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Tag: republican national convention

Mike Pence Has Debased The Vice Presidency

Loyalty to Donald Trump demands more than many people can muster. One Cabinet officer and high-level aide after another has repeatedly endured ill treatment only to finally leave rather than accept further indignities. But no subservience is too much for Mike Pence.

His Wednesday night speech to the Republican National Convention confirmed that the vice president is prepared to say anything to celebrate his boss — and the more absurd the statement, the more resolutely he utters it.

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Compared To Democrats' Show, Republican Convention Was A Ratings Flop

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

President Donald Trump never ceases to be status-obsessed and often tweets that his foes and adversaries fall short when it comes to ratings, crowd size and other things he uses to measure worth. But here are some figures that Trump is unlikely to be bragging about: the higher Nielsen ratings of the recent Democratic National Convention compared to its GOP counterpart, which concluded on Thursday night with a 70-minute acceptance speech from the president.

On Friday morning, Trump tweeted that Thursday night enjoyed "great ratings." But Trump didn't get into specifics or discuss the higher ratings of the DNC.



The final night of the 2020 RNC, according to Los Angeles Times reporter Stephen Battaglio, had "an average audience of 21.6 million viewers" — whereas former Vice President Joe Biden's acceptance speech at the DNC attracted 24.6 million viewers.Battaglio also notes that the audience for Trump's acceptance speech was "well below the 35 million TV viewers who watched him accept his party's nomination in 2016, and will fall short of the acceptance speeches of previous Republican nominees John McCain (38.9 million viewers in 2008), Mitt Romney (30.3 million viewers in 2012) and George W. Bush (27.6 million in 2004). TV viewing for both 2020 conventions is down from four years ago, as many viewers are likely to have watched some portion of the event through online streaming platforms which are not included in the Nielsen ratings."

One of the speakers on the third night of this year's RNC was Vice President Mike Pence. Bloomberg News reports that Pence's speech attracted "an estimated 17.3 million viewers," while a speech by Sen. Kamala Harris, Biden's running mate, on the third night of the 2020 DNC attracted 22.8 million.


The New York Times' Michael M. Grynbaum notes that the third night of the RNC "was seen by roughly 25 percent fewer live viewers than the third night of the Democratic convention last week."

Pence's speech on Wednesday night, Grynbaum points out, was seen by fewer viewers than First Lady Melania Trump's speech on Tuesday night — which, according to Nielsen, attracted 17.3 million viewers.

White House ‘Looks Like Breeding Ground’ For Coronavirus

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

In a new piece for The Atlantic on Thursday night, reporter Peter Nicholas warned that the White House has significantly rolled back precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus within its walls.

While he once had to face a health screening before entering the premises, he was able to enter on Thursday without any such precautions. He explained:

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Dull, Demagogic, And Far Too Long: Trump Delivers Closing Convention Speech

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

He's been on the job for almost four years, but President Donald Trump still hasn't figured out how to read properly from a teleprompter.

On Thursday night, Trump delivered the final speech of the Republican National Convention, officially accepting his party's nomination to face off against Democratic opponent Joe Biden. But while Biden's closing speech the week before surprised viewers by portraying the candidate as a dynamic, thoughtful, and expressive speaker — arguably even outshining the star power brought by the Obamas in previous nights — Trump's performance was just another half-hearted and labored effort at getting through a text someone else wrote.

Trump is known for his extemporaneous speaking style. He's often longwinded and meandering, jumping from topic to topic without finishing a whole arguments, sentences, and thoughts. But when he speaks like this, he's almost always animated and passionate. The exception is when he's reading from a script. Teleprompter Trump has none of the manic charisma that his freewheeling alter-ego displays. Instead, the president falls into a dull monotone and a repetitious speaking pattern that suggests he knows little about what he's actually saying and cares even less.

He wishes he could just speak off-the-cuff, but he knows it's sometimes better to color within the lines.That's the way his speech went Thursday night. Don't get me wrong — it was still ludicrous and absurd, filled with lies, demagoguery, distortions, exaggerated attacks on his enemies, and empty boasts about his performance. His speechwriters certainly made the language and content Trumpian.

