Mike Pence Closes Out Night 3 of the G.O.P. Convention, Making the Case for Trump – The New York Times

Posted By on August 31, 2020

Heres what you need to know:

Republicans have intensified their unrest-focused message, with Kenosha as a backdrop.

Richard Grenell, a former diplomat and intelligence official, revives an unsubstantiated wiretap claim.

We fact-checked the Republican National Convention.

Clarence Henderson, a civil rights pioneer, makes a case for peaceful protests.

Lara Trump says her preconceived notion about the Trumps disappeared when she became one.

Joni Ernst praises Trump for paying attention to Iowas farmers and coming to visit after a storm.

Lee Zeldin rewrites Trumps aid to New York during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic.

Chen Guangcheng, a Chinese dissident, praises Trumps approach to Beijing.

Elise Stefanik pushes Trumps reopening approach and hits Biden on the economy.

Kellyanne Conway is leaving the White House, but not the spotlight.

Dan Crenshaw, a Texas congressman, draws on his military experience to talk about heroism.

Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee senator, gives a dark and misleading speech focusing on law enforcement.

Kristi Noem, once rumored to be a Pence replacement, attacks Democrats on law and order.

Republicans used the third night of their convention on Wednesday to amplify warnings of violence and lawlessness under Democratic leadership, trying to capitalize on the worsening unrest in Wisconsin to reclaim moderate voters who might be reluctant to hand President Trump a second term.

The party also made appeals to social conservatives with attacks on abortion and accusations that the Democrats and their nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr., were Catholics in name only. And they intensified their effort to lift Mr. Trumps standing among women with testimonials vouching for him as empathetic and as a champion of women in the workplace from women who work for him, a number of female lawmakers and his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump.

Speaking hours after Gov. Tony Evers of Wisconsin called in the National Guard to restore order to Kenosha, Wis., where a police officer shot a Black man this week, numerous Republicans led by Vice President Mike Pence assailed Mr. Biden for what they claimed was his tolerance of the vandalism that had grown out of racial justice protests, asserting that the country would not be safe with him as president.

Last week, Joe Biden didnt say one word about the violence and chaos engulfing cities across this country, said Mr. Pence, standing before an array of American flags at Fort McHenry in Baltimore and vowing: We will have law and order on the streets of this country for every American of every race and creed and color.

Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota, a strong supporter of the president, said that places like Seattle, Portland, Ore., and other cities run by Democrats were being overrun by violent mobs. She likened the violence to the lead-up of the Civil War and asserted that people are left to fend for themselves.

Ms. Noem invoked a young Abraham Lincoln, claiming he had been alarmed by the disregard for the rule of law throughout the country.

He was concerned for the people that had seen their property destroyed, their families attacked and their lives threatened or even taken away, she said, adding Sound familiar?

The intense focus on the rioting amounted to an acknowledgment by Republicans that they must reframe the election to make urban unrest the central theme and shift attention away from the deaths and illnesses of millions of people from the coronavirus.

transcript

transcript

So with gratitude for the confidence President Donald Trump has placed in me, the support of our Republican Party and the grace of God, I humbly accept your nomination to run and serve as vice president of the United States. Over the past four years, Ive had the privilege to work closely with our president. Ive seen him when the cameras are off. Americans see President Trump in lots of different ways. But theres no doubt how President Trump sees America. He sees America for what it is: a nation that has done more good in this world than any other, a nation that deserves far more gratitude than grievance. And if you want a president who falls silent when our heritage is demeaned or insulted, hes not your man. Last week, Joe Biden didnt say one word about the violence and chaos engulfing cities across this country. So let me be clear: The violence must stop whether in Minneapolis, Portland or Kenosha. Too many heroes have died defending our freedom to see Americans strike each other down.

For four years, Vice President Mike Pence has stood as an unfailingly loyal deputy to President Trump even and especially when he gets overruled.

In public and private, Mr. Pence lauds Mr. Trump. And on Wednesday night, he used his convention speech to paint the president as a great builder of the American economy and defender of American law enforcement.

The vice president said that Mr. Trump was upholding the very nature of the country, and if Joseph R. Biden Jr. was elected president, the United States would lose its essential character and become unrecognizable at least to a Trump-friendly social conservative like Mr. Pence.

Last week, Joe Biden said democracy is on the ballot, but the truth is, our economic recovery is on the ballot, law and order are on the ballot. But so are things far more fundamental and foundational to our country, Mr. Pence said. Its not so much whether America will be more conservative or more liberal, more Republican or more Democrat. The choice in this election is whether America remains America.

So with gratitude for the confidence President Donald Trump has placed in me, the support of our Republican Party, and the grace of God, I humbly accept your nomination to run and serve as vice president of the United States, Mr. Pence said.

Speaking to a crowd at Fort McHenry in Baltimore that did not appear to be socially distanced or wearing masks, Mr. Pence described a president who acts differently in private than he does in public a picture sharply at odds with nearly all of the reporting that depicts Mr. Trump in private as even more prone to pique and outbursts than he is before television cameras.

Ive seen him when the cameras are off, Mr. Pence said. Americans see President Trump in lots of different ways, but theres no doubt how President Trump sees America. He sees America for what it is, a nation that has done more good in this world than any other, a nation that deserves far more gratitude than grievance.

Mr. Pence made the nights first significant reference to Hurricane Laura, a major storm bearing down on Texas and Louisiana, a notion that would have not raised eyebrows during any other political convention but seemed off-key during a week devoted to singing the praises of Mr. Trump.

This is a serious storm, and we urge all of those in the affected areas to heed state and local authorities, Mr. Pence said. Stay safe, and know that we will be with you every step of the way to support, rescue, respond, and recover in the days and weeks ahead.

In a seeming reference to Mr. Trumps defense of Confederate monuments and the Confederate flag, Mr. Pence, who is from Indiana, added: If you want a president who falls silent when our heritage is demeaned or insulted, then hes not your man.

Mr. Pence was the only Republican convention speaker to mention Kenosha, Wis., where the Sunday police shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, has inflamed racial tensions. He condemned people there who caused property damage though he made no mention of the shooting that prompted the unrest.

President Trump and I will always support the right of Americans to peacefully protest, said Mr. Pence, who in 2017 flew to Indianapolis for an N.F.L. game and then walked out after several players knelt during the national anthem. But rioting and looting is not peaceful protest. Tearing down statues is not free speech, and those who do so will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Mr. Pence, like many speakers during the Republican convention, also sought to rewrite the recent history of how Mr. Trump has handled the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed nearly 180,000 Americans and counting.

Before the first case of the coronavirus spread within the United States, the president took unprecedented action and suspended all travel from China, the second largest economy in the world, Mr. Pence said.

Yet by April 40,000 people had traveled to the United States from China since Mr. Trump imposed his travel ban on Jan. 31, and more than 430,000 since the coronavirus was first disclosed in China a month earlier.

Mr. Pence also said Mr. Trump had marshaled the full resources of our federal government from the outset, adding, He directed us to forge a seamless partnership with governors across America in both political parties.

This would come as a surprise to Democratic governors in Illinois, New York and Washington State, among others, who found themselves on the receiving end of Mr. Trumps attacks for publicly criticizing the federal governments inability to produce personal protective equipment or sufficient testing to determine how far the virus had spread in their states.

transcript

transcript

Donald Trump he called Americas endless wars what they were: a disaster. The media was shocked, because Donald Trump was running as a Republican. And yet he said out loud what we all knew: that American foreign policy was failing to make Americans safer. Our great cities and industries were hollowed out. Entire communities were devastated, and our manufacturing plants were shipped off to China. Thats what happened when Washington stopped being the capital of the United States and started being the capital of the world. Today the Democrats blame a global pandemic that started in China on President Trump. And they still blame Russia for Hillary Clintons loss in 2016. As acting director of national intelligence, I saw the Democrats entire case for Russian collusion, and what I saw made me sick to my stomach. The Obama-Biden administration secretly launched a surveillance operation on the Trump campaign, and silenced the many brave intelligence officials who spoke up against it.

