Key Moments from the First Night of the Republican National Convention


As the first night of the Republican National Convention began, viewers sat on the edge of their seats in anticipation of what was to come. Hosted in Charlotte, North Carolina, unlike the DNC which was entirely virtual, the event was a “pared-down version of an in-person gathering,” according to the New York Times. Seventeen scheduled speakers took the stage to support the reelection of President Trump and introduced the issues of border security, free and fair trade, and protection of the 2nd Amendment which the party will be focusing on in the coming months. President Trump plans to speak every night of the convention, criticizing Democrats for having all previously taped speeches last week. “We’re going to have more of it live than what they did,” the President said. “I think it’s pretty boring when you do tapes.”
On night 1 of the RNC, speakers portrayed the theme of the night, “A Land of Promise,” as they applauded Trump on his response to the coronavirus pandemic and the plan to dissolve economic and social decline. The first night of previous RNC and GOP conventions have been upbeat, giving hope and spreading positivity to the people. However, this particular lineup of people started the weeklong event by bashing the Democratic party’s messages from the DNC last week.

National Republican Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel began her speech by criticizing the Democratic party’s choice of starting their convention with a speech from actress Eva Longoria. Comparing her real-life experience as a Michigan housewife to the actress’s portrayal of one, she claimed Longoria was only “a famous Hollywood actress who played a housewife on TV.” McDaniel proceeded to commend herself as the second woman in 164 years to sit as Chair of the Republican National Committee. “Unlike Joe Biden,” McDaniel went on, “President Trump didn’t choose me because I’m a woman,” praising his selection of individuals to work alongside him purely because of their skill. McDaniel wrapped up her speech by encouraging the nation to re-elect President Trump for a second term.

Later in the night, a nurse took the stage to show her support for President Trump. Amy Ford, a registered nurse for 17 years and a resident of Williamson, West Virginia who has helped the fight against COVID-19 in New York and San Antonio, had a brief speech about the federal government’s response to the pandemic. Although much criticism continues today about his handling of the pandemic, she praised the President saying that “President Trump recognized the threat this virus presented for all Americans early on.” His “quick action and leadership saved thousands of lives.”
Later in the night current President Donald Trump and current Vice President Mike Pence both spoke. Pence began with a clear message, “America needs four more years of President Donald Trump in the White House,” stating that President Trump “revived [the] economy through cutting taxes, rolling back regulations, unleashing American energy, and fighting for free and fair trade.” He continued to support and endorse Republican candidates everywhere with a promise that they will “uphold the God-given liberties enshrined in our constitution,” referring to the freedom of speech, religion, and the right to keep and bear arms.

Before introducing the issues that the Trump administration will tackle if Trump is re-elected in November, Pence turned his attention to the Democratic Party and presidential candidate, Joe Biden, who he believes to “have been overtaken by the radical left.” To conclude his speech, Pence assured their supporters that the GOP will lower taxes, move towards free-market economics, secure the borders, protect the right to life by restricting access to abortions, and support law enforcement amid continuing Black Lives Matter protests.

Recent events sparked huge social justice movements for equality and proper treatment of Black Americans by the police. Being the only African-American Republic Senator, Tim Scott gave his insight. Scott proceeded with a speech about his personal experience with racial injustice, claiming “[his] family went from cotton to Congress in one lifetime.” Scott offered a vision of hope and a fight for reconciliation for Black Americans and the police focusing “on the promise of the American Journey” for all.

The main speaker of the night, although he was not on the official schedule, was President Donald Trump who began his hour-long speech with an attack against mail-in voting and the Democratic Party, calling it “the greatest scam in the history of politics,” and accusing the Democrats of “trying to steal the election from the Republicans,” although his claims lack any substantive evidence. He also briefly touched on unity in the country claiming that “the best way to bring unity is a success.” About midway through his speech, he turned his focus to Joe Biden. He made claims that if Biden is elected, “China will own our country,” and that the “American dream will be dead,” although neither of these claims have facts to support them.

In the last twenty minutes of his speech, he recalled the actions that his administration had taken in the past four years and revealed his plan for the next four years if he is re-elected in November. This plan includes the protection of the 2nd Amendment, lowering of prescription prices, bringing jobs back from China and other countries, further tariffs towards countries that take advantage of the United States, an increase in funding and hiring within law enforcement, continue criminal justice reform under the First Step Act, the reimplementation of NASA, and ridding the country of “sanctuary cities” which are used to provide safety to people who reside in the country illegally to encourage them to use health and social services and enroll their children in school without fear of being deported.

He concluded his speech with a promise to the Republican voters, that “every Republican has sworn to [protect their] pre-existing conditions,” such as their freedom of speech and religion and right to keep and bear arms. As the night ended, the President emphasized the importance of getting as many votes in as possible so change will happen, President Trump, calling it “the most important election in the history of our country.” The Vice President speaks again on Wednesday, August 26, 2020, and President Trump has another speech planned for Thursday, August 27, 2020.