2020 Republican National Convention
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2020 Republican National Convention

2020 Republican National Convention
2020 presidential election
2020 Republican National Convention logo.png
Trump Oval 2020.png Pence Oval 2020.png
Nominees
Trump and Pence
Convention
Date(s)August 24-27, 2020
CityCharlotte, North Carolina (day 1)
Washington, D.C. and various locations remotely (days 1-4)
VenueCharlotte Convention Center (day 1)
Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium and various locations remotely (days 1-4)
ChairRonna McDaniel
Notable speakers
Candidates
Presidential nomineeDonald Trump of Florida
Vice presidential nomineeMike Pence of Indiana
Voting
Total delegates2,550
Votes needed for nomination1,276
Results (president)Donald Trump (FL): 2,550 (100.00%)
Results (vice president)Mike Pence (IN): 2,550 (100.00%)
Ballots1
2016  ·  2024 >

The 2020 Republican National Convention was a presidential nominating convention in which delegates of the United States Republican Party selected the party's nominees for president and vice president in the 2020 United States presidential election, held from August 24 to 27, 2020.[1]

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States,[2] plans to convene a traditional large-scale convention were cancelled a few weeks before the convention. Primary venues included the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C., with many other remote venues also being utilized. The convention re-nominated President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

The convention was originally scheduled to be held at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, but on June 2, 2020, Trump and the Republican National Committee pulled the event from Charlotte after the North Carolina state government declined to agree to Trump's demands to allow the convention to take place with a full crowd and without public health measures designed to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as social distancing and face coverings.[3] Trump then announced that the convention would be moved to Jacksonville, Florida, but subsequently cancelled the Jacksonville convention plans on July 23.[2] Some convention proceedings, albeit dramatically reduced in scale, were still held in Charlotte,[4] such as "small, formal business meetings."[5] The party held the rest of the events and festivities, including Trump's acceptance speech, remotely from various locations including Fort McHenry and the White House.[6] By tradition, because Republicans currently hold the presidency, their convention was held after the 2020 Democratic National Convention, which was held from August 17-20.[7] Former White House director of management and administration Marcia Lee Kelly was named convention president and CEO in April 2019.[8][9]

Trump faced only token opposition in the Republican primaries and caucuses, and unofficially clinched the Republican nomination in March 2020, when he reached 1,276 pledged delegates.[10]

Trump and Pence went on to lose the general election to the Democratic ticket of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Background

Original site selection

The Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, was originally to be the site of the convention.

Las Vegas, Nevada, and Charlotte, North Carolina, were mentioned as possible locations for the 2020 RNC due to their locations within "swing states." Neither had ever hosted a Republican National Convention, although Charlotte had hosted the 2012 Democratic National Convention. A Charlotte television station, WBTV, reported that Charlotte, Las Vegas, and "another unnamed city in Texas, which sources at the meeting said were likely either Dallas or San Antonio" were finalists to host the convention.[11] Other sources named Dallas, Texas,[12] and New York City, New York,[13] as prospective hosts, while Las Vegas, Nevada;[14][15]Nashville, Tennessee;[16]Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;[15] and San Antonio, Texas[12][15] had been under consideration earlier. However, Charlotte was the only city in the country to officially submit a bid for the convention.[17] On July 18, 2018, the RNC Site Selection Committee voted unanimously to recommend holding the convention in Charlotte.[18] The Republican National Committee made the selection official on July 20.[19]

Following President Trump's rally in Greenville, North Carolina, the Charlotte City Council proposed retracting their bid to host the convention. All nine Democrats on the city council voted on a measure calling Trump a racist for his statement ("good people on both sides" of the statue debate).[20] The city met in closed sessions with an attorney regarding their contract to host the convention. A conclusion was made that breaking the contract would likely end with the city being taken to court and forced to host the convention. A resolution was eventually approved by the Charlotte City Council.[21]

Relocation to Jacksonville and reversal

A low but large 5-story brick and glass building, with the letters "Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena" mounted above the entrance.
The VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, was to be the main site of the 2020 Republican National Convention.

On May 25, 2020, Trump raised the possibility of moving the convention out of Charlotte after North Carolina governor Roy Cooper stated that the convention would need to be scaled down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On June 2, 2020, after weeks of failed negotiations, Governor Cooper rejected the plans submitted by the Republican Party to host a full-scale convention. Trump announced the cancellation via tweet, stating, "Because of [Cooper], we are now forced to seek another state to host the 2020 Republican National Convention."

RNC officials stressed that the mechanics of the convention would still be held in Charlotte.[22] "The RNC's Executive Committee has voted unanimously to allow the official business of the national convention to continue in Charlotte. Many other cities are eager to host the president's acceptance of the nomination, and we are currently in talks with several of them to host that celebration," said RNC communications director Michael Ahrens.

Republican National Committee officials reportedly considered cities including Atlanta, Dallas, Jacksonville, Nashville, New Orleans, Orlando, Phoenix, and Savannah, and even visited some of these cities.[23][24][25]

On June 11, the Republican National Committee confirmed that the main events and speeches of the convention would move to Jacksonville, Florida, including Trump's nomination acceptance speech on August 27 at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. However, the convention's official business will remain in Charlotte with a greatly reduced agenda and number of delegates.[26][27] August 24 was to see a portion of the convention hosted in Charlotte, with the following three days of the convention being held in Jacksonville.[28]

On July 16, the Jacksonville Republican National Convention Host Committee sent out a letter announcing that, in addition to the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, other venues in Jacksonville would be used, including TIAA Bank Field, Daily's Place, 121 Financial Park, and "several other" venues".[29]

However, with the explosion of COVID-19 cases peaking at above 15,000 cases per day in mid-July,[30] the possibility of the Jacksonville convention being canceled as well began to be discussed.[31] Several of the local health restrictions in Charlotte that had prompted the RNC to seek a different location--requirements for people to wear masks and practice social distancing--were later adopted by Jacksonville.[32] Sen. Chuck Grassley, who is 86, said he would skip the convention for the first time in 40 years due to the risk of COVID-19.[33]

On July 23, Trump announced that RNC events scheduled in Jacksonville, Florida, had been cancelled, saying, "The timing for the event is not right."[34][35][36] However, Trump also announced that delegate business will still continue in Charlotte.[5]

Relocation to Washington, D.C.

