The first night of the Republican National Convention was most likely the outlier of the four events, as it did not feature a speech from President Trump, who surprised TV networks earlier in the day by addressing the delegates in person in North Carolina. His presence is expected during night two at the empty Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C., along with speakers including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Senator Rand Paul, First Lady Melania Trump, Nicholas Sandmann, and Eric and Tiffany Trump. Follow along right here as Intelligencer staffers provide live updates on day two of the 2020 Republican National Convention.
Updates will appear in reverse-chronological order.
The president does not appear inspired by the First Lady’s speech
A rare coronavirus acknowledgement at the RNC
Not a lot of masks at hand on the White House grounds
More conflicts of interest on night two
Eric Trump also said his father brought peace to the Middle East
The middle Trump son also takes the opportunity to get a word in:
A look behind the curtain at the Mellon Auditorium
A naturalization ceremony from the Trump administration is quite the juxtaposition
Meanwhile, conflicts of interest are going by the wayside:
But is it playing to the base?
Pam Bondi decries the nepotism of the Biden family
Coming up next:
Larry Kudlow puts Covid in the rearview mirror
Trump pardons bank robber in convention video
In what has to be a first at a political convention, President Trump issued a full pardon to a convicted felon in primetime. The recipient was Jon Ponder, who was arrested in 2004 for robbing a bank in Nevada. Ponder turned his life around and eventually founded a nonprofit to help former inmates. The man who arrested him, former FBI agent Richard Beasley, is now a friend. Both men expressed their gratitude to Trump — in Ponder’s case for giving him another chance and in Beasley’s case for not doubting law enforcement. Many observers appreciated the pardon, if not the circumstances surrounding it:
The segment also produced the unintentional comedy line of the night so far, considering certain events in June.
An RNC speaker tweeted an anti-Semitic reference to QAnon on Tuesday — and is now off the docket
On Tuesday morning, hours before she was scheduled to appear at the convention Mary Ann Mendoza, a member of Trump campaign’s advisory board, tweeted out a thread referencing QAnon. As the Daily Beast’s Will Sommer explains, “her tweet on Tuesday linked to a lengthy thread from a QAnon conspiracy theorist that laid out a fevered, anti-Semitic view of the world. In its telling, the Rothschilds—a famous Jewish banking family from Germany—created a plot to terrorize non-Jewish ‘goyim,’ with purported details of their scheme that included plans to ‘make the goyim destroy each other’ and ‘rob the goyim of their landed properties.’”
After a Daily Beast report on the thread, Mendoza was removed from the Tuesday night lineup:
House Democrats open inquiry into Mike Pompeo’s speech
Pompeo has already been criticized for his decision to appear at the RNC via a recorded speech from Israel, an act that seems to violate State Department guidelines barring agency employees from speaking at, or even attending, political events. On Tuesday, the House Foreign Affairs Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee chair Joaquin Castro announced that he would open an inquiry to determine if the “highly unusual and likely unprecedented” speech may also be a violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits executive-branch employees from engaging in political activity.
An RNC speaker must account for a comment from earlier this year
On Tuesday, Vice published comments from a deleted video from June in which anti-abortion figure Abby Johnson said that the police would be “smart” to racially profile her own son. From the report:
One of the Republican National Convention’s top speakers said in a recent video that it would be “smart” for a police officer to racially profile her biracial son, because “statistically, my brown son is more likely to commit a violent offense over my white sons.”
“I recognize that I’m gonna have to have a different conversation with Jude than I do with my brown-haired little Irish, very, very pale-skinned, white sons, as they grow up … Right now, Jude is an adorable, perpetually tan-looking little brown boy,” said Johnson, whose husband blogged, in 2015, about adopting their biracial son at his birth. Johnson is white. “But one day, he’s going to grow up and he’s going to be a tall, probably sort of large, intimidating-looking-maybe brown man. And my other boys are probably gonna look like nerdy white guys.”
Johnson, who is scheduled to speak on Tuesday night, did not respond to Vice’s requests for comment, though she did post the Catholic prayer to Saint Michael on Twitter.