On the second day of the Republican National Convention, there was a breach of protocol and unprecedented action by a president. The subject of a speech by first lady Melania Trump was a coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 178,000 Americans.
Donald Trump pardoned a bank robber, Jon Ponder, who created a social reintegration program for prisoners. It was a commendable act, but it was done at a party convention for political propaganda purposes and in the reelection interests of the Republican presidential candidate.
There was a naturalization ceremony for five candidates who obtained American citizenship, swearing allegiance to the American flag. The ceremony was an attempt to sell Trump as a president who is not anti-immigrant, despite building a wall at the border between Mexico and the U.S., a wall which was one of the Republican president’s main promises and one which was not fulfilled because Congress resisted.
“Congratulations. That’s fantastic,” said Trump, who has been hostile to immigrants. “You followed the rules, you obeyed the laws,” the president asserted. “At this time, I’d like to recognize the five new citizens.”
Wide-eyed and with certain discomfort, Melania read her speech, a speech that stood in contrast with the speeches by Jill Biden and Michelle Obama’ at the Democratic National Convention last week. Melania spoke in the White House Rose Garden where people did not wear masks and there was no social distancing.
There was no mention of COVID-19 until Melania’s speech on the second night of the convention. She made quick mention of “the invisible enemy,” echoing her husband’s response to the coronavirus. She said that the president “will not rest” until a cure is found. Melania lamented the pain of families who have lost relatives in the pandemic, becoming the first Republican convention speaker to express any empathy for those who are suffering because of the coronavirus.
But the first lady also followed a political roadmap that supports the interests of the president. She affirmed that Trump “loves” the U.S. and “is what is best for our country … an authentic person.” The first lady criticized the way the press and the Democrats portray her husband, and at the end of her speech, the two kissed on the cheek.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke from Jerusalem in support of Trump, breaking diplomatic protocol which makes it inappropriate for diplomats to be involved in politics that are not related to State Department business. Pompeo blamed China for the pandemic and for the unemployment in the U.S., asserting that Trump has strengthened the U.S.’s position in the world, when it is the opposite that has occurred. The fact is that the U.S. has isolated itself internationally.
The whole logic of the Republican National Convention was to sell the idea that Democrat Joe Biden’s administration will put an end to the American dream of personal achievement and will put families at risk by giving into the supposed agenda of the radical left, something which will result in an higher taxes and violence in America’s big cities and its idyllic suburbs.
The conservative religious discourse was a keynote of the night. Cissie Graham Lynch, granddaughter of the famous reverend Billy Graham, and the Rev. Norma Urrabazo spoke about “life, family and faith” and how Trump “withdrew the policies that placed our little girls at risk. Abby Johnson, an anti-abortion activist, was featured. “I know what it sounds like. I know what abortion smells like,” Johnson said. In her view, the election is a choice between someone who would defend life, i.e., Trump, and someone who defends death, i.e., Biden.
Speakers at the Republican convention went so far as to state that there would be a campaign of bullying with support from the press against the “Make America Great Again” movement, in which Trump supporters wear the MAGA slogan on their hats.
There is criticism of the “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan because Trump has isolated the U.S. internationally and weakened the country’s geopolitical power, engaging in conflict with allies like France and Germany.
In yet another evening featuring a majority of white speakers, Republican convention speakers harshly and personally attacked Biden. Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi attacked Hunter Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee’s son. Hunter Biden served on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian business, and was accused of lobbying on the basis of his father’s office as vice president. Biden and his son denied the accusations and they were never proven.
Vice President Mike Pence delivered a boring speech on economic recovery from the childhood home of Abraham Lincoln, the Republican president Trump has tried to compare himself to, and in doing so, has contradicted everything that history tells us.