Republican National Convention 2020: Day 1

By Melissa Macaya, Veronica Rocha, Rebekah Metzler and Jessica Estepa, CNN

Updated 11:00 AM ET, Tue August 25, 2020
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12:12 a.m. ET, August 25, 2020

Trump makes appearance at the RNC with frontline workers

President Trump speaks to frontline workers in the White House in Washington.
President Trump speaks to frontline workers in the White House in Washington. Republican National Convention

President Trump made a “surprise” appearance in tonight’s Republican National Convention appearing with frontline workers in the East Room of the White House.

The President nor the participants were wearing masks and did not seem to be social distancing.

"These are my friends. These are the incredible workers who helped us so much with the Covid," Trump said.

"These are great, great people. Doctors, nurses, firemen, a policeman. We want to thank you, all you've been incredible and we want to thank you and all the millions of people that you represent," the President continued.

The participants shared their stories and described their line of work, including a registered nurse who praised Trump's leadership.

"I am so in awe of your leadership. Honestly, I know many people have said often interesting things but it takes a true leader to be able to ignore all that stuff and take what is right and not be offended by all the words being said. You really do show that positive spirit to us and as nurses I appreciate that, I'm grateful for," she said.

9:28 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020

RNC marks roll call vote with video montage from locations across 50 states and territories

RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.
RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. Republican National Convention

The official roll call renominating President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to the 2020 Republican ballot took place earlier today in Charlotte, North Carolina, but during the Republican National Convention's primetime event, a video montage was shown to mark the moment.

"We have created a short video to symbolize the excitement for President Trump across all 50 states and territories," RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said.

Participants in different parts of the country cheered "four more years."

Watch the video:

9:29 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020

Maryland's Kim Klacik says the Democratic Party has ignored Black Baltimore voters "for too long"

Kimberly Klacik, the Republican nominee running for the late congressman Elijah E. Cummings’s seat against Rep. Kweisi Mfume in Maryland.
Kimberly Klacik, the Republican nominee running for the late congressman Elijah E. Cummings’s seat against Rep. Kweisi Mfume in Maryland. Republican National Convention

Kim Klacik, who is running for Maryland’s 7th Congressional District, said Democrats have controlled Baltimore for far too long and assumed "Black people will vote for them, no matter how much they let us down and take us for granted."

"We’re sick of it and not going to take it anymore. The days of blindly supporting the Democrats are coming to an end," she said.

Klacik went on to slam Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, saying that he believes "we can’t think for ourselves — that the color of someone’s skin dictates their political views.

"We’re not buying the lies anymore — you and your party have ignored us for too long," she said.

Klacik praised Trump's efforts, saying he is "bringing this country back roaring."

Klacik is running for the seat formerly held by the late Rep. Elijah Cummings. The race is rated "Solid Democrat" by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.


10:40 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020

Fact check: Charlie Kirk misleads on pastors getting locked up

From CNN's Holmes Lybrand

Charlie Kirk, founder and president of Turning Point USA.
Charlie Kirk, founder and president of Turning Point USA. Republican National Convention

During the opening remarks of the Republican National Convention, Charlie Kirk, founder of the youth-oriented conservative group Turning Point USA, claimed that “bitter, deceitful, vengeful activists…have us locking up pastors.” 

Facts First: This connection is not true. Pastors in the US have been arrested for disobeying state and local social distancing orders during the pandemic by holding in-person church services. One of the first instances of a pastor being arrested in the US happened in late March when a Florida pastor held two church services that disobeyed state health emergency rules. The pastor turned himself in at the time, the Associated Press reported. CNN could not find instances of pastors being arrested because of “bitter, deceitful, vengeful activists.”

9:12 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020

Nurse thanks Trump for coronavirus efforts

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

Amy Johnson Ford.
Amy Johnson Ford. Republican National Convention

A West Virginia nurse who was deployed to New York and Texas to work as a relief nurse during the coronavirus pandemic praised President Trump for his efforts to stop the virus.

The nurse, Amy Johnson Ford, said "we have President Trump to thank" for expanded telehealth access amid the pandemic.

"President Trump recognized the threat this virus presented for all Americans early on, and made rapid policy changes. And as a result, telehealth services are now accessible to more than 71 million Americans, including 35 million children," Ford said.

She added: "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. And the benefits of that response extend far beyond coronavirus."

11:35 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020

Rep. Gaetz: "We see the choice clearly"

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz.
Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz. Republican National Convention

Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida and longtime defender of President Trump, slammed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, issuing a scathing description of the former vice president's leadership and policies.

"I’m speaking from an auditorium emptier than Joe Biden’s daily schedule," Gaetz said in his remarks, speaking from the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, DC. "But we are a nation of full hearts — and clear minds. We see the choice clearly: Strength or weakness. Energy or confusion. Success or failure. And Biden knows failure."

Gaetz praised Trump's leadership and vision for the country.

