Earlier this month, senior Trump campaign officials said the Republican National Convention would feature “nightly surprises.” The GOP delivered even before the convention began on Monday by waiting until the last minute to reveal the speaker lineup. The RNC has been pared down considerably and will be somewhat virtual, but it will still feature more than 70 speakers and – ditching tradition – nightly appearances from President Trump.
The president generated a good deal of drama over the past few months when he moved the convention to Jacksonville, Florida, in attempt to get around pandemic restrictions in the original host city of Charlotte, North Carolina. But when COVID-19 cases shot up in Florida, events in Jacksonville were called off, and some party business was moved back to Charlotte.
However, it appears that Trump never totally abandoned his dreams of a massive, mask-free crowd. A CNN report shed some light on why convention details were still hard to come by as of Friday:
President Donald Trump, a television producer at heart, is hoping for a convention next week that looks vastly different from the all-digital event Democrats have staged over the past days — including an emphasis on live programming and at least some type of audience who can respond to the multiple appearances he is planning. Calling aides at all hours from Air Force One or the White House residence, Trump has conveyed last-minute ideas on venues or gimmicks and demanded progress reports on the speakers he wants during his nominating extravaganza, which he hopes will provide a boost to his poll numbers.
… Inside the White House, Trump’s senior adviser, Jared Kushner, has taken a lead role in taking his father-in-law’s ideas and demands and attempting to make them reality. He’s been joined in those efforts by senior adviser Hope Hicks and members of the campaign team, including GOP party chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.
Here’s what we know about the event.
Where is the convention being held?
Speeches will largely take place from locations around D.C. Trump will deliver his big speech from the White House, while most of the other speakers will perform live onstage, with an audience, at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium — though as the New York Times notes, “current regulations in Washington prohibit gatherings of more than 50 people; Republican aides say they have hired ‘COVID experts’ to determine how many onlookers can enter the auditorium and what audience participation could look like.”
Roughly 300 Republican delegates gathered in person in Charlotte, North Carolina to conduct party business. There was no platform fight at the convention, as Republicans have no 2020 platform.
How can I watch it?
The prime-time events — scheduled for 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. — will stream on Amazon Prime Video, Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, and YouTube. Like the DNC, the major TV networks will air portions of the prime-time lineup, and there will be fuller coverage an analysis on cable-news networks. The RNC has directions for tuning in on various devices here.
Thursday, August 27 Lineup
Theme: “Land of Greatness”
Keynote Speaker: President Trump will deliver his acceptance speech from the White House lawn.
Other Speakers: Ben Carson, Senator Mitch McConnell, Senator Tom Cotton, Representative Kevin McCarthy, Representative Jeff Van Drew, Ivanka Trump, Ja’Ron Smith, Ann Dorn, Debbie Flood, Rudy Giuliani, Franklin Graham, Alice Johnson, Wade Mayfield, Carl and Marsha Mueller, and Dana White
CNN reports: “The fireworks display Trump ordered up for the National Mall following his acceptance speech is still in flux as of [last] Thursday with planners await permitting approval by the National Park Service.”
This post has been updated throughout.