But you could tell his heart was not in it. The biggest tell is when he goes off-script and ad-libs a phrase or a line or two. His entire demeanor changes, he perks up, his voice sounds excited and engaged. He'll call out to the audience and connect with someone. And then he refocuses his eyes back on the teleprompter, and his voice falls back into it its tedious pattern.

It's noticeable how unfamiliar Trump is with the text. He often mispronounces words or stumbles over phrases, but he never acknowledges a mistake. He'll awkwardly try to act as though his mistake was intentional, though the tactic rarely works.

At one point in the Thursday night speech, he made what appeared to be an ad-libbed joke at Biden's expense — but one that suggested he didn't understand the very words he had just spoken. Here's the section, as printed in NPR's transcript:

Joe Biden may claim he is an 'ally of the light,' but when it comes to his agenda, Biden wants to keep us completely in the dark.
[LAUGHTER]
He doesn't have a clue. He has pledged a $4 trillion tax hike on almost all American families, which will totally collapse our rapidly improving economy.

The first line was a good one, in theory. It took Biden's themes of light and dark from his convention speech, and it tried to twist them around to convey a central attack of the Trump campaign: that Biden has a secret agenda for the country that he's not sharing with the American people.

But then Trump added: "He doesn't have a clue." In context, this doesn't really make sense. If you're arguing Biden has a secret plan for America, he does have a clue. That's the point. He's in on a nefarious plot against the country. That's why the next line is about the trillion-dollar tax cut (which Biden has said won't affect families making less than $400,000 a year.)

What seems to have happened, though, is Trump heard the words "Biden," "completely in the dark," and the crowd's laughter, and his mind immediately leaped to making a joke about Biden being in the dark. It made no sense in the context of the speech, but it was easily triggered in Trump's schoolyard bully brain.

Another moment of the speech demonstrated a similar problem. The speech read:

Millions of jobs will be lost. And energy prices will soar. These same policies led to crippling power outages in California just last week, everybody saw that. Tremendous power outage. Nobody has seen anything like it. But we saw that last week in California.
How can Joe Biden claim to be an "ally of the light," when his own party can't even keep the lights on.

Again, it was a decently clever way of trying to use Biden's words against him. But Trump, seemingly reading the speech for the first time, didn't seem to realize the punchline was coming. So he just barreled through the words, failing to pause for comic effect, making the quip much less impactful than it could have been for the audience.

Another problem with the speech was that it was long. It clocked in at over an hour, which is particularly difficult to sit through when a speaker is as unengaging as Teleprompter Trump. Biden's speech last week was kept well under 30 minutes and was widely praised as sharp and effective.It's not the biggest deal in the world that the president couldn't manage to give a decent speech at his convention. There are much bigger problems with his campaign and administration. But it is revealing of a problem that is important and that potentially fuels a lot of the mistakes he has made as president.

Trump's inability to read from a prompter well is a consistent failing. So why has no one been able to convince him to practice? Why hasn't the campaign brought in a speech coach to work with him and improve his performance? It's a simple thing, and it wouldn't take much effort at all. But what it would take is humility — for Trump to admit that there's something he's not very good at. And it may take his aides having the courage to say he has a problem he needs to fix.

Trump's lack of humility and lack of aides who will tell him what he doesn't want to hear are two major problems plaguing his presidency. And for that, we are all paying the price.

Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

In Convention Speech, McEnany Claims Trump Protected 'Pre-Existing Conditions' Coverage

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany lied about Donald Trump's stance on preexisting conditions in her speech at the Republican National Convention Wednesday.

Trump "stands with people with preexisting conditions," McEnany claimed.

That is false.

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Trump Installs Massive New Fence Around White House Ahead Of RNC Speech

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

During the George Floyd protests President Donald Trump had fencing placed around the White House and even tear gassed peaceful protestors standing in the park across the street so he could have a photo-op.

But according to NBC News' Garrett Haake and many people on the ground in Washington, D.C., the White House is putting up even more fencing than they installed a few months ago.

Why?

President Donald Trump is delivering his renomination acceptance speech Thursday night, at the White House, an unprecedented if not illegal event.