Much of the convention took place at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C.

On August 14, it was announced that much of the convention would take place at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. (part of the William Jefferson Clinton Federal Building), which would serve as the convention's "central hub".[37][38]

Convention committees, meetings before the Convention

Committee on Platform

Rather than adopting a new party platform,[39] the Republicans decided simply to recycle their 2016 party platform,[40] including several references to the "current president" and attacks on "the administration" (which in 2016 referred to Barack Obama and the Obama administration).[41] The decision was criticized by Republican activists.[42] In a tweet, Trump said that he would "prefer a new and updated platform, short form, if possible."[43]

The RNC did not do this, just issuing a one-page document stating opposition to the "Obama/Biden administration" and supporting President Trump's instead.[44][45]

Committee on Arrangements

On August 1, a Republican convention spokesperson said that, "Given the health restrictions and limitations in place within the state of North Carolina, we are planning for the Charlotte activities to be closed press" for the entirety of the convention.[46] The decision to bar press was criticized by the White House Correspondents' Association.[46][47] However, a Republican National Committee official cited by the Associated Press indicated that "no final decisions have been made and that logistics and press coverage options were still being evaluated."[48]

Only one-sixth of the delegates (336 out of 2,550) gathered physically in Charlotte,[46][48] with six delegates from each state and territory.[49] On August 5, convention planners announced a number of health and safety rules for the delegates, vendors, and staff who will gather physically.[49]

On August 12, the chairman of the credentials committee, Doyle Webb, said that a tiny group of reporters will indeed be permitted to cover the one-day official convention and the nominations of Trump and Pence.[50]

Republican National Committee meetings

The Republican National Committee had its semi-annual meeting from August 21 to 23.[51] It was closed to the press.[50][52]

Logistics

The convention, as originally planned to be held in Charlotte, was initially anticipated to attract 50,000 visitors to the city.[53]

Fireworks display

On August 14, the Republican National Committee filed an application with the National Park Service requesting to utilize the National Mall, including the Washington Monument, for a fireworks display on the convention's closing night. Their application was approved. Their application stated that a 50-person crew would set up the display, adhering to D.C.'s temporary prohibition on gatherings larger than 50 people.[54][55][56] The RNC pledged to reimburse the National Park Service for all expenses they'd face related to the display.[57]

The display was reported to consist of more than 7,800 fireworks.[57] The display included fireworks which spelled-out the words "Trump 2020".[58][59]

The display was created by Fireworks by Grucci, and cost the Trump campaign $477,000.[54][60]

The use of property owned by the National Park Service for the convention's closing fireworks display was argued by some experts to raise ethics concerns that may be in violation of the Hatch Act.[61][62][63]

Journalist Ken Vogel suggested that the fireworks display may have violated a D.C. noise ordinance.[64]

Host committees

Charlotte

Charlotte businessman John Lassiter served as the president and CEO of the Charlotte 2020 Host Committee.[65] Ned Curran, Doug Lebda, and Walter Price served as co-chairs, and were named to those positions in 2018.[53][65]

The host committee appointed Stephanie Batsell as its volunteer coordinator, John Burleson as its communications director, Heather Dodgins as its director of donor engagement, Haley Habenicht as its events manager, Rachel Kelley as its finance director, and Stephanie Speers as its accounting manager.[66]

The committee originally reported raising $44 million for the convention.[67] Due to the majority of the event being shifted away from Charlotte, the Charlotte host committee had millions in leftover funds which it could distribute with few restrictions.[67] The committee originally promised in mid-August to give $3.2 million in funds to local nonprofits and community groups.[68] However, by October, they had only distributed under $400,000 in funds.[67]

Jacksonville

Jacksonville formed their own host committee after being awarded the convention.

The committee's members were announced in mid-June. Jacksonville mayor Lenny Curry and lobbyist Brian Ballard co-chaired the committee.[69][70] The committee had originally named 32 initial members, including the two co-chairs.[69][70] The initial 30 additional members were Pet Paradise president and CEO Fernando Acosta-Rua; Corner Lot Properties founder Andy Allen; Sunshine Gasoline Distributors founder Maximo Alvarez; FRP Holdings, Inc. chairman and CEO John Baker; former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi; Florida state senator Rob Bradley; president and CEO of GreenPointe Holdings, LLC Ed Burr; U.S. Sugar senior vice president Robert Coker; Visit Jacksonville president and CEO Michael Corrigan; J.B. Coxwell Contracting president J. David Coxwell; Jodi Coxwell; Florida state representative Travis Cummings; JAX Chamber president and CEO Daniel Davis; Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association president and CEO Carol Dover; Jacksonville Transportation Authority CEO Nat Ford; president of the Florida Senate Bill Galvano; Miranda Contracting president Josh Garrison; health official Leon L. Haley Jr.; Bishop Vaughn McLaughin; Morales Construction Co. president Rick Morales; speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Jose Oliva; businessman Tom Petway; US Assure CEO Ty Petway; The Vestcor Companies founder John Rood; U.S. congressman John Rutherford; Florida Senate president designate Wilton Simpson; Florida House of Representatives speaker designate Chris Sprowls; Total Military Management COO Kent Stermon; JAXUSA Partnership president Aundra Walalce, and U.S. congressman Michael Waltz.[69][70]

After the initial members were announced, Bishop Vaughn McLaughlin denied his participation, despite having been listed as a member.[71]

Leon Haley Jr. left his position on the committee days after his membership was announced.[72]

The committee reported having raised $4,650,135.20.[73] As of October 2020, the committee had $840,000 in unspent funds.[73]

Location of Trump's acceptance speech

Stage being erected at the White House for Trump's acceptance speech

On July 28, Trump said that he would accept the nomination in person in Charlotte.[74] However, on August 5, he said he would "likely" accept the Republican nomination from the White House.[75][76][77] A decision to accept a party's nomination from the White House would break a norm;[76][77] the Associated Press noted that it would "mark an unprecedented use of federal property for partisan political purposes."[78] The proposed plans also raised legal questions under the Hatch Act, which creates certain prohibitions on the use of public resources for political activity, and the legality of the plan was questioned by Republican senators Ron Johnson and John Thune.[76] While the president is exempt from the Hatch Act's restrictions, the law applies to other federal employees. The ethics director of the Campaign Legal Center stated that "any federal employee who helps facilitate the acceptance speech risks violating the Hatch Act."[78][clarification needed] Nonetheless, Trump tweeted that he had decided to hold it on the White House lawn anyway, announcing on August 13 that he had finalized this decision.[79] It was ultimately decided that Trump's speech would be delivered from the South Lawn.[80]

Since Trump accepted his nomination remotely, it was the first time a Republican nominee has done so since Alf Landon in 1936.[81] Since Democratic nominee Joe Biden also accepted the Democratic nomination remotely (the first time a Democrat has done so since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944); 2020 was the first election since 1928 in which neither major-party nominee accepted their nominations in-person.

Security

The convention host committee's director of security was Robert "Bob" O'Donnell, and its deputy director of security was Max Poux.[82]

For the opening day, in which daytime events were held in Charlotte, several roads were closed near and surrounding the Charlotte Convention Center.[83] Local transit services, including the Lynx Light Rail, were modified.[83] A temporary ban on flying unmanned aerial vehicles was put in place in the Charlotte area.[83][84] The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department spent $17 million in expenditures related to the convention.[85]

The Republican National Convention was originally to be a National Special Security Event. The originally-planned Charlotte convention had been awarded this status.[86][87] The plans for a convention in Jacksonville had also been awarded this status.[88][89] Jacksonville had been given $30 million federal grants for security.[90]

The city of Jacksonville had paid $69,777 to a consulting company that was assisting them in security.[90]

When the convention was slated for Jacksonville, there had been concern expressed by Duval County sheriff Mike Williams over the ability of local law enforcement to provide security, due to poor funding and lack of advance planning due to the late change of venue.[91]

Convention leadership

Toni Anne Dashiell served as the chairwoman for the RNC Committee on arrangements for the convention.[82] Former White House director of management and administration Marcia Lee Kelly was named convention president and CEO in April 2019.[92][93] Stephen "Max" Everett served as the convention's vice president and chief information officer.[82]

Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel also served on the convention's leadership team.[82]

Other leadership team members included chief of program Whitney Anderson, deputy director of buildout Luke Bullock, chief of staff and director of ticketing Chirstine "CC" Cobaugh, deputy director of operations Kelly Eaton, director of commmunications Blair Ellis, national press secretary Tatum Gibson, director of signature events coordination Kelsey Gorman, deputy director of external affairs Susan Haney, director of transportation Dustin Hendrix, digital director Doug Hochberg, deputy director of finance Jinger Kelley, deputy director of logistics flow & signage Andy King, deputy director of transportation Thomas Krol, director of logistics flow & signange Edith "Dee Dee" Lancaster, counsel Joy Lee, chief of infrastructure Christine "Chris" Lesko, director of delegate experience Diandra Lopez, chief financial officer Thomas Maxwell, chief public affairs officer Dan McCarthy, director of administration Mallory McGough, director of security Robert "Bob" O'Donnell, chief logistics officer Jonathan "Jonny" Oringdulph, director of special projects Yandrick Paraison, director of community affairs Russell Peck, deputy director of security Max Poux, director of executive operations Christopher Reese, director of operations James Sample, and deputy director of administration Megan Schenewerk.[82]

Format

The nomination event took place in Charlotte, North Carolina, as the party was contractually obligated to conduct its official business there.[94] Only just over 300 delegates were expected to attend.[95]

The main speeches took place every night from 8:30 to 11:00 p.m. EDT.[96] Headlining speakers spoke after 10:00 p.m.[96] The speeches took place in Washington, DC,[97] rather than in Charlotte.[96]

Selection of pledged delegates

The base number of pledged delegates that are allocated to each of the 50 states is 10 at-large delegates, plus 3 district delegates for each congressional district. A fixed number of pledged delegates are allocated to Washington D.C., and each of the five U.S. territories. Bonus delegates are awarded to each state and territory based on whether it has elected (if applicable) through December 31, 2019 (after the 2019 off-year elections): a Republican governor, Republican majorities in either one or both chambers in its state legislature, one or two Republicans to the U.S. Senate, or a Republican majority in its delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives. A state is also awarded additional bonus delegates if it carried the Republican candidate, Trump, in the 2016 presidential election.[98]

Pre-convention delegate count

Under the original plan, 2,550 delegates and half as many alternates were to attend the convention.

Only 336 delegates were able to attend the nomination.[99]

Presidential and vice-presidential balloting

With most of the convention canceled, proxy voting via the attendees was the method of choice.[100] Donald Trump, the sole candidate, received 2,550 certified votes (100% of the total).[]

Since 1988, the vice-presidential nomination has been ratified by voice vote. It did so again this time, in the case of Mike Pence.[]

Once the convention was over, the festivities moved to the nation's capital, and speeches, entertainments and other surprises were presented from venues throughout the country.[101]

Schedule

Charlotte: Monday, August 24

Morning session

Republican National Convention
Official Re-Nomination
video iconOfficial convention stream via YouTube[102]
The Charlotte Convention Center was the site of the August 24 morning session of the convention
President Trump arriving in Charlotte for the morning session of the convention

The official business of the 2020 Republican National Convention, including the formal nominations of President Trump and Vice President Pence, was held in Charlotte, North Carolina.[96][52][103]

The 336 delegates met in the morning from 9 a.m. EDT,[104][105] after which the committee reports were read and voted on.

Scott Walker placed Pence's name in nomination,[106][107] who was nominated by voice vote. This was the first time the vice-presidential nomination came first. Michael Whatley,[108] the chair of the North Carolina Republican Party, placed the president's name in nomination and Florida state senator Joe Gruters seconded the nomination. This was followed by the traditional roll-call of the states.[109]

The roll-call was interrupted by addresses from Walker, Vice President Pence, and President Trump himself, who spoke over an hour.[110] All of them addressed the crowd in-person, having flown to Charlotte.[111]

Select speakers:

Speaker Position/notability Location Notes Cite
Ronna McDaniel (1).jpg Ronna McDaniel Chair of the Republican National Committee Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina MC of the business session. [112][113]
Scott Walker by Gage Skidmore 4 (1).jpg Scott Walker Former governor of Wisconsin Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina Roll call address [110][111]
Mike Pence official Vice Presidential portrait (cropped).jpg Mike Pence Nominee for second term as vice president of the United States Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina Pre-acceptance thank-you speech [37][114]
Donald Trump official portrait (1).jpg Donald Trump Nominee for a second term as president of the United States Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina Pre-acceptance MAGA rally speech [96][79][115]

Washington, D.C.: August 24-27

With the official convention business over, the four-night entertainment event was anchored at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C.,[37] with various other events taking place in that city and elsewhere.

Most speeches were pre-taped.[116]

At events with in-person audiences, such as First Lady Melania Trump and Vice President Mike Pence's speeches, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-recommended practices of protective masks and social distancing were largely absent.[117]

August 24: Evening session

Republican National Convention
Pool Feeds
Night 1
video icon from C-SPAN via YouTube[118]
video icon from PBS NewsHour via YouTube[119]

Theme: Land Of Promise[96]

8:30-11:00 p.m. EDT[96]

Schedule:

  • Invocation
  • Pledge of Allegiance
  • Main convention program

Select speakers (in order of appearance):

Speaker Position/notability Location Notes Cite
Timothy Dolan apr 2015 (1).jpg Timothy M. Dolan Cardinal,
Archbishop of New York
New York City, New York[] Invocation
Charlie Kirk by Gage Skidmore 2 (1).jpg Charlie Kirk Founder and president of Turning Point USA Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [112][120][121]
Matt Gaetz, official portrait, 116th Congress (1).jpg Matt Gaetz United States representative from Florida Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [112][120]
Kimberly Klacik Candidate for the U.S. House for Maryland's 7th district Baltimore, Maryland[] [112]
Ronna McDaniel (1).jpg Ronna McDaniel Chair of the Republican National Committee Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [112][113]
Jim Jordan official photo, 114th Congress (1).jpg Jim Jordan United States representative from Ohio [112][120]
Herschel Walker in May 2018 (1).jpg Herschel Walker Former football player [113]
VernonJones.jpg Vernon Jones Georgia State Representative (Democratic) Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [112][113]
Andrew Pollack at Israel suspension (1).jpg Andrew Pollack Father of Stoneman Douglas High School shooting victim Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [113][122][112]
Mark and Patricia McCloskey St. Louis, Missouri, couple involved in an incident with Black Lives Matter protesters in June 2020 St. Louis, Missouri [112][113]
180720 KimberlyGuilfoyle 248 wiki (cropped).jpg Kimberly Guilfoyle Trump campaign official, girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr., and former Fox News television personality Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [112][120]
Steve Scalise 116th Congress official photo (1).jpg Steve Scalise United States representative from Louisiana and House minority whip Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [112][120]
Sean Parnell U.S. Army veteran and candidate for the U.S. House from Pennsylvania's 17th district Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [112][113]
Maximo Alvarez Cuban exile, Sunshine Gasoline Distributors founder and president Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [123]
Nikki Haley official photo (1).jpg Nikki Haley Former United States ambassador to the United Nations and former governor of South Carolina Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [113][112]
Donald Trump, Jr. (48513758216) (1).jpg Donald Trump Jr. Executive vice president of the Trump Organization and son of the presidential nominee Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [124]
Tim Scott, official portrait, 113th Congress (1).jpg Tim Scott United States senator from South Carolina Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [113][112]

Select film segments:

Tuesday, August 25

Republican National Convention
pool feeds
Night 2
video icon from C-SPAN via YouTube[125]
video icon from PBS NewsHour via YouTube[126]

8:30-11:00 p.m. EDT[96]

Theme: Land Of Opportunity[96]

  • Invocation by Pastor Norma Urrabazo[127]
  • Main convention ceremony

Select speakers (in order of appearance):

Speaker Position/notability Location Notes Cite
Norma Urrabazo[] Pastor Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. Invocation [127]
Myron Lizer (49567614317).jpg Myron Lizer Vice president of the Navajo Nation Shiprock Pinnacle in New Mexico [127][128]
Rand Paul, official portrait, 112th Congress alternate (1).jpg Rand Paul United States senator from Kentucky Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [127][128]
Larry Kudlow (25484250682) (1).jpg Larry Kudlow Director of the National Economic Council Redding, Connecticut[] [129]
Cissie Graham Lynch Daughter of Franklin Graham and granddaughter of Billy Graham Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [129]
Robert Vlaisavljevich Mayor of Eveleth, Minnesota[] (Democratic) Eveleth City Hall in Eveleth, Minnesota [129][128]
Abby Johnson con los voluntarios de DAV Ávila (17557509275) (2).jpg Abby Johnson Author known for anti-abortion film Unplanned Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [127][128]
Nicholas Sandmann Kentucky teen whose interaction with Native American activist Nathan Phillips on the National Mall went viral in 2019. Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. [127][128]
Bondi bio photo crop (1).jpg Pam Bondi Former attorney general of Florida
Impeachment defense counsel.
Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [129][128][130]
Tiffany Trump RNC 2016 cropped (1).jpg Tiffany Trump Daughter of the presidential nominee Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [129][104][131]
Kim Reynolds by Gage Skidmore (2).jpg Kim Reynolds Governor of Iowa Des Moines, Iowa[] [129][128]
Jeanette Nunez official photo (1).jpg Jeanette Núñez Lieutenant governor of Florida Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [129][128]
Eric Trump by Gage Skidmore (1).jpg Eric Trump Executive vice president of the Trump Organization and son of the presidential nominee Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [129][104][131]
Daniel Cameron Attorney general of Kentucky Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [127][128]
Mike Pompeo official photo (1).jpg Mike Pompeo United States secretary of state King David Hotel in Jerusalem, Israel [129][132][133][134]
Melania Trump official portrait (1).jpg Melania Trump First Lady of the United States, spouse of the presidential nominee White House Rose Garden in Washington, D.C. [129][104][131]

Mary Ann Mendoza had also been scheduled to speak. However, just hours before her part in the program, she posted a tweet in support of an antisemitic conspiracy theory and specifically highlighted its reference to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The RNC immediately canceled her appearance.[135]

Select video segments:

Wednesday, August 26

Republican National Convention
Pool Feeds
Night 3
video icon from C-SPAN via YouTube[136]
video icon from PBS NewsHour via YouTube[137]

8:30-11:00 p.m. EDT[96]

Schedule:

Theme: Land Of Heroes[96]

Select speakers (in order of appearance):

Speaker Position/notability Location Notes Cite
Aryeh Spero Rabbi Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. Invocation

Incorrectly listed as Shubert Spero by the RNC

[140]
Kristi Noem, Governor, South Dakota, USA (49007405033) (1).jpg Kristi Noem Governor of South Dakota Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [139][141]
Scott Dane Executive director of the Associated Contract Loggers & Truckers of Minnesota [139][128][142]
Marsha Blackburn, official photo, 116th Congress (1).jpg Marsha Blackburn United States senator from Tennessee Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [139][141]
Dan Crenshaw, official portrait, 116th Congress 2 (1).jpg Dan Crenshaw United States representative from Texas [139][141]
Portrait of U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Joseph K. Kellogg (1).jpg Keith Kellogg National security advisor to the vice president Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [139][143]
White House Press Briefing (49842842011) (cropped) (1).jpg Kayleigh McEnany White House Press Secretary Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [139]
Karen Pence official portrait 2 (1).jpg Karen Pence Second Lady of the United States, spouse of the
vice-presidential nominee
Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [139][141]
Kellyanne Conway 2018 (1).jpg Kellyanne Conway Counselor to the president Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [139][141]
Sister Deirdre "Dede" Byrne Member of the Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, colonel in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, general surgeon at the Spanish Catholic Center in Washington, D.C., pro-life activist[144] Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [139][141]
Lou Holtz cropped (1).jpg Lou Holtz Former football coach Orlando, Florida[] [139]
Michael McHale President of the National Association of Police Organizations Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [139][128]
Elise Stefanik, 115th official photo (1).jpg Elise Stefanik United States representative from New York Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [139][141]
Madison Cawthorn Candidate for the U.S. House from North Carolina's 11th district Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [139][141]
Jack Brewer Former football player Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [139][145]
Chen Guangcheng at US Embassy May 1, 2012 (1).jpg Chen Guangcheng Chinese civil rights activist Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [139]
Lee Zeldin new official portrait (1).jpg Lee Zeldin United States representative from New York Westhampton, New York [139][141]
Joni Ernst, official portrait, 116th Congress 2 (1).jpg Joni Ernst United States senator from Iowa [139][141]
Burgess Owens Former professional football player and candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in Utah Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [139][128]
Lara Trump 06-20-2018 Duluth, MN (1).jpg Lara Trump Trump campaign spokesperson and daughter-in-law of the president Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [139][141]
Clarence Henderson President of the North Carolina chapter of the Frederick Douglass Foundation[] Greensboro, North Carolina[] [139][128]
Richard Grenell official portrait (1).jpg Richard Grenell Former United States ambassador to Germany, former acting director of national intelligence Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [139][143]
Mike Pence official Vice Presidential portrait (cropped).jpg Mike Pence Nominee for vice president,
Vice President of the United States
Fort McHenry National Monument in Baltimore, Maryland Vice-presidential nomination acceptance speech [37][114][139]

Thursday, August 27

Republican National Convention
Pool Feeds
Night 4
video icon from C-SPAN via YouTube[146]
video icon from PBS NewsHour via YouTube[147]

8:30-11:00 p.m. EDT[96]

Theme: Land Of Greatness[96]

Schedule:

Speakers (in order of appearance):

Speaker Position/notability Location Notes Cite
Franklin Graham 2016 (1).jpg Franklin Graham Christian evangelist, son of Billy Graham Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. Invocation [141]
Kevin McCarthy, official photo, 116th Congress (1).jpg Kevin McCarthy House minority leader United States Capitol Grounds in Washington, D.C. [148][141]
Ja'Ron K. Smith (1).jpg Ja'Ron Smith Assistant to the president on domestic policy Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [148][141]
Jeff Van Drew Official Portrait 116th Congress (1).jpg Jeff Van Drew U.S. representative from New Jersey Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [148][141]
Dan Scavino by Gage Skidmore (1).jpg Dan Scavino White House deputy chief of staff for communications Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [148]
Mitch McConnell 2016 official photo (1).jpg Mitch McConnell Senate majority leader Louisville, Kentucky[] [148][141]
Dana White - London 2015 (1).jpg Dana White President of the UFC Las Vegas, Nevada[] [148][141]
Sean Reyes 220 8-18-14 (2).jpg Sean Reyes Utah attorney general Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [148]
Ann Dorn Widow of David Dorn St. Louis, Missouri[] [148][150]
Ben Carson official portrait (1).jpg Ben Carson Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [148][141]
Patrick Lynch President of the New York City Police Benevolent Association New York[] [148][151]
2019 Rudolph Giuliani, Ex-Prefeito de Nova York - 48789790128 (1).jpg Rudy Giuliani Former mayor of New York City Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [148][141]
Tom Cotton official Senate photo (1).jpg Tom Cotton United States senator from Arkansas Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [148][141]
Carl Mueller (30616441516) (1).jpg Carl Mueller Parents of Kayla Mueller, a humanitarian aid worker who was kidnapped and murdered by ISIS Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [148][150]
Marsha Mueller (49493560728).jpg Marsha Mueller
Alice Johnson - 2019 State of the Union Guests (40035011983) (cropped) (1).jpg Alice Marie Johnson Author and former federal prisoner whose sentence was commuted by President Trump in 2018 Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. [148][141]
Ivanka Trump official portrait (cropped).jpg Ivanka Trump Daughter of presidential nominee and senior advisor to the President South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C. Introduction speech for Donald Trump [148][152][153][154]
Donald Trump official portrait (1).jpg Donald Trump Nominee for president,

President of the United States

South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C. Presidential nomination acceptance speech [96][79][115][80]

Notable speeches

Kimberly Guilfoyle

Kimberly Guilfoyle (45677895161) (1).jpg
Presidential leadership is not guaranteed. It is a choice. Biden, Harris, and the rest of the socialists will fundamentally change this nation....They will defund, dismantle and destroy America's law enforcement. When you are in trouble and need police, don't count on the Democrats.

--Kimberly Guilfoyle at the 2020 Republican National Convention[155]

Kimberly Guilfoyle, a Trump campaign spokesperson and the girlfriend of the president's son Donald Trump, Jr., spoke on the opening night of the convention. She painted a stark picture of an America led by Democratic nominee Joe Biden.[155] Guilfoyle attacked Democrats, blaming them for a "cancel culture" amongst other attacks.[156] In part of her speech, she criticized the governance of California, a state whose governor was her ex-husband, Democratic governor Gavin Newsom.[157] Guilfoyle shouted most of her remarks, and her delivery was consequentially characterized as "loud".[155][157][158][159][160] Her speech was characterized as "dark" in its tone and delivery, for which it received some criticism from both conservative and liberal figures.[157]

Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley 2019 ALC keynote speech (1).jpg
In much of the Democratic Party, it's now fashionable to say that America is racist. That is a lie. America is not a racist country...America is a story that's a work in progress. Now is the time to build on that progress, and make America even freer, fairer and better for everyone. That's why it's so tragic to see so much of the Democratic Party turning a blind eye towards riots and rage

--Nikki Haley at the 2020 Republican National Convention[161]

Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley spoke on the opening night of the convention. Early into her speech, she quoted fellow former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Jeane Kirkpatrick as having said, "Democrats always blame America first".[161] This was a key line from Kirkpatrick's own speech to the 1984 Republican National Convention.[162]

In her speech, Haley invoked her parents, both immigrants from India.[163]

Haley also linked Democratic nominee Joe Biden with the "socialist left". Biden has admitted that he would be the "most progressive President in history".[164][165][163] She also painted the prospect of a Biden presidency as beneficial to the interests of China and Iran.[163] Haley offered strong criticism of the foreign policy of the Obama administration, in which Biden served as vice president.[161] She argued that while Trump "has a record of strength and success," Biden "has a record of weakness and failure," and that while Trump has "moved America forward," Biden has "held America back".[161]

Tim Scott

Tim Scott, official portrait, 113th Congress (1).jpg
My grandfather's 99th birthday would have been tomorrow. Growing up, he had to cross the street if a white person was coming. He suffered the indignity of being forced out of school as a third grader to pick cotton, and never learned to read or write. Yet, he lived to see his grandson become the first African American to be elected to both the United States House and Senate. Our family went from Cotton to Congress in one lifetime. And that's why I believe the next American century can be better than the last. There are millions of families like mine across this nation...full of potential seeking to live the American Dream. And I'm here tonight to tell you that supporting the Republican ticket gives you the best chance of making that dream a reality.

--Tim Scott at the 2020 Republican National Convention[166]

United States senator from South Carolina Tim Scott spoke on the opening night of the convention. In his speech, Scott declared that, "2020 has tested our nation in ways we haven't seen for decades," invoking the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor as having tested the United States.[166]

Scott praised the Trump administration's actions on police reform.[166] Scott cited the opportunity zones as something he had worked with Trump on creating (neglecting to mention the key involvement of Democrats Cory Booker and Ron Kind, who had proposed the idea in collaboration with Scott).[166][167]

Scott declared his support for school choice.[166] He declared opposition to "cancel culture".[166] He declared his belief in "the goodness of America".[166]

He quoted Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden as having said numerous remarks offensive to him as a black man.[166] He also criticized Biden's actions, such as his involvement in the 1994 Crime Bill.[166]

Scott accused Biden of wanting to give tax cuts to "blue state" millionaires as the expense of most Americans.[166] Scott painted Trump's own Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 as having benefitied "single moms, working families, and those in need".[166]

Scott attempted to tie Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris to socialism.[166] He declared, "Joe Biden's radical Democrats are trying to permanently transform what it means to be an American. Make no mistake, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris want a cultural revolution. A fundamentally different America. If we let them, they will turn our country into a socialist utopia, and history has taught us that path only leads to pain and misery, especially for hard-working people hoping to rise."[166]

Scott's speech also featured autobiographical elements.[166]

President Donald Trump

Donald Trump official portrait (1).jpg
From the moment I left my former life behind--and it was a good life--I have done nothing but fight for you. I did what our political establishment never expected and could never forgive, breaking the cardinal rule of Washington politics. I kept my promise. Together we have ended the rule of the failed political class, and they are desperate to get their power back by any means necessary. You have seen that. They are angry at me because instead of putting them first, I very simply said, "America first."

--Donald Trump at the 2020 Republican National Convention[168]

President Donald Trump delivered his acceptance speech on the final night of the convention from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C..[80]

Trump's speech sought to defend his own record as president, especially his administration's response to the COVID-19 pandemic,[169] which culminates in the quest for a DNA vaccine code-named Operation Warp Speed.[170]

Trump mentioned his main opponent, Democratic nominee Joe Biden, by name 41 times. In contrast, Biden's own Democratic nomination acceptance speech one week prior at featured no utterances of Trump's name.[171]

The speech cast Biden as "weak", and an instrument of left-wing portion of the Democratic Party, going as far as to dub him a "Trojan horse for socialism."[169] He also characterized Biden as a potential, "destroyer of American greatness."[172] The speech also attacked Biden's record.[168]

Personalities at CNN and USA Today identified more than 20 "false, exaggerated or misleading claims" in Trump's speech.[173][174]

According to the American Presidency Project, at 70 minutes duration, Trump's acceptance speech was the second-longest major-party nomination acceptance speech, behind only his own 2016 acceptance speech.[175]

Donald Trump Jr.

Donald Trump, Jr. (48513758216) (1).jpg
People of faith are under attack. You're not allowed to go to church, but mass chaos in the streets gets a pass. It's almost like this election is shaping up to be church, work and school versus rioting, looting and vandalism.

--Donald Trump Jr. at the 2020 Republican National Convention[163]

The son of the president spoke on the opening night of the convention. He cast a picture of a descent into anarchy, violence, and oppression if the Democratic ticket wins the election.[163] Trump Jr. portrayed the opposition as plotting to destroy the American way of life.[163] He warned that Democrats, "want to bully us into submission. If they get their way, it will no longer be the silent majority. It will be the silenced majority."[176] He also accused them of, "attacking the very principles on which our nation was founded--freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the rule of law."[163]

He derided his father's main opponent for the presidency, Democratic nominee Biden, with numerous nicknames, including "Beijing Biden" and "the Loch Ness Monster of the swamp".[163] He touted the shape of the economy prior to COVID-19, and blamed the pandemic on the Chinese Communist Party.[163]

Ivanka Trump

President Trump's eldest daughter spoke on the fourth night of the convention. "I'm Still Standing" by Elton John was played as Ivanka walked onto the stage. She first talked about how Donald Trump is "the people's president", and how her children love him. She then talked about how most politicians blame each other for problems, but that Donald Trump hasn't done that, and that "the best is yet to come" with regards to the country's achievements. Ivanka also talked about her father's various accomplishments in the construction industry, foreign trade, the COVID-19 pandemic, criminal justice, female unemployment, child care, tax cuts, pharmaceutical drugs, human trafficking, and foreign military intervention; she mentioned the release of Alice Marie Johnson, who was in the audience at the time. During her speech, the audience chanted "Four more years!". Finally, she introduced Trump, after which he gave his acceptance speech.

First Lady Melania Trump

Melania Trump spoke on the second night of the convention. Before she took the stage, a narrated montage of her accomplishments, most notably her "Be Best" campaign, was played. Melania first thanked the people who elected Donald Trump in 2016, offered sympathy to COVID-19 victims and thanked essential workers, acknowledged the 100-year anniversary of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and then thanked her parents for enabling her to go from Slovenia (which was under Communist rule at the time) to the United States to work in the fashion industry. She then talked about how she supports the right of all people to achieve the American Dream, and how she has seen and spoken with many people who were striving to do that; she also thanked "all who serve our country", specifically first responders and military officers, for their service. After that, she talked about natural disasters, and how the response shows a "beautiful side of humanity" in contrast to the disasters themselves. Melania then talked about how Donald Trump has not "lost focus" on the people despite the constant attacks by his opponents, and how he "demands action" as opposed to simply speaking words. After that, she talked more about her work with children, including her "Be Best" campaign, and how it should not be a political goal; she mentioned her trip to Africa, and how she was "horrified" after learning about the slave trade. She then talked about the George Floyd protests and called for peace and mutual understanding between both sides. Melania then talked about Donald Trump's accomplishments in combating religious persecution and opioid addiction, as well as her own future work with children and minority communities, and with restoring the People's House. Finally, she talked about the impact on social media on children and teenagers, and more about Donald Trump's general accomplishments and how voting for him would be a "common sense" vote as opposed to a partisan vote.

Demonstrations and protests

In the days before the convention, protests began to arise against it in Charlotte, North Carolina,[177] and Washington, D.C.[178][179]

Counter-convention

In May 2020, Republicans opposed to Trump's presidency announced their intent to host a competing "Convention on Founding Principles" to occur at the same time as the Republican National Convention in Charlotte.[180] Among the scheduled speakers are former CIA director Michael Hayden; former FBI director James Comey; some former Republican elected officials, including former New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman, former congressman Mark Sanford, former congressman Charlie Dent, and Nebraska state senator John S. McCollister; Trump's onetime communications director Anthony Scaramucci; 2016 independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin; and several founders of the Lincoln Project.[181]

The Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks

Al Sharpton's National Action Network initially had gotten the permits to have a large march and rally of up to 100,000 people in the National Mall for August 28,[182] with earlier events taking place in the days just before. This was well before the Republicans' convention was moved to the city.[183]

Controversies

Ann Dorn's speech

The daughters of David Dorn took objection to Ann Dorn, his widow, utilizing their father's death to support the candidacy of Trump, who they claimed their father was politically opposed to.[184]

COVID-19 risks

Crowds during convention

At events with in-person audiences, such as First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Ivanka Trump, and President Donald Trump's speeches, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-recommended practices of protective masks and social distancing were largely absent.[117][185] Many audience members had not been tested for COVID-19.[186][187]

During the convention, the first and second families were seen without masks mingling without social distancing in crowds of people also without masks.[188][189] The crowd of 1,500 at the White House on the final night also greatly flouted Washington, D.C. regulations prohibiting gatherings of more than 50 people.[190]

Despite having been required to wear protective masks and social distance, many delegates at the morning session of the opening day, held in Charlotte, did not wear protective masks and failed to socially distance,[191] attracting controversy.[192] Local health officials voiced concern.[193] Four days later, August 28, it was reported that four people associated with the Charlotte event--two attendees of the morning session and two support staff--had subsequently tested positive for COVID-19.[194]

This stood in strong contrast with the Democratic National Convention held the prior week, where the only in-person audience was a parking lot of spectators socially distanced from their cars for the fireworks finale of the final night, and where masks were worn at times by both the presidential and vice-presidential nominees and their spouses.[195]

Earlier convention plans

Safety concerns were raised over earlier plans to hold a large-scale in-person convention amid a pandemic. Despite these concerns, Trump, for an extended period of time, had resisted calls to scale-back the convention.[196][197]

When the event was slated to be held in Jacksonville, residents and business owners near the VyStar Arena filed a lawsuit asking a judge to declare the event a "public nuisance" due to the health risk it posed "under the circumstances and practices encouraged and required by the Republican National Committee", and asked the judge to thereby either block the event from using the arena, or to limit the attendance to only 2,500 people.[198]

Politicization of the office of Secretary of State

The appropriateness of having the incumbent secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, address a political convention was questioned.[199] Pompeo's modern predecessors had avoided political conventions while serving as secretary of state.[200] The speech came despite Pompeo having warned other diplomats against "improperly" taking part in politics.[201]

Politicization of the White House

There has been criticism for Trump is seen as utilizing the White House as a setting for purely political events in a manner which his presidential predecessors hadn't.[202]

Potential Hatch Act violations

Many aspects of the convention have been cited as potential violations of the Hatch Act of 1939.