"Donald Trump like all builders is a visionary. That which is built in the mind is even more powerful than the brick and mortar that holds it together," Gaetz said.

"President Trump sometimes raises his voice — and a ruckus. He knows that’s what it takes to raise an army of patriots who love America and will protect her," Gaetz said.

"America is not just an idea or a Constitution, it is our home. We must protect our home with unbreakable Made-in-America strength — strength I see every day in President Donald Trump," the congressman said in closing.


11:33 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020

"Trump is the bodyguard of western civilization," conservative youth activist group says

Charlie Kirk, founder and president of Turning Point USA.
Charlie Kirk, founder and president of Turning Point USA. Republican National Convention

Charlie Kirk, founder and president of conservative youth activist organization Turning Point USA, praised President Trump's leadership and warned that the 2020 presidential election "is a decision between preserving America as we know it, and eliminating everything that we love."

"From that moment he came down that famous escalator, he started a movement to reclaim our government from the rotten cartel of insiders that have been destroying our country. We may not have realized it at the time, but Trump is the bodyguard of western civilization," the 26-year-old said during the Republican National Convention. "Trump was elected to protect our families from the vengeful mob that seeks to destroy our way of life, our neighborhoods, schools, churches, and values. President Trump was elected to defend the American way of life."

Kirk said that if reelected in November, Trump would help give youth and future generations a better country.

"This election is the most critical since 1860, when a man named Lincoln was elected to preserve the union from disintegration. This election is not just the most important of our lifetime — it is most important since the preservation of the Republic in 1865," Kirk said.

"By reelecting Trump, we will ensure that our kids are raised to love our country and respect our founding father, not taught to hate or be ashamed of them," he continued.

"We will be a country that has its best 100 years ahead. We will build a future where America remains the greatest country ever to exist in the history of the world. All of that is within our grasp if we secure four more years for the defender of western civilization, our champion, my friend, the 45th president of the United States, President Donald J. trump," Kirk said.

Kirk described Turning Point USA as "the largest pro-American student organization in the country" that is "fighting for the future of our Republic."


11:31 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020

Cardinal Dolan delivers opening prayer

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Archbishop of New York.
Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Archbishop of New York. Republican National Convention

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, delivered the opening prayer ahead of Monday's primetime speeches at the Republican National Convention.

Dolan called on prayers for frontline workers and those suffering from coronavirus. He called for prayers for all lives to be protected — an apparent nod to recent anti-police brutality demonstration across the country. He also pushed for prayers for immigrants and unborn infants.

"Pray we must that all lives may be protected and respected in our troubled cities and the police who guard them, in tense world situations where our men and women in uniform keep the peace, for the innocent life of the baby in the womb, for our elders in nursing care and hospice, for our immigrants and refugees, those lives threatened by religious persecution throughout the world or by plague, hunger, drugs, human trafficking or war," Dolan said as the Statue of Liberty was seen in the background.

Before concluding, Dolan called for watchers to "pray for democracy," for "an electorate so eager to perform its duty of faithful citizenship."

Dolan received online criticism for accepting the invitation to pray at the RNC, but earlier Monday, he defended his appearance, saying that he doesn't see a prayer offering as an endorsement of a party or candidate.

8:44 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020

The first night of the RNC has begun. Here's what you need to know.

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

President Donald Trump speaks during the first day of the Republican National Convention on Monday, August 24, in Charlotte.
President Donald Trump speaks during the first day of the Republican National Convention on Monday, August 24, in Charlotte. Chris Carlson/AP

Republicans have kicked off night one of the Republican National Convention tonight with a theme focused around the "Land of Promise" after formally nominating President Donald Trump earlier in the day.

While the in-person Democratic National Convention was scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic, Republicans began their convention with an in-person roll call in Charlotte, North Carolina, and then move to remote speeches largely from an auditorium in Washington, DC — but, in an unprecedented move, also from the White House.

The start to the Republican convention comes as the first polls since the DNC last week show Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has gained popularity, but has not widened his lead over Trump.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence appeared at the roll call in North Carolina on Monday to thank delegates.

Notable speakers tonight will include some of Trump's Republican allies in Congress (Sen. Tim Scott, House GOP Whip Steve Scalise, Rep. Matt Gaetz and Rep. Jim Jordan), former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, and the President's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.

Besides lawmakers, tonight's program includes a list of speakers who appear to have credited the Trump administration and Republicans for policy successes or who have been successful examples of the President's policies in action.

The lineup will include the father of a student killed in the 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, a GOP congressional candidate who starred in a viral video about "the reality for Black people" in Baltimore and a coffee shop owner who was the first to qualify for a Paycheck Protection Program loan in Montana.

There will also be remarks by Patricia and Mark McCloskey, the couple who drew national attention this summer after they were filmed brandishing guns at a group of protesters who were walking along the neighborhood's private street, en route to the St. Louis mayor's residence to advocate for policing reform.

The night's event began with this video: