A recap from a highly unconventional Republican National Convention


AFP via Getty Images

U.S. President Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech for the Republican Party nomination for reelection during the final day of the Republican National Convention from the South Lawn of the White House on August 27, 2020 in Washington, DC.


Many of the sentiments expressed in the Republican National Convention stand in stark contrast to past political conventions and elections. With a highly divided, bipartisan, political atmosphere, this year saw an abundance of cross-aisle attacks. Experts have alleged that while Americans have always had differences in opinion regarding politics, this year displays one of the worst and most drastic divides. They have also explained that while America has never been entirely unified – in terms of political outlook – politicians have maintained a level of respect witnessed less in this election. For example, in 2008, John McCain, the Republican Presidential nominee, defended Democratic Presidential nominee (and future President), Barack Obama, from racist accusations at a rally. “I can’t trust Obama. I have read about him, and he is an Arab,” said a supporter. “No ma’am,” McCain responded. “He is a decent, family man, and citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that’s what this campaign is about.” This demonstration of unity and respect is seen less during this 2020 convention. 


Night One:

The Republican National Convention kicked off Monday, Aug. 24, with a speech from Charlie Kirk, the founder of Turning Point USA. Kirk opened with a warning to the American people. “This election is a decision between preserving America as we know it and eliminating everything we love,” Kirk said. He continued to defy Trump’s promise of a positive convention saying, “The American way of life is being dismantled by a group of bitter, deceitful, vengeful activists.” RNC Chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, carried this anti-democrat sentiment into her speech with a focus on challenging Joe Biden. “Unlike Joe Biden, President Trump did not choose me because I am a woman,” McDaniel said. “And ‘nice guys’ like Joe care more about other countries like Iran and China than The United States of America,” she concluded.  

After a video defending their actions, the McCloskey’s – the infamous armed couple photographed aiming rifles at protesters in St. Louis – spoke in advocacy of the incumbent president and the Second Amendment. “President Trump will defend the god-given right of every American to protect their homes and their families,” Mark McCloskey said. They also detailed their condemnation for Joe Biden and the Democrats, calling them “Marxist Liberal activists,” who are taking over and aiming to disband suburban America. “They [the Democratic Party] are not satisfied with spreading the chaos and violence into our communities. They want to abolish the suburbs altogether(1) by ending single-family home zoning. This zoning would bring crime, lawlessness, and low-quality apartments into now thriving suburban neighborhoods. President Trump smartly ended this government overreach, but Joe Biden wants to bring it back,” Patrica said. Mark continued, saying, “It seems as if the Democrats no longer view the government’s job as protecting honest citizens from criminals, but rather, protecting criminals from honest citizens.” 

The night concluded with speeches from Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina and Donald Trump Junior. Trump Junior spoke exaggeratedly about the economy and then blamed the Chinese Communist party for the outbreak of COVID-19. “Then, courtesy of the Chinese Communist party, the virus struck,” Trump Jr. said before calling Vice President Biden “Beijing Biden” and claiming that “Biden is basically the loch ness monster.” Trump Junior concluded his speech, maintaining the overarching theme of the night. “The other [Democratic] party is attacking the very principles on which our nation was founded: freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the rule of law(2),” he said.


Night Two:

Night two of the Republican National Convention featured various Americans, each praising an aspect of Trump’s platform or denouncing Biden. Anti-abortion advocate Abby Johnson applauded Trump for “overturning an Obama-Biden rule that allowed government subsidy of abortion(3),” and on account of this, proposed the choice between “radical anti-life activists and the most pro-life president we have ever had.” Much like Johnson, Jason Joyce, a Maine lobsterman, described his disgust for an Obama-Biden administration action that affected him negatively. 

Eric Trump was the next notable speaker of the night. He accused Democrats of wanting the worst for and disrespecting America. “In the view of the Radical Democrats, America is the source of the world’s problem  […] They want to disrespect our flag, burn the stars and stripes that represent patriotism and the American dream. They want to disrespect our national anthem by taking a knee,” Eric said. He stated that Democrats are against freedom of speech, using nearly identical language to his brother. The latter made the same claim the night prior. “The Democrats want an America where your thoughts and opinions are censored when they do not align with their own.” Shifting his attacks from all Democrats to Biden, Eric attempted to paint a picture of “Biden’s America,” citing all of Biden’s supposed pledges. “Biden has pledged to defund the police(4) and take away your cherished Second Amendment(5).” 