On September 3, 2020, Democrats on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform wrote a letter to the Office of Special Counsel urging them to launch an investigation of, "multiple, repeated violations" of the Hatch Act committed during the convention.[203]

Chad Wolf's participation in naturalization ceremony segment

Acting United States Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf's appearance in the naturalization ceremony, which was part of the convention's program, has been cited by some as a potential violation of the Hatch Act.[203][204]Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel, arguing this was a clear violation of the Hatch Act.[205]

Lynne Patton's involvement in video segment

A video segment featuring residents of the New York City Housing Authority has been cited as a potential violation of the Hatch Act, as interviews were conducted by Lynne Patton, the Administrator of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development for Region II.[203][206]

A report released in October by the office of United States Senator Elizabeth Warren, compiled by her staff, on potential Hatch Act violations by the Trump administration cited this as one of Patton's potential Hatch Act violations.[207]

Mike Pompeo speech

Secretary of state Mike Pompeo's convention address, delivered while on a diplomatic trip to Israel, has been cited as a possible Hatch Act violation.[203][199][208]

On August 25, the same day that Pompeo spoke, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and Democrat Joaquin Castro opened a congressional investigation into the legality of Pompeo's planned speech.[209] On October 26, 2020, Democrats Eliot Engel (Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs) and Nita Lowey (Chairwoman of the House Committee on Appropriations), confirmed that the Office of Special Counsel had launched a probe into possible Hatch Act violations related to Pompeo's speech.[210]

Use of the White House

Some experts and politicians have questioned the legality of the use of the White House for convention speeches and other portions of the convention.[211] The legality is in question, since any federal employees (exempting the president and vice president themselves) who assist in such campaigning activities in such a government building may be violating the Hatch Act.[211]

Ivanka Trump's deliverance of a convention speech from the South Lawn of the White House while holding an official position in the federal government may violate the Hatch Act.[212]

Use of National Park Service property for fireworks display

The use of property owned by the National Park Service for the convention's closing fireworks display was argued by some experts to raise ethics concerns that may be in violation of the Hatch Act.[61][62][63]

Use of official acts of office in convention program

Journalists have questioned the ethics of President Trump using video of official acts of office, such as a video of a pardon ceremony and participating in a prerecorded[213] naturalization ceremony, as portions of the convention program.[214] These has been criticized as a politicization of government functions.[215]

Use of unwitting participants

Among others, several of the participants of the featured naturalization ceremony came forward to complain that they had not been informed that they were going to be featured in the Republican National Convention

Several individuals featured in the convention were unwitting of their inclusion in the convention.

Several of the participants of the naturalization ceremony have come forward to complain that they were not informed that it was going to part of the Republican National Convention.[215][216]

Several of those featured in a video segment with residents of the New York City Housing Authority complained that they did not know that their interviews would be used for the Republican National Convention, and that they did not support Trump.[217]

Broadcast and media coverage

It was announced August 2, 2020, that reporters would not be permitted on-site during the delegate business in Charlotte, but that the convention would, however, be live-streamed.[218] This would mark the first time in modern history that the media will not be granted access to the nominating event of a major party candidate.[219] However, the Republican National Committee walked this back, saying that the decision to bar reporters from entry had not been made final.[75] On August 5, President Trump stated that the convention, in fact, would be open to the press.[220]

Evening television viewership

Night 1

Night one of the Republican convention had 17.0 million viewers across all cable and television networks tracked by Nielsen. The first night of the Democratic convention had 19.7 million viewers across the same networks.[221] As per the table below, across six major, traditional television (NBC, CBS, ABC) and cable networks (FNC, CNN, MSNBC) tracked by Nielsen, night one of the Republican convention had 15.9 million viewers, compared to 18.8 million viewers for night one of the Democratic convention.[] According to C-SPAN, night one of the Republican convention had 440,000 viewers on C-SPAN, compared to 76,000 viewers for night one of the Democratic convention.[222]

Compared to 2016, the only cable or television network that saw a rise in viewership for Night 1 was Fox News Channel.[]

Night 2

Night two of the Republican convention had 19.4 million viewers across all television networks tracked by Nielsen. The second night of the Democratic convention had 19.2 million viewers across the same networks.[224] As per the table below, night two of the Republican convention had 18 million viewers across six major, traditional television and cable networks tracked by Nielsen. The second night of the Democrat convention had 18.5 million viewers across the same six networks.[225]

These numbers do not include viewers on streaming services.[225]

Compared to 2016, the only networks that saw a rise in viewership for Night 2 were Fox News Channel and MSNBC.

Night 3

Night three of the Republican convention had 17.3 million viewers across all television networks tracked by Nielsen. The third night of the Democratic convention had 22.8 million viewers across the same networks.[226]

Compared to Night 2, the only network that saw a rise in viewership for Night 3 was CBS.

Compared to 2016, every network had a decline in viewership for Night 3. (Note: Many along the south coast of the United States were preparing for Hurricane Laura, and this likely contributed towards the drop in viewership.)

Night 4

Night four of the Republican convention had 23.8 million viewers across all television networks tracked by Nielsen. The fourth night of the Democratic convention had 24.6 million viewers across the same networks.[227] Compared to Night 3, all six networks saw a rise in viewership for Night 4. Compared to 2016, every network had a decline in viewership for Night 4.[]

Impact

According to a Morning Consult poll conducted the day after the convention closed, it initially appeared that the convention had given Trump a slight boost.[228] However, an August 30 ABC poll found no increase in Trump's favorability ratings.[229] Further polling indicated that there had been virtually no convention bounce for either party.[230][231][232][233][234] Some polling even showed Trump's favorability rating to have declined following the convention.[235]

Ahead of, and during, the conventions, various outlets had speculated that significant convention bounces were unlikely for either party.[236][237][238][239] This was due to several cited factors. One was that it had been observed that convention bounces had been more minuscule in recent elections. Per some calculations, convention bounces had averaged just 2 points since 2004, compared to just under 7 points between 1968 and 2000.[236] Per other calculations, average bounces since 1996 averaged 3.6 points while bounces between 1962 and 1992 averaged 6.3 points.[238] Another factor cited for why it was seen as unlikely for either party to generate a significant convention bounce in 2020 was that polls in the 2020 race had, in the months prior to the convention, shown a remarkably steady race, with Biden consistently holding an approximately 6-point er exceeding an average lead of 10 points and never slipping below a lead of 4 points. It has been shown that more stable races tend to see smaller convention bounces.[236][239] Another was that the conventions, having been scaled-back due to the COVID-19 pandemic, were seen as less likely to generate as much attention as past conventions had, particularly due to the decrease in television viewership .[236][237] Another was that the electorate was already strongly opinionated on the candidates, with more voters holding a strong opinion on Trump than any incumbent since at least 1980, and more voters holding a strong opinion on Biden than any challenger to an incumbent since at least 1980.[236] Races where voters hold strong opinions on the candidates tend to see smaller convention bounces.[236] Strong partisanship among the electorate was another cited factor.[239]

See also

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