Trump-dominated Republican Convention renominates US president for second term

Arrangements for gathering reflect incumbent's influence over Republican Party

US President Donald Trump addresses the first day of the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina on August 24, 2020. Reuters
US President Donald Trump addresses the first day of the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina on August 24, 2020. Reuters

Donald Trump's policies have come to define the Republican Party as it holds its 2020 convention to renominate the US president for a second term.

From production to the line-up of speakers and daily addresses by the president himself, the Republican convention is Trump-centric and a reflection of his sway over the party.

Sadoux Kim and Chuck La Bella, two former NBC producers who worked with Mr Trump when he hosted The Apprentice, are helping with the convention production, The New York Times reported.

The speakers’ line-up puts heavy emphasis on the Trump family and the president’s allies in Congress.

Donald Trump’s children and a daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, will deliver addresses to the convention.

Daughter Ivanka will introduce her father on Thursday as he accepts the nomination.

Congressional allies of Mr Trump, including Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz, Kevin McCarthy and Tom Cotton, will address the event.

More moderate voices in the party, such as Mitt Romney, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, will be absent from the event in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Delegates cheer as US President Donald Trump speaks during the first day of the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina on August 24, 2020. AFP / Brendan Smialowsk
Delegates cheer as US President Donald Trump speaks during the first day of the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina on August 24, 2020. AFP / Brendan Smialowsk

Matthew Continetti, of the American Enterprise Institute, said the convention was testimony to Mr Trump’s increasing influence in the Republican Party.

"The four nights of the GOP national convention will reflect the party's increasing emphasis on nationalism, populism, and rejecting political correctness and the media that enforce it,” Mr Continetti told The National.

Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the St Louis couple who pointed guns at Black Lives Matter protesters, will be speaking on Monday.

Nicholas Sandmann, the pupil who filed lawsuits against US news outlets after a video of him and Native American activist Nathan Phillips on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial went viral, will speak on Tuesday.

“The event will showcase the personality, predilections and policies of the man who has changed the GOP more than anyone since Ronald Reagan: Donald Trump,” Mr Continetti said.

Mr Trump, who uses his personality and media appearances to rally his base, will be breaking with tradition and appearing at the convention every night from the White House.

Also breaking a longtime tradition of not mixing diplomacy with elections will be US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is recording a message to the convention from Israel.

Mr Pompeo will record his message from the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on Monday to be played at the convention on Tuesday, Israeli media reported.

A State Department official told The National there was no conflict between the two roles Mr Pompeo is playing.

“Secretary Pompeo will address the convention in his personal capacity," the official said. "No State Department resources will be used.

"Staff are not involved in preparing the remarks or in the arrangements for Secretary Pompeo's appearance."

He is in Israel on an official government trip and will be the first US secretary of state in recent memory to address a convention.

The only other Cabinet member addressing the convention will be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson.

Former ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, and the president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, are also scheduled to speak.

The convention formally backed Mr Trump's renomination on Monday, and that of Vice President Mike Pence, who will address the convention on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the campaign for Joe Biden is capitalising on the divide within the Republican Party to promote the Democratic candidate.

On Monday more than two dozen Republicans, including former senator Jeff Flake, endorsed Mr Biden.

He has a significant lead in the polls, with an average of 9 per cent, the election analysis website Five Thirty Eight says .

That lead is far ahead of any held by his predecessors running against an incumbent president.

“It’s a bullish sign for Mr Biden to be this far ahead of Mr Trump," the website said.

"In fact, since 1968, no incumbent president has trailed by as much as Mr Trump heading into the first convention."

But with the election 70 days away, Mr Trump has time to rebound.

Updated: August 25, 2020 12:57 PM

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