First lady Melania Trump has portrayed her husband as an authentic, uncompromising leader in a Rose Garden address as President Donald Trump turn to family, farmers and the trappings of the presidency to boost his reelection chances on the second night of the scaled-down Republican National Convention.
Mrs. Trump’s remarks, like much of the night’s prime-time program, offered a polished portrait of Trump’s presidency — at odds at times with the crises, division and unforgiving actions of his tenure in the White House.
Showing a more forgiving side with millions of voters watching, the president pardoned a reformed felon and oversaw a naturalisation ceremony for several immigrants in the midst of the program, though he frequently states his vigorous opposition to more immigration, legal as well as illegal.
“In my husband, you have a president who will not stop fighting for you and your families,” said Mrs. Trump, an immigrant herself. “he will not give up.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 26, 2020
Mrs. Trump and two of his five children led a diverse collection of supporters, including a convicted bank robber, calling for Trump’s reelection on a night that featured a distinctly more positive tone than the night before.
Coronavirus and economic devastation
The first-term president is labouring to improve his standing in a 2020 presidential race he is currently losing under the weight of the coronavirus and its related economic devastation. Most polls report that Democratic rival Joe Biden has a significant advantage in terms of raw support; the former vice president also leads on character issues such as trustworthiness and likability.
In one of the few emotional moments of the night, Trump showed a video of himself signing a pardon for Jon Ponder, a man from Nevada who has founded an organisation that helps prisoners reintegrate into society.
“We live in a nation of second chances,” Ponder said, standing alongside Trump.
“Jon’s life is a beautiful testament to the power of redemption,” Trump said before he signed the pardon.
Tuesday’s two-and-a-half-hour lineup also featured a Maine lobsterman, a Wisconsin farmer and a Native American leader. Social conservatives were represented by an anti-abortion activist and Billy Graham’s granddaughter. The convention also featured a Kentucky high school student whose interaction last year with Native Americans became a flashpoint in the nation’s culture wars.
With Election Day just 10 weeks off and early voting beginning much sooner, Trump is under increasing pressure to reshape the contours of the campaign. But as he struggles to contain the pandemic and the related economic devastation, Republicans have yet to identify a consistent political message arguing for his reelection.
There was little mention of the pandemic throughout the night, although it remains a dominant issue for voters this fall.
The Covid-19 death toll surged past 178,000 on Tuesday, by far the highest in the world, and there is no sign of slowing.
The nation’s unemployment rate still exceeds 10 percent, which is higher than it ever was during the Great Recession. And more than 100,000 businesses are feared closed forever.
Pompeo’s speech for Trump sparks criticism
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised President Donald Trump’s foreign policy record in a Republican National Convention speech on Tuesday that Democrats criticised as a breach of protocol and perhaps the law.
Speaking in a recorded video from a Jerusalem rooftop during an official trip, Pompeo, a Trump appointee widely believed to harbour presidential aspirations, said the president had exposed the “predatory aggression” of the Chinese Communist Party, while defeating Daesh militants and lowering the threat from North Korea.
Even before he spoke, critics pounced, saying Pompeo had broken with decades of protocol in using his appointed office for partisan purposes.
The chairman of a Democratic-led US House of Representatives subcommittee announced on Tuesday an investigation into whether Pompeo’s appearance broke federal law and regulations.
“The Trump administration and Secretary Pompeo have shown a gross disregard not only of basic ethics, but also a blatant willingness to violate federal law for political gain,” Joaquin Castro, head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s oversight subcommittee, said in a statement.
In a letter to Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, Castro said Pompeo’s appearance was “highly unusual and likely unprecedented,” and “may also be illegal.”