Republican National Convention 2020: Day 2

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

Updated 12:49 p.m. ET, August 26, 2020
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9:57 p.m. ET, August 25, 2020

Tiffany Trump appeals to young voters: "Make your judgment based on results and not rhetoric"

From CNN's Betsy Klein

Tiffany Trump.
Tiffany Trump. Susan Walsh/AP

President Donald Trump’s youngest daughter, Tiffany Trump, spoke Tuesday evening, making an appeal to young Americans to “transcend political boundaries” as they cast their ballots in the November election.

“I urge you to make your judgment based on results and not rhetoric,” she said during her taped remarks at Mellon Auditorium, citing criminal justice reform and health care.

Like half-brother Donald Trump Jr.’s remarks to the convention on Monday, she declined to share personal stories about her father in her remarks, instead opting to speak to his efforts to “challenge the establishment” and briefly referencing his faith and “uncompromising heart.” Trump, 26, is the daughter of the President and Marla Maples.

Her parents divorced in 1999, and Trump was raised by her mother in California. She currently resides in Washington, DC.

And like her father, she went after the media and “tech giants” for what she described as “bias” and “manipulation,” at times questioning the veracity of the media.

But she also cast a more bipartisan tone than many of the convention’s speakers: “Our nation suffers by inhibiting our diversity of thought and inclusion of ideas. Working together outside of our political comfort zones will accomplish so much more.” 

Trump also represented the many Americans who graduated last spring and are facing a tough job market. A 2020 Georgetown Law School graduate, she nodded to those challenges.

“Our generation is unified in facing the future in uncertain times — and many of us are considering what kind of country we want to live in. As a recent graduate, I can relate to so many of you who might be looking for a job. My father built a thriving economy once, and believe me, he will do it again,” she said. 


9:45 p.m. ET, August 25, 2020

Fact check: Is Trump the first US President to speak about religious freedom at UN?

From CNN's Daniel Dale

Cissie Graham Lynch — a member of the Trump campaign’s evangelical advisory board and the granddaughter of famed evangelist Billy Graham — said, “President Trump became the first president to talk about the importance of religious freedom at the United Nations.” 

Facts First: This is not true. Previous presidents, including Barack Obama, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, have all spoken about the importance of religious freedom in speeches to the UN General Assembly. Trump himself has previously made a narrower claim than Graham Lynch did – saying that he is the first president to host a UN meeting specifically devoted to the topic of religious freedom. (We haven’t yet looked into that Trump claim.)

In Obama’s 2015 address to the UN General Assembly, he argued that freedom of “peaceful worship” is a self-evident universal truth that is not dependent on an individual country’s culture. In 2016, he called for equal treatment for “a religious minority in Myanmar.” In his 2014 address, Obama denounced the terrorist group ISIS for starving “religious minorities.” 

George W. Bush made appeals for religious freedom in various speeches to the UN General Assembly. He said in 2005 that he has an “agenda for a freer world, where people can live and worship and raise their children as they choose.” In a 2007 address, Bush too denounced the government of Myanmar (also known as Burma) for restricting freedom of worship, and later said of the world in general, “With the commitment and courage of this chamber, we can build a world where people are free to speak, assemble, and worship as they wish.” In his 2008 address, he also called on nations to allow people to “worship as they choose.” 

In George H.W. Bush’s 1991 address, he spoke of the need to defend “inalienable human rights” such as religious freedom, saying that “government has failed” if citizens “can’t practice their religion freely.”

In Reagan’s 1986 address, he castigated the Soviet Union for persecuting religious leaders. 

9:37 p.m. ET, August 25, 2020

Fact check: Rand Paul's claims on Trump's position on the Iraq War are misleading

From CNN's Tara Subramaniam

Sen. Rand Paul.
Sen. Rand Paul. Republican National Convention

Sen. Rand Paul said he’s supporting President Donald Trump because he seeks to end wars and not start them, citing Trump’s position on the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq. 

Paul said, “Joe Biden voted for the Iraq War, which President Trump has long called the worst geopolitical mistake of our generation.”

Facts FirstPaul’s comments about Trump’s stance on the war are misleading. It’s true that Biden voted for the war in 2002, though he did acknowledge a few years later that his vote was a mistake.

Though Trump himself has repeatedly claimed to have opposed the war before it began, he only became an explicit opponent of the war more than a year after it began. He even expressed tentative support for the invasion in late 2002 and in his 2000 book, "The America We Deserve," Trump argued that a military strike on Iraq might be necessary.

You can read more about Trump’s past comments about the war in Iraq here.

9:38 p.m. ET, August 25, 2020

Minnesota mayor: "The Iron Range's economic future and survival is at stake"

From CNN's Kate Sullivan

Mayor Robert Vlaisavljevich.
Mayor Robert Vlaisavljevich. Republican National Convention

Eveleth, Minnesota, Mayor Robert Vlaisavljevich, who says he has been a lifelong Democrat, praised President Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention and said this election, the “Iron Range’s economic future and survival is at stake.”

My father and grandfather earned their livings mining the raw materials that made the steel that built America,” Vlaisavljevich said. “This election is a make or break for workers who are carrying on the legacy of men like them.”

Vlaisavljevich said “for far too long … both parties allowed our country to be ripped off by our trading partners, especially by China.”

But he said four years after Trump was elected, “the Iron Range is roaring back to life, and we have one man to thank: President Donald Trump.” Vlaisavljevich said Trump has fulfilled his campaign promises by lowering taxes and rolling back regulations. 

He said this election, “the Iron Range’s economic future and survival is at stake, and so is America’s. We know we can count on President Trump to fight for us and win.” 

The Iron Range refers to several iron-ore mining districts around Lake Superior in the United States and Canada.

9:27 p.m. ET, August 25, 2020

RNC's Tuesday lineup shows how Trump's campaign views its path to 270 electoral votes

Analysis from CNN's Eric Bradner

The opening hour of Tuesday's Republican National Convention offered a clear window into how President Donald Trump's campaign believes it can reach 270 electoral votes.

Three early speakers, including a dairy farmer, hailed from Wisconsin. And a lobster farmer from Maine offered a narrow, but policy-focused, case for Trump's re-election.

Trump has trailed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, three states he won in 2016. Setting those aside, if he were to hold onto every other state he won that year, he'd have 259 electoral votes.

Many Republicans believe Trump's best shot at reversing his fortunes in the Upper Midwest is in Wisconsin, where a win would earn him 10 more electoral votes, totaling 269 — one away from victory.

And Maine, though a Democratic-leaning state, has two congressional districts —and splits its electoral votes, with two going to the statewide winner and one each going to the winner of those districts. If Trump were to lose the state, but win the 2nd District — a rural district where lobster farming is a major industry — he'd land at exactly 270 electoral votes and win a second term.

9:29 p.m. ET, August 25, 2020

Covington Catholic teen criticizes cancel culture in RNC speech

From CNN’s Maegan Vazquez

Nicholas Sandmann, a Kentucky teenager who was at the center of a viral video controversy, used his personal story to condemn cancel culture and argue that President Trump and conservatives are treated unfairly by the press. 

Sandmann was filmed while wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat with his student group at the Lincoln Memorial after his group encountered other groups of protesters. He sued numerous news organizations and so far, has reached settlements with The Washington Post and CNN.

Sandmann said in a speech at the Republican convention on Tuesday that after video of the interaction with protesters in Washington, DC, went public, his life changed forever.

Speaking about the lawsuits against news organizations, Sandmann said he “fought back hard to expose the media for what they did to me and I won a personal victory. While much more must be done, I look forward to the day that the media returns to providing balanced, responsible and accountable news coverage.” 

“I know President Trump hopes for that too,” he continued. “And I know you’ll agree with me when we say no one in this county has been a victim of unfair media coverage more than President Donald Trump.”

10:07 p.m. ET, August 25, 2020

Van Jones: Trump pardon at political convention "cheapens it"

From CNN's Leinz Vales

CNN's Van Jones said Tuesday that he "loved" that President Donald Trump pardon John Ponder, a convicted bank robber, but added that he felt torn about the pardon, because it was done at the Republican National Convention.

"It's a very good thing to show the country that redemption is possible," Jones said. "But I think it cheapens it when you do it in a political convention, and you do it in a political way, because then it begins to look like you're just doing it as a stunt."

Jones, a former Obama administration official, who worked with the Trump administration on The First Step Act, a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill signed into law December 2018, said that Ponder was deserving of the clemency, but was inappropriate to be done at a political convention.

"What we need to do is fix the whole pardoning clemency process, make it rational, take it out of the Department of Justice and put it in the White House," Jones added. "I don't think it's appropriate to do it at a political convention, because I think you take up something that's very sacred, a sacred power the President has. And you wind up cheapening it and using it as a political stunt."


12:04 a.m. ET, August 26, 2020

Facts check: Claims on the Obama vs. Trump economies

From CNN's Anneken Tappe

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow claimed that President Donald Trump inherited a “stagnant economy on the front end of recession” from the Obama administration, adding that the Trump White House rebuilt the economy in three years. 

Facts firstThis is misleading. The US economy was growing 1.7% in 2016 when Trump was elected. It continued to grow after he took office, especially after the 2017 tax cuts. 

America emerged from the Great Recession in the third quarter of 2009 and grew continuously with only a few hiccups – small GDP declines in 2011 and 2014 -- from there on out throughout the rest of President Barack Obama’s presidency. The length of the expansion provoked fears of a slowdown, but the Republican-led tax cuts in 2017 produced additional growth in 2018.   

In 2019, the US economy broke the record as the longest expansion in history, but economists grew concerned that the expansion might have run its course. Slowing global economic growth and a contracting manufacturing sector in the United States were among the biggest concerns, even before the coronavirus pandemic tipped the US into recession. 

Read more from CNN’s Tara Subramaniam and Katie Lobosco here.

12:40 a.m. ET, August 26, 2020

Kudlow praises Trump's leadership during coronavirus: "Our economic choice is very clear"

Larry Kudlow, Director of the United States National Economic Council.
Larry Kudlow, Director of the United States National Economic Council. Republican national Convention

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow used his Republican National Convention address to tout President Trump's economic policies and his leadership during the coronavirus pandemic.

Kudlow said that the country is coming out of hardship, and the economic health is "coming back.

"Then came a once in 100 year pandemic. It was awful. Health and economic impacts were tragic. Hardship and heartbreak were everywhere. But presidential leadership came swiftly and effectively, with an extraordinary rescue for health and safety to successfully fight the coronavirus," Kudlow said.

Kudlow praised Trump's measures during Covid-19 and said the "bipartisan rescue also saved the economy."

"Right now, our economic health is coming back with emergency spending and tax cuts, Americans are going back to work," Kudlow said. "There's a housing boom, there's an auto boom, a manufacturing boom, a consumer spending boom."

The adviser said "looking ahead" more tax cuts and regulatory roll back will be "in store."

Kudlow said the "economic choice is very clear" this election.

"Coming out of the deep pandemic, who in their right mind would pick the pockets of taxpayers and drain money from their wallets and purses. Look, our economic choice is very clear. Do you want economic health, prosperity, opportunity and optimism or do you want to turn back to the dark days of stagnation, recession and pessimism? I believe there can't be better economic policies than we've had in recent years. So I say, stay with them," Kudlow said in closing.