First lady Melania Trump had the last word of the night, making the most significant speech she has made since she was accused of plagiarizing Michelle Obama at the 2016 Republican National Convention. The First Lady acknowledged the coronavirus pandemic and gave her condolences to those suffering from the virus. “I want to acknowledge the fact that since March, our lives have changed drastically. The invisible enemy COVID-19 swept across our beautiful country and impacted all of us. My deepest sympathy goes out to everyone who has lost a loved one, and my prayers are with those who are ill or suffering. I know many people are anxious, and some feel helpless; you are you to know you’re not alone.” Melania also acknowledged the Nineteenth Amendment’s ratification anniversary, saying, “We recently celebrated the one-hundredth anniversary of the passage of the nineteenth Amendment. Yesterday, on the north lawn of the white house, we unveiled an exhibit dedicated to women’s suffrage.” Melania spoke of her work with children and her trip to Ghana in the context of slavery. After illustrating her story of living out her own American Dream, Melania closed out her speech and the night, attempting to humanize her husband and calling for his re-election. “Total honesty is what we as citizens deserve from our president. Whether you like it or not, you always know what [Donald] is thinking, and that is because he is an authentic person who loves this country and its people […] We need my husband’s leadership now more than ever in order to bring us back, once again, to the greatest economy and the strongest country ever known,” she concluded.

First Lady, Melania Trump, makes her speech at night two of the 2020 Republican National Convention. (Alex Wong)



Night Three:  

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem started the third night of the Republican National Convention. Noem gave her opinion on what a Democratic victory in the upcoming election would look like and warned of the “radical left,” Democratic party. “Democrat-run cities across this country are being overrun by violent mobs. The violence is rampant. There is looting, chaos, destruction, and murder,” she said. Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn sustained this attitude saying, “Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and their radical allies try to destroy these heroes because if there are no heroes to inspire us, the government can control us. They close our churches but keep the liquor stores and abortion clinics open. They say we can’t gather in community groups but encourage protests, riots, and looting in the streets(6). If the Democrats had their way, they would keep you locked in your house until you become dependent on the government for everything. That sounds a lot like Communist China to me.” In tone with speech-givers from nights former, the two southerners neglected to focus on the deep-rooted racial injustices faced by black Americans. They did not discuss the reasoning behind the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement; instead, they directed their attention to the protesters, their anger, and their confrontations with armed forces all across America. They ignored the shooting of Jacob Blake, which occurred days earlier. 

Karen Pence delivered her speech primarily about her experience with military veterans and focused on her work battling PTSD. “As the Second Lady, I’ve also been able to bring awareness to a form of therapy for our heroic veterans suffering from PTSD. Art therapy facilitated by a professional art therapist is especially effective with post-traumatic stress disorder.” She embraced a change of pace, avoiding attacks on the Democratic party, a pace kept up by Madison Cawthron. Cawthorn voiced his support for bipartisan compromise. “To liberals, I say let’s have a conversation. Be a true liberal, listen to other ideas, and let the best ones prevail. And to conservatives, I say let’s define what we support and win the argument in areas like health care on the environment.” He spoke on his views of the power held by young Americans and their overlooked potential. “If you don’t think young people can change the world, then you just don’t know American history. George Washington was twenty-one when he received his first military commission, Abe Lincoln, twenty-two(7) when he first ran for office. And my personal favorite, James Madison, was just twenty-five years old when he signed the Declaration of Independence(8).” 

Mike Pence spoke next, failing to upkeep the peaceful tone set by his spouse. Pence re-introduced the theme of attacking Biden and the Democratic party, criticizing Biden for not denouncing the violence and turmoil across America. “Last week, Joe Biden didn’t say one word about the violence and chaos engulfing cities across this country. So let me be clear: The violence must stop(9).” He also included misleadingly quoted Joe Biden – out of context – about his stance on defunding the police. Pence claimed, “When asked whether [Biden] would support cutting funding to law enforcement, he replied, ‘Yes, absolutely(10). The quote was in response to reporter Ady Barkan, who asks whether some government funding should be reallocated to different government funding recipients. Before turning his attention to President Trump, Pence took one more jab at Biden, insinuating that “Joe Biden is for open borders(11).” Pence then spent the latter half of his speech, giving his rationale for supporting Trump and commenting on Trump’s response to COVID-19. “The President took unprecedented action and suspended all travel from China.” The Vice President ended his speech, and night three, saying, “With God’s help, we will make America great again-again thank you God bless you and God bless the United States.” 


