswoman Mandi Merritt said in a statement that "Jacksonville has accommodated upwards of 70,000 people for football games and other events, and we are confident in state, local, and federal officials to be able to ensure a safe event for our attendees." Read more at Politico. Catherine Garcia

July 22, 2016

Donald Trump's lengthy nomination acceptance speech was the talk of Twitter on Thursday evening, and it was Democrat Bernie Sanders who scored the most popular tweeted response. "Trump: 'I alone can fix this,'" he wrote, adding, "Is this guy running for president or dictator?"

Sanders tweeted throughout Trump's remarks, criticizing the GOP nominee on climate change, taxes, the Constitution, trade policy, and more.

Trump, however, made a small attempt at wooing Sanders supporters in his remarks. "I have seen first-hand how the system is rigged against our citizens, just like it was rigged against Bernie Sanders — he never had a chance," he said. "But his supporters will join our movement, because we will fix his biggest issue: trade deals that strip our country of its jobs and strip the wealth of country." Bonnie Kristian

July 22, 2016

After Donald Trump finished his historically long acceptance speech at Thursday night's Republican National Convention, the 1970 hit "All Right Now" by the British band Free played to accompany the confetti and balloons. The next song? "You Can't Always Get What You Want." Seriously.

Nor was it the Rolling Stones' relatively upbeat single version — it was the album version, with the choral introduction by the London Bach Choir.

Choosing a 1969 ballad to rev up a Republican convention is an odd enough choice, but one whose chorus is an admonition that sometimes you can't get the thing you want is doubly strange. Yes, "you get what you need," The Stones conclude, but come on, that could be Hillary Clinton's slogan — the Trump Republicans want Donald Trump. Was this a middle finger to Ted Cruz and other #NeverTrump Republicans? Was Trump suggesting that despite his big promises, people should lower their expectations? Was Trump trying to clear the hall so he could fly back home to New York?

The song that followed Ivanka Trump's glowing and happy warm-up speech for her father was appropriate enough, though George Harrison's estate was not pleased:

Continuing the theme of British music used against the artists' wishes, Trump made his first entrance to Queen's "We Are the Champions." Rudy Giuliani walked off the stage to Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl" — perhaps a nod to Trump's fondling kiss of in-drag Giuliani in 2000. But If you watched the cable networks, you might have missed some of the other musical choices made at Trump's convention.

The house band, led by G.E. Smith, was excellent, but delegates were probably tired of "Sweet Caroline" after the fourth rendition. They played "My Sharona," from The Knack, "You Shook Me All Night Long" by AC/DC, multiple light-jazz versions of The Beatles' "Eight Days a Week," The Turtles' "Happy Together," an upbeat country version of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire," and David Bowie's cocaine-fueled "Station to Station." Maybe the strangest sight, however, was the Republican delegates dancing unironically to The Clash's "Rock the Casbah."

Still, there was one genuinely new song, "Make America Great Again," and you can watch Fox News' Shep Smith celebrate its debut (and sing along in harmony with former MVT host Kennedy) in the video below.

So at least the heart of rock 'n' roll is still beating in Cleveland.

July 22, 2016

Never mind the message of making America "one again" — conservatives were drastically split following Donald Trump's acceptance of the Republican nomination Thursday night. On CNN, things ignited when Ana Navarro stood up to Trump supporter Jeffrey Lord and former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.

"I'm embarrassed of my party. He sounded like a fearmonger. This is not Republicanism," Navarro said.

"Wow. Wow," Lord said over her, shaking his head.

"If you think anything that man said tonight is going to solve this crisis, you heard a different speech," she continued, raising her voice even more.

The argument continued:

Unity, sadly, still seems a long way off. Jeva Lange

July 22, 2016

Donald Trump's nomination acceptance speech was the longest of any candidate since 1972, but bigger isn't necessarily better in this case. In fact, the speech was panned by many conservatives:

Not everyone had bad things to say about the speech, though. Jeva Lange

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