President Donald Trump formally accepted the Republican presidential nomination on Thursday as he prepares for the stretch run of his re-election bid.
In a precedent-breaking speech that contrasted from past norms, Trump used the backdrop of the White House for his convention address. Trump spoke in front of a group of 1,500 supporters.
The White House ceremony stood in contrast to typical conventions that are held in large arena before up to 20,000 supporters.
Trump focused much of his speech on his opponent Joe Biden rather than his vision for a second term. Trump mentioned Biden by name 41 times, and made a number of indirect references to his Democratic challenger.
Trump promises vaccine
Trump joined Vice President Mike Pence’s pledge from last night in proclaiming that the US will have a coronavirus vaccine approved and ready by the end of 2020. His comments come despite skepticism from leading public health experts who say the shortened timeframe might not be enough to fully study the efficacy of vaccines.
"In recent months, our nation, and the entire planet, has been struck by a new and powerful invisible enemy. Like those brave Americans before us, we are meeting this challenge. We are delivering lifesaving therapies, and will produce a vaccine before the end of the year, or maybe even sooner," Trump said.
While Trump said that the White House would continue heeding the advice of public health experts, the 1,500 spectators on hand were not socially distanced, and the majority of the crowd were not wearing face coverings.
Trump condemns unrest in major cities
Trump joined a chorus of Republicans in condemning violence at protests in response to the shootings of police officers of black men, most recently Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
While Trump and other speakers repeatedly, and falsely claimed, that Biden has not spoken against the violence, the former vice president has directly encouraged protests to remain peaceful.
"In the strongest possible terms the Republican party condemns the rioting, looting, arson and violence we have seen in Democrat-run cities like Kenosha, Minneapolis, Portland, Chicago, and New York, and many others Democrat-run."
While Trump has previously criticized local leaders for not using National Guard troops, there are currently guard units in Kenosha and Minneapolis.
Ivanka goes last
Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka was the last among Trump’s family members to speak at the Republican Convention.
Unlike her brother Eric, Ivanka Trump avoided referring to Biden by name and kept her focus on why her father should be re-elected.
“Washington has not changed Donald Trump. Donald Trump has changed Washington,” Ivanka Trump said. “America doesn’t need another empty vessel who will do whatever the media and the fringe of his party demands Now more than ever, America needs four more years of a warrior in the White House.:
Protesters make noise
As Trump spoke from the White House lawn, protesters made as much noise as possible outside of the White House. They used airhorns, instruments and drums to drown out the president.
This is the street party/protest that is on the back part of the @WhiteHouse at 15th and Constitution - lotta loudspeakers & a live band jamming out of this bus pic.twitter.com/r3cR3hN6Iz
— Elizabeth Landers (@ElizLanders) August 28, 2020
Parents of ISIS victims laud Trump
One of the most poignant moments of the RNC came from Carl and Marsha Mueller, the parents of Kayla Mueller, who was killed in 2015 while in ISIS custody.
Mueller was working in Syria as part of a humanitarian project. She went to Syria despite a prohibition of Americans working in Syria by the group Doctors Without Borders. She was captured in 2013 by ISIS.
In 2014, the US military attempted several rescues of Kayla Mueller, but was unsuccessful. The Obama administration also declined to participate in a prisoner swap in an effort to hasten her release.
The Muellers gave Trump full marks for his foreign policy while decrying Obama.
“The Trump team gave us empathy we never received from the Obama administration. The Obama administration said it was doing everything it could. The Trump administration actually is,” Carl Mueller said. “Let me just say this: Kayla should be here. If Donald Trump had been President when Kayla was captured, she would be here today.”