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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11:57 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020

Fact check: RNC video inaccurately portrays Trump as a "decisive leader" on coronavirus

From CNN's Daniel Dale 

An RNC video played during the convention contrasted President Trump as a "decisive leader" on coronavirus while suggesting that Democrats and media outlets “got it wrong” by downplaying the pandemic. 

Facts First: This suggestion is inaccurate. Trump continued to downplay the virus into March. Trump declared in February that the number of cases in the US would go “within a couple of days” from 15 to “close to zero,” and he predicted that the virus might "disappear" through a "miracle" or something of the sort. In late February, he was still likening the virus to the flu; in March, he suggested that the virus did not require the country to take more severe measures than the flu requires. 

He claimed in March that the virus was under “control”  and that the media and Democrats were overhyping the situation. 

12:14 a.m. ET, August 25, 2020

Kimberly Guilfoyle: Trump will put America first

Kimberly Guilfoyle.
Kimberly Guilfoyle. Republican National Convention

Kimberly Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr. and a top fundraiser for the Trump campaign, praised President Trump in her speech tonight, saying he "is the leader who will rebuild the promise of America and ensure that every citizen can realize their American dream."

Guilfoyle, whose mother is from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, spoke about the importance of the American dream and how she felt it was her "duty to fight to protect that dream."

She went on to claim that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris "will fundamentally change this nation."

"They want to destroy this country, and everything that we have fought for and hold dear. They want to steal your liberty, your freedom. They want to control what you see and think, and believe, so they can control how you live," Guilfoyle said.

She said Trump has put America first and will continue do so if reelected.

Guilfoyle urged Americans to stand for a "President who is fearless, who believes in you, and who loves this country and will fight for her."


10:44 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020

St. Louis couple facing felony charges after pointing guns at protesters speaks at RNC 

From CNN's Kate Sullivan

Patricia and Mark McCloskey.
Patricia and Mark McCloskey. Republican National Convention

The Missouri couple facing felony charges after pointing guns at protesters outside of their home in St. Louis earlier this summer spoke on the first night of the Republican National Convention. 

“What you saw happen to us could just as easily happen to any of you who are watching from quiet neighborhoods around our country. And that’s what we want to speak to you about tonight,” Patricia McCloskey said. 

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

The McCloskeys drew national attention in late June after they were seen in a viral video brandishing guns outside their mansion at protesters walking on a private street en route to demonstrate outside the St. Louis mayor's residence. 

The mayor lives on a nearby public street and the protesters were going down a street that doesn’t reach the mayor’s house, a St. Louis city official said. The Missouri couple was charged in July with unlawful use of a weapon, a class E felony.

In videos obtained by CNN, the pair were seen brandishing weapons outside their St. Louis home as demonstrators walked outside the house in late June.

The White House has defended the couple on a number of occasions. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters at the time that President Donald Trump "said it is absolutely absurd, what is happening to the McCloskeys."

“You’ve seen us on your TV screens and Twitter feeds,” Mark McCloskey said. “You know we’re not the kind of people who back down. Thankfully, neither is Donald Trump.”


11:51 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020

Parkland father: The "safety of your kids depends" on whether Trump is reelected

Andrew Pollack, the father of Parkland mass shooting victim Meadow Pollack.
Andrew Pollack, the father of Parkland mass shooting victim Meadow Pollack. Republican National Convention

Before the 2018 shooting, Andrew Pollack, the father of Parkland mass shooting victim Meadow Pollack, wasn't a political activist.

But in the face of unspeakable tragedy, after 17 people were killed in the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, he is among those who have transformed their grief into political activism, with the goal of preventing other families from facing the same horror.

Tonight, speaking from the Republican National Convention, Pollack said he believes President Trump is committed to keeping children safe in America.

"I truly believe the safety of your kids depends on whether this man is reelected," he said.

The shooting, he said, changed his life forever.

"So many moments that I waited so long for were taken from me. I didn't get to drop her off at college. I didn't get to walk her down the aisle," Pollack said.

"But every moment was taken from her and for what? I never wanted this to become a political spectacle but it did," he added.

Pollack called Trump a "good man and a great listener" who he said "cuts through the BS."

Reporting from CNN's Betsy Klein contributed to this report.

11:49 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020

Georgia Democrat slams Biden's leadership: "All talk and no action"

Georgia State Representative Vernon Jones.
Georgia State Representative Vernon Jones. Republican National Convention

Vernon Jones, a Democratic politician from the state of Georgia, slammed Joe Biden's leadership and praised President Donald Trump's commitment to the Black community.

"As you can see, I am a man of color and I am a lifelong Democrat, too. You may be wondering, why is a lifelong Democrat speaking at the Republican National Convention? And that is a fair question. And here's your answer, the Democratic Party does not want Black people to lead their mental plantation. We've been forced to be there for decades and generations," Jones said in his remarks.

"But I have news for Joe Biden, we are free, we are free people with free minds. And I am 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," Jones continued.  

Jones said Biden has had "47 years to produce results," but has been "all talk and no action."

"Just like so many of the Democrats who have been making promises to the Black voters for decades. We have been there captive audience," Jones said.

Jones went on to tout Trump's measures with regard to the economy and funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

"The President also built the most inclusive economy ever with record low unemployment for African Americans and record high participation in the workforce," Jones said.

"He put the interests of American workers and especially Black workers first. That's right. Donald Trump did that," Jones said.

9:35 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020

Former NFL player Herschel Walker: "I've seen racism up close ... And it isn’t Donald Trump"

From CNN's Kate Sullivan

Former NFL player Herschel Walker.
Former NFL player Herschel Walker. Republican National Convention

Former NFL star Herschel Walker spoke at the Republican National Convention on Monday and said he has a “deep personal friendship” with President Donald Trump and has known him for 37 years. 

“It hurt my soul to hear the terrible names that people call Donald. The worst one is ‘racist.’ I take it as a personal insult that people would think I've had a 37-year friendship with a racist. People who think that don’t know what they are talking about. Growing up in the Deep South, I've seen racism up close. I know what it is. And it isn’t Donald Trump,” said Walker, who is African American. 

Walker said Trump is a “caring, loving father” and that over the years he has “watched (Trump) treat the janitors, security guards, and waiters the same way he would treat a VIP.”

Walker is a 1982 Heisman Trophy winner, former pro football star and a former Olympian. 

In 2008, Walker published a book, “Breaking Free," and revealed he had a form of mental illness called dissociative identity disorder, or DID, formerly known as multiple personality disorder. He told CNN at the time that he hoped to educate the public and break down stereotypes about this disorder.


11:45 p.m. ET, August 24, 2020

Rep. Jim Jordan calls Trump the "pro-America candidate"

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan.
Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan. Republican National Convention

Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, one of the President's most ardent defenders in the US House of Representatives, touted the GOP as "the pro-America party" and President Donald Trump as the "pro-America candidate," decrying what he said were Democrats' values.

"Look at what’s happening in America’s cities – cities all run by Democrats. Crime, violence and mob rule. Democrats refuse to denounce the mob," Jordan said during his convention speech. "And their response to the chaos? Defund the police, defund border patrol, and defund our military. And while they’re doing all of this, they’re also trying to take away your guns."

Jordan also addressed the Russia investigation and the President's impeachment, saying Trump has taken on the Washington swamp.

"When you take on the swamp, the swamp fights back. They tried the Russia hoax, the Mueller investigation, and the fake impeachment. But in spite of this unbelievable opposition, this president has done what he said he would do," Jordan said.

Concluding his remarks, Jordan brought up his nephew's deadly car accident — and the President's conversation with Jordan's family three days after his nephew's death.

"For the next five minutes, family and friends sat in complete silence, as the President of the United States took time to talk to a dad who was hurting," Jordan said.

He added: "That’s the President I've gotten to know over the last four years — a president who has shared private moments like this with soldiers, victims of violent crime and people who have had businesses destroyed by the mob. That’s the individual who’s made America great again and who knows America’s best days are in front of us."

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: