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Republicans warn of chaos if Biden wins: Key moments from the convention's first night

Caitlin Oprysko, Matthew Choi, Jacqueline Feldscher and Sam Mintz

Medical professionals laud Trump’s Covid response

Two health care workers touted Trump as a pioneering leader who “moved mountains” to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, despite widespread criticism about the Trump administration’s approach to combating the virus.

Amy Johnson Ford, a nurse from rural Virginia, and Dr. G.E. Ghali, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, touted Trump as having acting decisively on defeating the pandemic. Ford praised Trump for expanding telehealth in rural areas, while Ghali applauded Trump for pushing treatments and testing through normally lengthy regulatory timelines.

“Let me be clear, as a health care professional, I can tell you without hesitation Donald Trump’s quick action and leadership saved thousands of lives during Covid-19,” Ford said.

Ford and Ghali’s remarks were interspersed with a narrator listing a number of Trump’s favorite talking points on the coronavirus responses: from shutting down travel from China to pointing figures at the initially contradictory messaging from the CDC. Videos showed prominent Democrats, from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, downplaying concerns of the virus early in the pandemic.

“One leader took decisive action to save lives, President Donald Trump,” the narrator said. “Banning travel from China and coronavirus epicenters, Biden charged xenophobia. But President Trump was right.”

The United States has substantially lagged behind other industrialized nations in its coronavirus response, with a disproportionately high number of cases. Trump often contradicts his own health officials and has pushed unproven treatments for the virus. Polls generally show low faith in the president in handling the crisis.

Trump thanks front-line workers for coronavirus response

Trump spoke with front-line workers who have helped the nation during the coronavirus pandemic on Monday night, including healthcare professionals, truck drivers and small business owners.

The president thanked each person for their contributions during the past several months fighting Covid-19. Two of the attendees said they had contracted the virus and recovered with the help of medical care like antibiotics and cough syrup.

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“I won’t even ask you about the hydroxychloroquine,” Trump said, referencing a drug that multiple studies have shown is not effective against the virus. “It’s a shame what they did to that one. I took it.”

Trump also assured a postal worker at the roundtable, who delivers mail to a senior community, that “we’re not getting rid of our postal workers.” Trump earlier this month acknowledged that he is skeptical about providing additional funding for the Postal Service because of his concerns about mail-in voting this fall.

Jim Jordan: Dems ‘won’t let you go to school, but they’ll let you go loot’

Rep. Jim Jordan, another fierce ally of the president’s, argued that Trump has delivered on the promises he made in 2016, despite the economic hole the country is in as a result of the pandemic.

He also painted a bleak picture of a country run by Democrats, urging voters to “look at the positions they have taken the past few months.”

“Democrats won’t let you go to church, but let you protest. Democrats won’t let you go to work, but let you riot. Democrats won’t let you go to school, but they’ll let you go loot,” he said, contending that Trump “has fought against each of their crazy ideas.”

Jordan also sought to humanize the president, recalling that when the congressman’s nephew was killed suddenly several years ago, Trump reached out to offer his condolences and “took time to talk to a dad who was hurting.”

“That is the president that I’ve gotten to know the last four years,” Jordan said. “A president who shared private moments like this with soldiers, victims of violent crime, and people who’ve had businesses destroyed by the mob.”

‘Far-left Democrats’ made Parkland shooting possible, father of slain student says

Andrew Pollack, whose daughter was killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018, said policies implemented by Democrats in his Florida district are to blame for his child’s death.

“Gun control laws didn’t fail my daughter, people did,” Pollack said, adding that the school ignored several red flags related to threats made by the shooter. “Far-left Democrats in our school district made this shooting possible.”

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Pollack commended Trump for taking action to prevent future school shootings by establishing a commission that issued recommendations to make schools safer. “I truly believe the safety of our kids depends on whether this man is re-elected,” he said.

Guilfoyle roars campaign talking points

Forcefully speaking from the lectern with hands to the air, Kimberly Guilfoyle punctuated the convention with a lively address warning about the “cosmopolitan elites” of the Democratic Party.

Guilfoyle, Trump’s national campaign finance chair and the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr., characterized Democrats as the party of cancel culture and open borders. She praised Trump as not only a political but also a cultural savior ready to defend the American dream.

They were largely standard talking points for the Trump campaign, but her bombastic delivery immediately lit up social media.

Guilfoyle also repeated common Trump talking points on immigration, calling herself a first-generation American, calling her Puerto Rican mother an immigrant. Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory and its residents are U.S. citizens.

She also used California as an example of Democrats’ agenda run amok, calling it a land of “immense wealth, immeasurable innovation” that Democrats turned into “a land of discarded heroin needles and parks.”

Guilfoyle is the ex-wife of California Gov. Gavin Newsom. The two were married when Newsom was mayor of San Francisco.

‘I’ve seen racism up close … and it isn’t Donald Trump’

As Trump trails Biden by a huge margin among Black voters, several speakers tried to defend Trump’s record on race and sought to portray Black voters as free thinkers not beholden to the Democratic Party.

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“Growing up in the Deep South, I’ve seen racism up close, I know what it is, and it isn’t Donald Trump,” said Herschel Walker, the former NFL player, who added he has known the president for 37 years, when the then-business mogul bought the New Jersey Generals pro football team.

Several politicians, including a Democrat, also vouched for the president and maintained that his support was growing among Black Americans.

“The Democratic Party does not want Black people to leave their mental plantation,” said Vernon Jones, a Democratic politician from Georgia who is currently a member of the state House of Representatives.

He said that Black people have been “forced” to be part of the party for decades.

“I have news for Joe Biden: We are free, we are free people with free minds, and I’m part of a large and growing segment of the Black community who are independent thinkers, and we believe that Donald Trump is the president that America needs to lead us forward,” said Jones, the only Georgian speaking at the convention this week.

Biden has a massive lead among Black voters, with recent polls averaging a 75-point margin.

St. Louis couple who aimed guns at protesters deliver defiant address

Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the St. Louis couple facing weapons charges for brandishing guns at protesters on their street, delivered a warning on Monday night.

“What you saw happen to us could just as easily happen to any of you who are watching from quiet neighborhoods around our country,” the couple said in a defiant video from their home.

What ensued was a grievance-filled appeal to suburban voters during a dark convention, with the couple rebuking the Black Lives Matter protesters at whom they waved guns as “Marxist liberal activists” and “criminals.” They issued the condemnations despite initially issuing a statement of support for the racial justice movement through their lawyer as protests rocked the country earlier this summer.

“Not a single person in the out-of-control mob that you saw at our house was charged with a crime,” Mark McCloskey lamented. “But you know who was? We were. They actually charged us with felonies for daring to defend our home.”

Cuban-American businessman compares Biden to Fidel Castro

Maximo Alvarez, a Cuban-American businessman, gave a teary speech which decried Communism and compared Biden to Fidel Castro.

“I have seen people like this before. I have seen movements like this before. I’ve seen ideas like this before, and I am here to tell you, we cannot let them take over our country,” said Alvarez, who came to America as part of Operation Pedro Pan in 1961.

He compared Castro’s “empty promises” about free health care and education to Democrats’ campaign talking points.

Directly after, the RNC played a video that described Biden as being part of the “radical left” and quoted Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) as saying that the Biden campaign’s compromises with liberals will make him “the most progressive president since FDR.”

Nikki Haley: It is a ‘lie’ that America is racist

America is not racist, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said in a speech in which she urged voters to continue supporting America despite its flaws.

Haley, the daughter of Indian immigrants, said the conversation about race in America that sparked protests across the country in response to police brutality against the Black community was “personal” to her.

“My father wore a turban. My mother wore a sari,” she said of her childhood in South Carolina, which elected her as the first woman and first minority to serve as governor in 2010. “We faced discrimination and hardship, but my parents never gave into grievance and hate.”

“It’s now fashionable to say that America is racist. That is a lie,” said Haley, who removed the Confederate flag from South Carolina’s statehouse as governor. “America is not a racist country.”

Haley, who said Trump would build an America where every child has an opportunity to succeed, said “every black life” matters, including Black police officers who have been killed on the job, Black small-business owners, and Black children who have been shot on the playground.

‘They want to bully us into submission’

Donald Trump Jr. blasted Democrats as the party of intolerance and elitism Monday during a fiery address.

Echoing the themes of his father’s pre-pandemic campaign rallies, Trump Jr. portrayed a dark image of Democrats, using many of the same attacks the rival party has used on President Donald Trump. He cast Democrats as neglectful toward the most vulnerable working Americans and as intolerant, cancel culture warriors.

“They want to bully us into submission,” Trump Jr. said of Democrats. “If they get their way, it will no longer be the silent majority.”

The younger Trump has emerged as a cultural emissary for his father, speaking against “woke” activism and signaling his appeal through anti-cancel-culture buzzwords. His book “Triggered” topped bestseller lists, and Trump Jr. presents a more internet-savvy version of his father’s brusque, boomer message. Through memes and incendiary social media posts, Trump Jr. exudes the pushing-the-envelope free speech ethos of his father’s base.

Trump Jr. often stands in for his father at campaign events, and he has become a fundraising machine for the president’s reelection campaign. His prominence in the conservative sphere, particularly among youth, has had a major impact on his life. Over the course of his father’s presidency, he has gone from a relatively low-key real estate heir to an icon of the right. A poll by Axios and SurveyMonkey revealed a considerable share of Republican voters supporting a Trump Jr. bid for the presidency in 2024.

Tim Scott calls Biden out for race-related gaffes

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, the lone Black GOP senator, laced into Biden’s record on race, highlighting several of the Democratic nominee’s recent gaffes pertaining to race as the final speaker of the night.

“Joe Biden said if a Black man didn’t vote for him, he wasn’t truly black. Joe Biden said Black people are a monolithic community. It was Joe Biden who said poor kids can be just as smart as white kids,” Scott noted, adding: “And while his words are one thing, his actions take it to a whole new level.”

The senator pointed to Biden’s role as an architect of the 1994 crime bill that many criminal justice reform advocates say commenced a pattern of mass incarceration that disproportionately impacted Black Americans.

The bipartisan reform bill that Trump signed into law, Scott said, “fixed many of the disparities Biden created and made our system more fair and just for all Americans.”

Scott, who is viewed as a potential 2024 contender, also promoted Trump’s signing of a bill that would permanently fund historically Black colleges and universities and the 2017 GOP tax overhaul that Scott argued “lowered taxes for single moms, working families, and those in need.”

“When it comes to what Joe Biden says he’ll do, look at his actions. 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,” he said.

The senator’s speech capped a night of prominent Black Trump supporters urging Black voters to look beyond Biden for their vote in November. Despite the clumsy comments Scott laid out, Biden still maintains wide support among Black voters — a key constituency of the Democratic Party that powered the former vice president to the nomination — though Trump has attempted to dent Biden’s lead with them regardless.

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