Highlights from the 2020 Republican National Convention

By Jada Hikary, Staff Writer

On August 24th, 2020, the first night of the Republican National Convention premiered, kickstarting the four-day convention featuring many key speakers, all vouching for President Donald J. Trump.

All four nights contained speeches focusing on racial commentary, the Coronavirus, and the Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden. Early into the first night, Congressman Matt Gaetz made his thoughts on the Democrats clear, referring to them as “woketopians.” This idea of partisanship is what most speeches focused on, especially in Kimberly Guilfoyle’s discourse.

The attorney and former prosecutor stated that “Biden, Harris and the rest of the socialists will fundamentally change this nation.” The referencing of Democrats as socialists was a common theme throughout the week.

After rumors of her being Trump’s new V.P. pick, Nikki Haley, former U.N. ambassador, took a dignified stance on the racial tension currently shaking the nation.

“America is not a racist country,” she confidently declared.

Haley’s statement was not the only one of its kind during the RNC. A prevalent strategy to attract more Black voters from the convention was to try to rewrite the racist narrative of the president. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina ended night one with this strategy in mind by attacking Biden’s thoughts on race.

“Joe Biden said if a Black man didn’t vote for him, he wasn’t truly Black,” Scott stated. “Joe Biden said Black people are a monolithic community. Joe Biden said poor kids could be just as smart as white kids. And, while his words are one thing, his actions take it to a whole new level.”
President Trump’s unique use of the White House as the convention’s setting characterized the RNC’s second night. In response, many people questioned whether Trump violated the Hatch Act, a law prohibiting the use of federal posts for political purposes. He led not only a naturalization process but also the pardoning of a former bank robber. 

After Jon Ponder was released from prison in 2009, he started a nonprofit providing post-jail support for fellow convicts in 2010. His pardonization process seemed to follow suit with the night’s theme, “Land of Opportunity.”

First Lady Melania Trump led the tonal shift from the gloomy talk of a hypothetical Biden-Harris apocalyptic world to an optimistic future with Trump.

“If you tell [Trump] it cannot be done, he just works harder,” said Mrs. Trump. Unlike other key speakers, the First Lady spoke on a personal level to Americans. “To mothers and parents everywhere, you are warriors; you have a president that will not stop fighting for you and your families.”

The First Lady was not the only Trump family member to speak up during the RNC. Throughout the convention, various Trump family members set foot on stage, specifically Eric and Tiffany Trump on night two. Both sought to describe their father as a caring, dedicated leader.

“My father has made me believe that America can truly be great again,” Tiffany Trump said. Tiffany and Eric Trump’s speeches focused on their father’s character, unlike Donald Trump Jr.’s speech from the previous night, which sought to attack Democrats.

Night two of the convention marked a historical moment when Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, spoke from the newly-moved American Embassy in Jerusalem. Pompeo extensively supported President Trump, prompting yet another possible violation of the Hatch Act, which opened an investigation. 

Meanwhile, vice president Mike Pence maintained the strategy of attacking Biden in his speech on Wednesday night, the third day of the convention.

From Fort McHenry, Pence said, “Joe Biden would set America on a path of socialism and decline.”

Second Lady Karen Pence was also featured on night three. Similar to the First Lady, she spoke from the heart, sharing various military family stories, including some of her own.

“One of my key initiatives is to elevate and encourage military spouses,” Mrs. Pence stated. “These men and women, like our daughter Charlotte and our daughter-in-law Sarah, are the homefront heroes.”

Night four of the convention was built around President Trump’s speech, given from nowhere else but the White House. Although he had appeared several times throughout the week, Thursday was his night to address the audience officially.

“At no time before have voters faced a clearer choice between two parties,” he said. The president’s speech lasted over an hour as he covered a multitude of topics, including his plans for the next four years.

“In the new term as President, we will again build the greatest economy in history, quickly return to full employment, soaring incomes, and record prosperity,” Trump promised. He also expressed opinions concerning his opposing candidate’s agenda, although many Democrats have questioned this interpretation.

“Your vote will decide whether we protect law-abiding Americans, or whether we give free rein to violent anarchists and agitators and criminals who threaten our citizens,” Trump said. Although Joe Biden has publicly advocated against law enforcement reform, this topic remained a constant in many of the convention’s speeches.

The convention ended with President Trump waving goodbye to his crowd alongside Melania Trump. The unmasked crowd of around 1,500 was pleased with President Trump’s speech as he walked away under the momentous firework display stating, “TRUMP 2020.”