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Convention highlights: Trump renominated, supporters warn of dark days if Biden wins

Trump gave shoutout to Utahns, in upbeat moment amid repeated warnings against a “socialist left” take over under a Biden-Harris administration.

SHARE Convention highlights: Trump renominated, supporters warn of dark days if Biden wins

President Donald Trump speaks during the first day of the Republican National Convention Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C.

Travis Dove via the Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — Republican delegates took care of the main work of its convention early Monday.

As expected, they unanimously renominated incumbent President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for November’s presidential election among its first items of business at the 2020 Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“Our party is unified, our supporters are energized, and we go forward confident in our cause of re-electing President Trump and Vice President Pence 70 days from now,” party Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement.

Trump gave a surprise address to convention-goers before the roll-call vote was complete, criticizing Democrats for doing “really bad things” during the 2016 election and that “this time they’re trying to do it with the whole post office scam,” referring to unsubstantiated concerns Trump has expressed about the integrity of mail-in balloting.

“It’s not going to be possible to tabulate, in my opinion,” the president said of millions of ballots that will be sent to local elections officials through the U.S. Postal Service.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testified Monday to the House Oversight Committee that the president’s ongoing attacks on the reliability of mail-in-voting was “not helpful,” The Associated Press reported.

The president said his administration’s response to the coronavirus saved “millions and millions of lives.” More than 177,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus, 22% of the virus’ global death toll, while the U.S. population makes up less than 5% of the world’s population, according to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus tally and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Trump lauded Pence and White House coronavirus task force’s efforts as “incredible.”

“I couldn’t be more proud to be vice president to a president who stand’s without apology for the sanctity of human life,” Pence said during his own speech Monday morning, supporting Trump’s pro-life stance.

The vice president spoke about the Republican agenda, saying it included “lower taxes, free market economics, secure borders, right-to-life” and standing “with the men and women who serve on the thin blue line of law enforcement.

While the dayside portion of the convention followed the traditional pattern of in-person speeches by each state’s delegation, tonight’s segment was entirely scripted and off-site, following the formula Democrats used in their all-virtual convention last week.


  • Multiple speakers suggested that a Biden-Harris presidency will lead to more cancel culture and freedom of expression will be lost. Speakers promoted the idea of the American Dream, saying the country is a land of opportunity. 
  • Law and order were present throughout the night. Speakers talked about how protesters have made people worried and feeling unsafe. Trump was touted as a “law and order” president throughout the night.
  • The speakers portrayed Trump as a man of empathy. Several of the speakers presented a dark America that could only find light through Trump.
  • A number of Black leaders spoke in favor of President Trump, including Vernon George (a Democratic state representative from Georgia ), retired professional athlete Hershel Walker, Kim Klacik (a Black woman running for Congress in Maryland as a Republican) and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, who capped off the night on an hopeful note.
  • Utah got a quick shout out from Trump, who said “Say hello to the folks in Utah because they’re great people.” 
  • Speakers Nikki Haley, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Donald Trump Jr and Scott are seen as potential future political stars of the Republican Party.

Quotes of the night:

  • “We will learn from our past so we don’t repeat any mistakes.” — Donald Trump Jr.
  • “We kneel in prayer and we stand for our flag.” — Kimberly Guilfoyle, a former Fox personality, Trump campaign adviser and Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend
  • “This president has a record of strength and success, the former vice president has a record of weakness and failure.” — Nikki Haley, former South Carolina governor and ambassador to the United Nations
  • “Trump was elected to protect our families from the vengeful mob that seeks to destroy our way of life.” — Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point, USA
  • America is “a country that values our remarkable journey, the complexities of our past, but clearly communicates to the next generation that we have to be grateful, not angry, that we live in the United States.” — Kirk
  • “When it is over, we held the hill.” — Sean Parnell, former Army officer
  • “The party of Harry Truman became the party of hedge fund mangers, Hollywood celebrities, tech moguls, and university professors, all bloated with contempt for middle America.” — Parnell
  • “It doesn’t matter what you look like, who you love, how you worship, your gender or your job. If you are a traditional Democrat who has become disillusioned with how radical your party has become, then stand with us! You are most welcome.” — Parnelll
  • “I truly believe the safety of our kids depends on whether this man is reelected.” — Andrew Pollack, father of Meadow Pollach, a Parkland mass shooting victim
  • “The truth is, our nation’s arc always bends back towards fairness. We are not fully where we want to be, but I thank God almighty, we are not where we used to be! We are always striving to be better.” — South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott
  • “I don’t care if it’s a public, private, charter, virtual or a homeschool: When a parent has a choice, their kid has a better chance.” — Scott

Josh Holt thanks Trump for his rescue; Trump gives Utah a shoutout

President Donald Trump appeared in a brief video in which he spoke with hostages who have been returned to the United States, including Josh Holt, a young man from Utah who survived being in a Venezuelan prison.

  • Holt told Trump: “It was a great honor to meet you when I got back.”
  • Holt: “It’s been great to be back.”
  • Trump: “The great people of Utah wanted me to do something about it.”
  • Trump: “Say hello to the folks in Utah because they’re great people.” 

Other hostages included Sam Goodwin, who had been held in Syria; Michael White, who had been held in Iran; Pastor Bryan Nerren, who was released from India, and Pastor Andrew Brunson, who was arrested in Turkey.

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott talks of the American dream and action

Sen. Tim Scott, a Black Republican in the Senate, gave a strong speech at the end of the first night of the convention. Scott said he was “living my mother’s American dream.”

“Timmy, if you would just shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll be among the stars,” Scott said his mother used to tell him. 

His family went from “cotton to Congress in one lifetime,” Scott said.

The senator touched on education, saying, “when a parent has a choice, their kid has a better chance. And the president has fought alongside me with that.”

He attributed his political success in the south, as a Black man, to “the evolution of the southern heart.” Referencing Martin Luther King, Jr., Scott said “voters judged me not on the color of my skin, but by the content of my character.”

“We are not fully where we want to be, but I thank God almighty, we are not where we used to be,” he added. 

Scott spoke of the importance of action, not rhetoric.

  • “Not to simply look at what the candidates say, but look back at what they’ve done”
  • “Look at his (Biden’s) action, look at his policies, look at what he already did and what he didn’t do while he’s been in Washington for 47 years.”
  • Scott said Biden and Harris want a “fundamentally different America,” what he called a “socialist utopia.”
  • “The next American century can be better than the last.”

RNC Chairwoman McDaniel calls Biden “nice guy” who cared more about China and Iran

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel — the niece of Utah Sen. Mitt Romney — said she thinks Biden is “nice guy,” who has done some not so nice things, Politico reported

“Let me tell you, raising taxes on 82 percent of Americans is not nice. Eliminating 10 million good-paying oil and gas jobs is not nice. Policies that force jobs to flee our country or allow abortion up until the point of birth are not nice.”

“President Trump is always going to be tough when he is fighting for the American people because nice guys like Joe cared more about countries like China and Iran than the United States of America,” said McDaniel.

Donald Trump’s oldest son attacks “Beijing Biden”

Donald Trump Jr said Americans can have the America they’ve always dreamed of —- if they re-elect President Donald Trump.

He recounted economic growth under the Trump that ended with a pandemic that came “courtesy of the Chinese Communist Party.”

  • “Every American must be free to live without fear of violence in your country, in your community and in your homes.”
  • “Trump’s America is a land for opportunity, a land of promise.”
  • He said “China and its communist party” sent the coronavirus to the US and it ended the economic success the country was seeing.
  • “Beijing Biden is so weak on China that the intelligence committee recently assessed that China favors Biden.”
  • “There is nothing more worth protecting than our God-given rights to think for ourselves.”
  • “People are faith are under attack. You’re not allowed to go to church.”

Lastly, he said the country won’t embrace cancel culture and take down statues. Instead, the country should learn from its past “so we don’t repeat any mistakes.”

Former U.N. Ambassador says Trump “tells the world what it needs to hear”

Nikki Haley, former South Carolina governor and ambassador to the United Nations spoke against Joe Biden’s foreign policy record and praised Trump’s “strength.”

“We stood up for America, and we stood against our enemies,” Haley said, praising Trump for pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal and for his tough stance on North Korea. 

  • “This president has a record of strength and success; the former vice president has a record of weakness and failure.” 

  • “Joe Biden and the socialist left would be a disaster for our economy.” 
  • “(Trump) knows that political correctness and cancel culture are dangerous, and just plain wrong.”
  • “America is not a racist country,”
  • “The American people know we can do better, and of course we value and respect every Black life.””“America isn’t perfect, but the principles we hold dear are perfect”
  • “Even on our worst day, we are blessed to live in America”

Charlie Kirk calls Trump the “bodyguard of Western civilization”

Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point, USA — a conservative student political organization — opened Monday evening’s list of guest speakers appearing remotely from the Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C.

“I see the angst of young people as well as the challenges facing new parents,” Kirk said. “I am here tonight to tell you, to warn you, that this election is a decision between preserving America as we know it and eliminating everything that we love.”

  • “We may have not realized it at the time, but Trump is the bodyguard of western civilization.”
  • “Trump was elected to protect our families from the vengeful mob that seeks to destroy our way of life.” 
  • America is “a country that values our remarkable journey, the complexities of our past, but clearly communicates to the next generation that we have to be grateful, not angry, that we live in the United States.”
  • “The American way of life means you follow the law, you work hard, you honor God, you raise your kids with strong values and you work to create a civil society.”
  • “The American way of life means you speak your mind without retribution, without being kicked off social media by a self-righteous censor in Silicon Valley.”
  • “It means you can freely practice your religion and that church is more essential than a casino.”

Sen. Mike Lee declares Utah’s nomination

Similar to the Democrat’s convention last week, Republicans made a video of each state declaring its nomination for the Trump/Pence presidential ticket. 

Utah’s Sen. Mike Lee made a brief appearance to announce the state’s nomination for Trump. 

The president had already been formally nominated earlier in the day.

Mark and Patricia McCloskey say Trump will defend citizens

Mark and Patricia McCloskey made clear that they believe Trump is a law and order president.

The couple — who garnered national attention when they pointed their guns at Black Lives Matter protesters outside their St. Louis mansion early this summer — said Democrats re not protecting citizens from criminals but protecting criminals from citizens.

  • The McCloskeys, both lawyers, were each charged with a felony for unlawfully brandishing the firearms at the protests, which Second Amendment advocates said was in defense of their home, according to The Washington Post.
  • “These radicals are not content with marching in the streets. ...They want to take over. They want power. This is Joe Biden’s party.”
  • Patricia McCloskey: “Your family will not be safe in the radical Democrats’ America.”
  • Mark McCloskey: “President Trump will defend the God-given right to protect their homes and their family.”

Kimberly Guilfoyle paints Harris, Biden as socialists

Kimberly Guilfoyle shouted her way through a speech that championed Trump and slammed the Biden-Harris ticket.

Guilfoyle, a former Fox personality and Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend, said Trump is the president for the working class and the “law and order” president.

Guilfoyle said Biden, Harris and the rest of the “socialists” will hurt America. She said Harris and Biden will defund police and they don’t want children in schools.

  • “They want to steal your liberty, your freedom ... so they can control how you love.”
  • “Don’t let the Democrats take you for granted. Don’t let them destroy your families, your lives and your future.”
  • “We kneel in prayer and we stand for our flag.”
  • “Do you support the cancel culture, the cosmopolitan elites and Nacy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and Joe Biden who blame America first? Do you think America is to blame? Or do you think American greatness, believe in yourself?”

She then praised President Trump.

  • “His promise was to America first AND HE HAS.”
  • “You can achieve your American dream.”
  • “Stand for an American leader who is fearless. ... Donald Trump is the leader who will rebuild the promise of America.” 
  • “The best is yet to come.”

Father of a 2018 Parkland school shooing victim speaks on school safety

Andrew Pollack, the father of Meadow Pollack who was killed in the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School mass shooting, spoke of school safety and the Second Amendment. 

“I didn’t get to drop her off at college, I didn’t get to walk her down the aisle,” Pollack said of his daughter’s lost life. 

Pollack spoke out against Biden’s support for “restorative justice” in schools, which he blamed for Meadow’s death. 

“I learned gun control laws didn’t fail my daughter, people did,” he said. “I truly believe the safety of our kids depends on whether this man is reelected.”

Trump meets with essential workers in virtual video

Trump spoke with several essential workers, including nurses, postal workers, a truck driver that delivered hospital beds, and a police officer and a detention officer who had both recovered from the coronavirus.

“Patriots of every race, color and creed rallied together to defeat the invisible enemy and save the lives of their fellow citizens. Today our hearts overflow with appreciation for the incredible frontline workers who risked their own health and safety to keep America strong and safe.”

“That profession will never be out of business,” Trump said to a postal office custodian.

“I am so in awe of your leadership,” said a nurse supervisor to Trump. “You really do show that positive spirit to us.”

Trump said he took the drugs Hydroxychloroquine, Z-Pack (the antibiotic Azithromycin) and the mineral zinc during to protect himself from COVID-19.

Correction: This article previously identified Sen. Tim Scott as Sen. Tim Cotton.