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Highlights from Night 1 of the Republican Convention

Highlights from Night 1 of the Republican Convention
Posted at 11:42 PM, Aug 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-25 05:47:49-04

Unlike the Democratic Convention, which was largely held virtually throughout the US, most Republican Convention speakers took the podium at Mellon Auditorium in Washington, DC, to make the case for “four more years” of a Donald Trump presidency.

The Republicans’ opener appeared, in large part, to be a direct rebuttal to Democrats last week, who were sharp and pointed with their criticism of Trump’s presidency, especially of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Republicans also hit Democrats hard on the handling of recent unrest throughout the US.

Republicans hit back on coronavirus claims

The GOP made the case that Democrats downplayed the threat of the coronavirus early on in the pandemic.

In a video montage on Monday, an assortment of clips featuring Gov. Andrew Cuomo and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were aired of them downplaying the threat of the coronavirus.

The Republicans called upon nurse Amy Johnson Ford to make the case that Trump acted quickly, saving lives.

“Let me be clear, as a health care professional, I can tell you without hesitation, Donald Trump’s quick action and leadership saved thousands of lives during COVID-19,” she said.

Although President Donald Trump ordered most non-essential travel to cease between China and America, Democrats claim that the president did not further prepare the United States for the effects of the coronavirus. Also, Trump, on a number of occasions in February and into March, claimed that the coronavirus would go away.

But Trump’s tone has changed in recent months.

On Monday, Trump invited a number of first responders to the White House to be honored as part of the Republican Convention.

Trump praises Erdogan to American imprisoned by Turkey

A pre-recorded segment featured Americans who were imprisoned and released by foreign governments. As part of the segment, Trump welcomed six now released Americans who spent time in foreign prisons.

One of those sitting alongside Trump was Andrew Brunson, an American pastor who was imprisoned in Turkey.

Brunson was imprisoned in Turkey from October 2016 through October 2018, accused of spying.

Trump credited his relationship with the Turkish president for Brunson’s release.

"To me, President Erdogan was very good,” Trump said. “And I know they had you scheduled for a long time, and you were a very innocent person, and he ultimately after we had a few conversations he agreed so we appreciate that."

Trump earns a Democrat’s support

On the same day Biden had nearly two dozen former GOP members of Congress endorse his candidacy, the RNC featured a Democratic state legislator who is putting his support behind Trump.

State Rep. Vernon Jones outlined why he supports Trump, and turned his back on his own party.

“The Democratic Party does not want Black people to leave the mental Plantation they've had us on for decades,” Jones said. “But I have news for them: We are free people with free minds. I am part of a large and growing segment of the Black community who are independent thinkers. And we believe that Donald Trump is the President that America needs to lead us forward.”

Jones hit both Biden and former President Barack Obama for failing to address prison reform, an issue that Trump garnered bipartisan support.

He delivered historic criminal justice reform,” Jones said. “He ended -- once and for all -- the policy of mass incarceration of Black people, which has decimated our communities."

While Jones was the only notable Democrat to speak on Trump’s behalf on Monday, Biden garnered the support of a number of Republicans who spoke on Night 1 of the Democratic National Convention. Among them was former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who ran against Trump in 2016 in the Republican primary.

Parkland father credits Trump’s response to shooting

A week after former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez made a plea to gun control in her Democratic National Convention speech, Andrew Pollack hit back. Pollack’s daughter died in the 2018 massacre in Parkland, Florida.

Pollack said that “gun control laws didn’t fail my daughter, people did.”

“The gunman had threatened to kill his classmates before; he had threatened to rape them; he had threatened to shoot up the school,” Pollack responded. “Every red flag you can imagine. But the school didn’t just miss these red flags—they knowingly ignored them.”

Pollack then went on to blame Democrats, and said that restorative justice programs was a reason the massacre took place.

In a university study funded by the Department of Justice, researchers said they found promising findings on restorative justice programs as a way to reduce criminal behavior, but that more research was needed on the subject.