Night four:

The final night of the Republican National Convention featured speeches from Ivanka Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Night four was also the night our incumbent president, Donald Trump, spoke and accepted his nomination. “I profoundly accept this nomination for president of the United States,” he began. Trump then gave his condolences to those affected by hurricane Laura and specified his appreciation for his friends and family. He listed many promises he vows to keep if reelected and – in suit with the convention’s overarching theme – mentioned Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, 43 times. He addressed Biden in an insolent and insulting manner, attempting to portray Biden as weak. Trump also consumed a considerable portion of his time warning of a Biden presidency. “Joe Biden is not a savior of America’s soul. He is the destroyer of America’s jobs. And if given a chance he will be the destroyer of American greatness […] Joe Biden’s agenda is made in China, my agenda is made in the USA(12).” said Trump. He added his opinion on the outcome of a Democratic victory, alluding to speakers’ points in the previous three nights. “If the left gains power, they will demolish the suburbs confiscate your guns and appoint justices who will wipe away your Second Amendment and other constitutional freedoms.” The president also faulted the Democratic party for the outbreak of violence in cities across the country, calling the Black Lives Matter protesters “anarchists” and “criminals” while declaring that “Joe Biden and his supporters remain completely silent about the rioters and criminals spreading mayhem in Democrat-run cities(13).” 

Trump later spoke on the current COVID-19 pandemic. He addressed the outbreak in a positive fashion concentrating on success stories. “We developed, from scratch, the largest and most advanced testing system anywhere in the world. America has tested more than every country in Europe put together and more than every nation in the Western Hemisphere combined(14).” He explained that the USA “developed a wide array of effective treatments, including a powerful antibody treatment known as convalescent plasma(15), you saw that on Sunday night when we announced it.” Transitioning to Veterans Affairs, Trump covered his approval ratings with veterans – in accordance with all the great things he has done for them. “We also passed VA Accountability and VA Choice(16). Our great veterans were taking care of our veterans. Ninety-one percent approval rating this month was given by our veterans first time anything like that’s ever happened.” Speaking further to his militant supporters, Trump pledged to continue to support the right to bear arms and warned of the Amendment’s fate under a Democratic majority. “And if we [the Trump-Pence Republican party]  don’t win, your Second Amendment does not have a chance.” 

As Trump stood on the podium, the country which he serves sat in a state of chaos, suffering, and despair; and they listened to their incumbent president as he said, “We will make America safer, we will make America stronger, we will make America prouder, and we will make America greater than ever before.” 


Fact Check:

Experts have proven that several statements made throughout this Republican National Convention were exaggerations and or lies. To report objectively, this article included direct quotes with little to no biased commentary; however, in an effort to battle the spread of inaccurate information, a few of the claims proven to be false are included below. Opinionated inaccuracies will not be the focus.

(1)Patrica McCloskey stated that the Democratic party “wants to abolish the suburbs altogether.” According to Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden, this is an exaggeration of the truth. On Biden’s election website, he addresses his plan for investing in our communities through housing, where he covers his plans and goals for the American suburbs. “And, Biden will ensure that urban, suburban, and rural areas all benefit from the credit. Biden will also invest in the development and rehabilitation of single-family homes across distressed urban, suburban, and rural neighborhoods through the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act.” 

(2)Donald Trump Jr. declared, “The other [Democratic]  party is attacking the very principles on which our nation was founded: freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the rule of law.” While this may be solely an opinionated remark, the Democratic party has in no way mounted an attack upon these core American ideals. In terms of Biden specifically, his website features his agendas for different religious groups in America, such as the Catholic community, the Jewish community, and the Muslim-American community. He does not mention any plan to infringe upon Americans’ freedom of religion.

(3)Abby Johnson, an anti-abortion activist, said that Trump “overturned an Obama-Biden rule that allowed government subsidy of abortion.” This is a deceiving statement. In 2017, Trump signed a bill providing states with the power to deny funding for Planned Parenthood. This was in opposition to an Obama policy that disallowed states to refuse to fund clinics that perform abortions. Regardless, because of the Hyde Amendment, which was passed in 1976, federal funding is restricted from being allocated to abortions, with the exceptions of incest, rape, or saving a woman’s life.