The undiplomatic diplomat Richard A. Grenell, who briefly held a top intelligence post in the Trump administration, revived the baseless theory that President Barack Obama personally ordered federal law enforcement officials to spy on Donald J. Trumps 2016 campaign.

The Obama-Biden administration secretly launched a surveillance operation on the Trump campaign, and silenced the many brave intelligence officials who spoke up against it, said Mr. Grenell, who served as United States ambassador to Germany from 2018 to 2020, and alienated many German officials by weighing in on the countrys internal politics.

Mr. Grenell launched a far-ranging attack on Democratic foreign policy initiatives, slamming the Iran nuclear deal and globalist goals he said Mr. Biden would pursue.

Washington stopped being the capital of the United States, and started being the capital of the world, he said of the Obama administrations approach.

In his remarks at the Republican convention on Wednesday, Mr. Grenell, one of the few gay people to hold a high administration post under Mr. Trump, claimed to have watched President Trump charm the chancellor of Germany, while insisting that Germany pay its NATO obligations.

No one appears to have told that to the chancellor, Angela Merkel, who has privately expressed doubts about Mr. Trumps leadership and publicly criticized his response to the coronavirus, albeit indirectly. As we are experiencing firsthand, you cannot fight the pandemic with lies and disinformation, Ms. Merkel said in June. The limits of populism and denial of basic truths are being laid bare.

This year, Mr. Grenell served briefly as acting director of national intelligence. In that capacity, he was the first openly gay cabinet-level official in United States history.

He claimed on Wednesday that this post gave him access to information about Democratic investigations into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia four years ago that made me sick to my stomach.

Mr. Grenell, known for dunking on reporters and critics on Twitter, had no chance of being permanently confirmed for that position after Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, said he was unqualified.

Since then, he has served as the Republican National Committees liaison on L.G.B.T. outreach, a tall order at a time when Mr. Trump has made a point of rolling back protections for transgender people enacted during the Obama administration.

Our team of reporters who cover the Pentagon, Congress, health care and more fact-checked tonights speeches. See the claims and how they stack up against the truth.

Clarence Henderson, who helped desegregate the Woolworths lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C., in 1960, joined a chorus of Black Trump supporters making the case that Mr. Trump is not racist even though as many as eight in 10 Black people think he is.

Mr. Henderson did not directly refer to the chaotic protests in Portland, Ore., and Kenosha, Wis. But he contrasted his actions 60 years ago joining his friends at the counter on the second day of the protests with the current demonstrations.

Our actions inspired similar protests throughout the South against racial injustice. And in the end, segregation was abolished and our country moved a step closer to true equality for all, he said. Thats what actual peaceful protest can accomplish.

The Greensboro demonstrations, while not the first sit-ins, were a watershed moment in the civil rights movement especially after the media broadcast images of an unruly white mob dumping food and drinks on the polite, neatly dressed and nonviolent protesters.

transcript

transcript

My seventh-grade English teacher, Mrs. B., used to tell us, Believe none of what you hear, half of what you read and only what youre there to witness firsthand. The meaning of those words never fully weighed on me until I met my husband and the Trump family. Any preconceived notion I had of this family disappeared immediately. They were warm and caring. They were hard workers, and they were down to earth. They reminded me of my own family. They made me feel like I was home. Walking the halls of the Trump Organization, I saw the same family environment. I also saw the countless women executives who thrived there year after year. Gender didnt matter. What mattered was the ability to get the job done. I learned this directly when, in 2016, my father-in-law asked me to help him win my cherished home state and my daughters namesake, North Carolina. Though I had no political experience, he believed in me. He knew I was capable even if I didnt. I wasnt born a Trump. Im from the South. I was raised a Carolina girl. I went to public schools and worked my way through a state university. Mrs. B. from my seventh-grade English class was right. What I learned about our president is different than what you might have heard. I learned that hes a good man.

Lara Trump, President Trumps daughter-in-law and a senior adviser to his re-election campaign, offered a glowing portrait of the family she had married into on Wednesday night, painting the Trumps as warm and caring.

Speaking at the Republican National Convention, Ms. Trump, who is married to Eric Trump, conceded that she had certainly never thought that Id end up with the last name Trump. But as soon as she met her husband and joined his family, she said, Any preconceived notion I had of this family disappeared immediately.

I wasnt born a Trump. Im from the South, she said. I was raised a Carolina girl. I went to public schools and worked my way through a state university.

What I learned about our president is different than what you might have heard, she added. I learned that hes is a good man. That he loves his family. That he didnt need this job.

With her remarks, Lara Trump joined the growing list of Trump family members and close associates who have been tapped to praise the president based on their relationship with him. They have sought to soften the presidents image, suggesting that he treats the people he cares about exceedingly well.

Ms. Trump also tried to use her firsthand experience to try to improve her father-in-laws standing with women, remarking that she had seen women thrive in the Trump Organization, which granted them big responsibilities.

I know the promise of America because Ive lived it, not just as a member of the Trump family, but as a woman who knows what its like to work in blue-collar jobs, to serve customers for tips and to aspire to rise, she said.

No one on earth works harder for the American people, she added later, speaking about the president. Hes willing to fight for his beliefs, and for the people and the country that he loves.

Burgess Owens, the Republican nominee in a Utah congressional district that Democrats flipped in 2018, took the stage at the Republican convention on Wednesday and recalled his great-great-grandfather, Silas Burgess, who escaped slavery through the Underground Railroad and ultimately became a landowner.

He also recalled his own experience: After playing in the N.F.L., he started a business that failed, and ended up working as a chimney sweep before achieving a rewarding career in the corporate world.

Career politicians, elitists and even a former bartender want us to believe thats impossible, Mr. Owens said, referring to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez by her former job. They want us to believe that what I did, what my great-great-grandfather did, is impossible for ordinary Americans. As patriots, we know better.

Mr. Owens, who is also a Fox News contributor, is running against Representative Ben McAdams in Utahs Fourth Congressional District. Mr. McAdams narrowly upset a Republican incumbent, Mia Love, in 2018.

On Tuesday, Mr. Owens was accused of plagiarizing parts of his book Why I Stand: From Freedom to the Killing Fields of Socialism, which he denied. Also this week, The Salt Lake Tribune reported that a former Utah legislator was urging the Republican National Committee to revoke his speaking slot because he appeared earlier this year on a YouTube program associated with the false QAnon conspiracy theory.

Mr. Owens has said that he didnt know about the link and that he does not support QAnon.

Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa, the only endangered Senate Republican to speak at this weeks Republican National Convention, on Wednesday night highlighted President Trumps help for farmers and claimed that a Biden administration would harm them.

I cant recall an administration more hostile to farmers than Obama-Biden, unless you count the Biden-Harris ticket, Ms. Ernst said. The Democratic Party of Joe Biden is pushing this so-called Green New Deal. If given power, they would essentially ban animal agriculture and eliminate gas-powered cars. It would destroy the agriculture industry, not just here in Iowa, but throughout the country.

Mr. Biden has promised no such thing. He never endorsed the Green New Deal, much to the frustration of his partys more progressive elements. He has endorsed reinstating higher fuel efficiency standards put in place by President Barack Obama and rescinded by Mr. Trump.

Ms. Ernst, who won in the 2014 Republican wave and faces a tight challenge this year, is betting her best chance to secure re-election is by tethering herself tightly to President Trump. On Wednesday she kept her remarks narrowly focused on Iowa, praising Mr. Trump for visiting the state after a storm damaged much of the state this month.

Like many speakers during the convention, Ms. Ernst laced her remarks with heavy criticism of the national news media and praise for the president, who she said had bent media coverage to his will.

After the storm, Ms. Ernst said, most of the national media looked the other way. To them, Iowa is still just flyover country. She added, When President Trump came to Cedar Rapids, the national media finally did, too.

There is scarce public polling in Iowa, but a poll from The Des Moines Register in June showed Ms. Ernsts Democratic opponent, Theresa Greenfield, ahead by three percentage points. This month, a Monmouth poll showed Ms. Ernst ahead by one point; each candidates polling lead was within the margin of error.

The race has already set fund-raising records for an Iowa Senate contest, and is expected to result in more money spent on TV advertising than ever before in the state.

Ms. Ernsts convention appearance could only be better for her than her 2016 speech in Cleveland, which was largely overshadowed by the debut, directly before she took the stage, of the lock her up chant led by Michael T. Flynn, a Trump campaign adviser at the time. Mr. Flynn spoke for far longer than his allotted time, and Ms. Ernst was given less time to speak than she had planned for.

On Wednesday night, Ms. Ernsts remarks, which were recorded from Des Moines, followed a prerecorded veterans round-table discussion.

In her 2014 campaign, Ms. Ernst pledged to repeal the Affordable Care Act, balance the federal budget and cut spending. Lets make em squeal, she said in a viral ad, highlighting her history castrating hogs on her familys farm.

But after Mr. Trumps election in 2016 Ms. Ernst had an interview with him when he was in search of a running mate she backed away from her campaign promises to become one of the presidents stalwart defenders.

Her first 2020 TV ad echoes Mr. Trumps tone on China.

We rely on Communist China for far too much, from technology to medicine, she said. So Im fighting to bring it home.

For at least a decade, Representative Lee Zeldin of New York has been promoted as a Republican rising star.

Mr. Zeldin, 40, is a lawyer and Iraq war veteran from Long Island who first won election to the New York State Senate in 2010 by campaigning against a payroll tax that funded the New York subway and commuter railways.

Since he was elected to Congress in the 2014 Republican wave, Mr. Zeldin has become a staunch supporter of President Trump, who carried Mr. Zeldins eastern Long Island congressional district by 12 percentage points after Barack Obama had won it in the 2008 and 2012 elections.

Mr. Zeldins defense of Mr. Trump during the initial House impeachment proceedings was so thorough that no Republican spoke more than he did, according to a review of early deposition transcripts last year by NBC News.

On Wednesday night he used his four-minute Republican convention speaking slot to praise Mr. Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner for providing his district in Suffolk County and New York City with personal protective equipment for medical workers caring for coronavirus patients.

Jared Kushner and I were on the phone late one Saturday night, Mr. Zeldin said. The very next day, President Trump announced he was sending us 200,000 N95 masks. He actually delivered more than 400,000.

Mr. Zeldins praise for the Trump administration neglects to mention what was a nationwide shortage in medical-grade masks and other protective equipment for doctors and nurses. The Trump administrations response was a scattershot effort that led to various governors begging the White House for help and offering public praise of Mr. Trump, some of which has been used in footage that has been aired during this weeks Republican National Convention. And New Yorks hospitals were not able to handle all of the patients suffering from the pandemic.

Mr. Zeldin, one of just two Jewish Republicans in Congress, won re-election relatively easily in 2016 and 2018, but faces a significant challenge this year from Nancy Goroff, a chemistry professor at Stony Brook University. The Cook Political Report rates the contest as Lean Republican, and the House Democrats campaign arm on Wednesday added Ms. Goroff to its Red to Blue list of most competitive races.

The Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng on Wednesday praised President Trumps handling of relations with China and said he had shown the courage to stand up to Chinas Communist Party.

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Mike Pence Closes Out Night 3 of the G.O.P. Convention, Making the Case for Trump - The New York Times

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