(4)Eric Trump, the president’s second-born son, claimed that “Biden has pledged to defund the police.” In his plan for strengthening America’s commitment to justice, Biden vowed to “reinvigorate the COPS program with a $300 million investment.” In this proposal, he also laid out strategies for improving and addressing “circumstances of systemic police misconduct” to “restore trust between police and communities. Further, on Jun. 8, Biden explained in an interview that he does not support defunding the police. “No, I don’t support defunding the police. […] I support conditioning federal aid to police based on whether or not they meet certain basic standards of decency and honorableness. And, in fact, are able to demonstrate they can protect the community and everybody in the community,” Biden said.

(5) Eric also said that Joe Biden pledged to “take away your cherished Second Amendment.” This statement is a wildly distorted analysis of the truth. In Biden’s plan to end our gun epidemic, Biden declares, “It’s within our grasp to end our gun violence epidemic and respect the Second Amendment, which is limited. […] (And) as president, Biden will pursue constitutional, common-sense gun safety policies.” He voices his advocacy for gun control and regulation while in no way threatening to encroach upon the second Amendment. For example, Biden intends to require background checks for all gun sales, regulate the possession of existing assault weapons under the National Firearms Act, and buy back the assault weapons and high-capacity magazines already in our communities.

(6) Marsha Blackburn said, “They [Democrats] say we can’t gather in community groups, but encourage protest, riots, and looting in the streets.” The Democratic party has not encouraged violent protests, and leaders like Joe Biden have condemned them. In June, Biden said, “There is no place for violence. No place for looting or destroying property or burning churches, or destroying businesses.” 

(7) “Abe Lincoln was twenty-two when he first ran for office,” said Madison Cawthron. In reality, Lincoln was twenty-three years old when he ran for political office in Illinois.

(8) Cawthorn also claimed that “James Madison was just twenty-five years old when he signed the Declaration of Independence.” Madison, one of our founding fathers and America’s fourth president, was twenty-five years old when the Declaration of Independence was signed. He, however, did not sign it.

(9) In his speech, Pence said, “Joe Biden didn’t say one word about the violence and chaos engulfing cities across this country. So let me be clear: The violence must stop.” Pence neglected to consider or regard Biden’s statement hours before the speech. He asserted, “Protesting brutality is a right and absolutely necessary. But burning down communities is not protest. It’s needless violence, violence that endangers lives, that is wrong.”

(10) Pence claimed, “When asked whether [Biden] would support cutting funding to law enforcement, he replied, ‘Yes, absolutely. The quote, which Pence references out of context, was in response to reporter Ady Barkan, who asks whether some government funding should be reallocated to different government funding recipients. Not if Biden plans on defunding the police.

(11) Pence commented on Joe Biden’s immigration policy, stating, “Joe Biden is for open borders.” In Biden’s plan for immigration, he proposes more lenient policies than Trump, but in no way, affirms or implies that he favors “open borders.” Instead, he explains how as president, Biden will “forcefully pursue policies that safeguard our security, provide a fair and just system that helps to grow and enhance our economy, and secure our cherished values.”

(12) “Joe Biden’s agenda is made in china; my agenda is made in the USA.” Joe Biden has not said or alluded to this agenda. On his website, Biden explains his agenda to ensure the future is “made in all of America” by all of America’s workers. Biden says that he will “mobilize the talent, grit, and innovation of the American people and the full power of the federal government to bolster American industrial and technological strength and ensure the future is ‘made in all of America’  by all of America’s workers.”

(13)Similar to his Vice President, Trump said, “Joe Biden and his supporters remain completely silent about the rioters, and criminals spreading mayhem in Democrat-run cities.” Trump neglected to consider or regard Biden’s statement in a video released Aug. 27, in which Biden says, “Protesting brutality is a right and absolutely necessary. But burning down communities is not protest. It is needless violence, violence that endangers lives, that is wrong.” 

(14) “America has tested more than every country in Europe put together and more than every nation in the western hemisphere combined,” states Trump. While America has conducted more COVID-19 tests than European countries, it also has a far greater population. Experts have concluded that a more reasonable metric would be the number per million tested. 

(15) “We developed a wide array of effective treatments including a powerful antibody treatment known as convalescent plasma you saw that on Sunday night when we announced it,” Trump said. The treatments being used are older treatments dating back to the 20th century. According to a John Hopkins study, the convalescent plasma treatment Trump referenced has been around since the 1920s and has been used as a last resort treatment for nearly 100 years. 

(16) “We also passed VA Accountability and VA Choice17 our great veterans were taking care of our veterans.” Trump did not pass the VA Choice bill. Instead, the VA Choice bill was a bipartisan proposition led by Senators Bernie Sanders and John McCain. It was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2014.