The Secret Service says the fencing is being installed to "ensure public safety." That's unlikely; more likely is to ensure the safety of the President. There is no statement saying who is paying for the fencing.

Responses to the fencing has been strong. One person says the White House is creating a "compound," and that it looks "alarming." Others are calling it "cowardly." And yet another asks, "Does the White House expect an attack?"

This is unprecedented. Even President Barack Obama, the nation's first Black president who reportedly suffered far more death threats than any other president never created a "compound" or even added extra fencing.

NBC News reports that the "National Park Service said in a public notice that public areas around the White House would be closed on certain days this week 'to provide security and ensure public safety for Republican National Convention events on the White House South Lawn.'"

Here are more photos, videos, and reactions:










Pam Bondi’s Convention Performance Reached New Level Of Absurdity

Reprinted with permission from Alternet


WATCH: Pam Bondi's speech during the Republican National Convention www.youtube.com


You might have thought it would be hard to outdo the absurdity of Kimberly Guilfoyle screaming at the top of her lungs to an empty auditorium on the opening night of the Republican National Convention. But on Tuesday, former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi reached new heights of absurdity in the second night of the event in a speech filled with unfettered hypocrisy.

Bondi returned to a theme of the Trump campaign that has largely been absent from the convention thus far: Joe Biden's supposed corruption. As one of Trump's lawyers during the impeachment trial, she tried to press the case against Biden at the center of the president's high crimes. Trump tried to get Ukraine to investigate allegations that Biden, as vice president, corruptly sought to have a Ukrainian prosecutor fired to protect his son, who was working on the board of the energy company Burisma in the region.

The allegations against the Bidens have been repeatedly debunked. It was Trump's demand that Ukraine investigate the matter that was deemed impeachable by the Democratic-led House of Representatives. Even one Senate Republican, Mitt Romney, agreed.

Nevertheless, Bondi had the gall to stand up at the RNC and deliver attacks on Biden that have been thoroughly debunked and scrutinized during the impeachment trial. Much of the information used to attack Biden was false Russian propaganda.

It's even worse than that, though. While she accused the Bidens of corruption, she stands credibly accused of a stark act of corruption herself — one that happens to involve Trump.

Here's what we know: In 2013, Trump donated $25,000 to Bondi's campaign as attorney general. Subsequently, she decided not to join a lawsuit filed by multiple states against Trump University, despite the fact that Florida residents had brought complaints to her office. It also turned out that the donation was illegal because the Trump Foundation cannot donate to political candidates; Trump said he paid $2,500 to the IRS to make up for the error. Trump would later settle that case brought by other states for $25 million.

It is, at the very best, a clear case of the appearance of corruption. It was certainly illegal. It may, in fact, have been the pure pay-for-play, quid pro quo, that it appears to have been. But regardless, the confirmed facts of the matter should be enough to make Bondi ashamed to associate with Trump ever again, and vice versa. Yet both have proved shameless.

But Bondi's performance is worse still. Because while she was railing against Biden for supposedly acting improperly with foreign governments, she has recently registered as a foreign agent of Qatar, a government that has been caught in its own corruption scandals. Under normal circumstances, a foreign agent working so closely for the president would be treated as a major scandal.

"I fought corruption and I know what it looks like, whether it's done by people wearing pinstripe suits or orange jumpsuits," she said, without a sense of irony. "But, when you look at Biden's 47-year career in politics, the people who benefited are his family members, not the American people."

This line was particularly egregious, given the fact that Trump's family members have been deeply involved in his administration. His daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner have high-ranking White House jobs, despite not having any qualifications for the roles. They have made millions on the side while serving in the administration. And while Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump were supposedly going to run the Trump Organization separately so as to avoid any conflicts of interest for the president, they have become prominent spokespeople for the Trump campaign. Both have had speaking roles at the RNC; Eric appeared shortly after Bondi.

And on top of all that, the president has been widely denounced for his use of federal government lands and buildings in service of the convention, blurring the lines between the administration and his campaign in a way that likely violates the Hatch Act.

So for Bondi to stand before the GOP and American people and attack Biden with charges of corruption, exploiting his government position, foreign entanglements, and nepotism, while ignoring much more egregious evidence implicating herself and the Trumps, was a startling act chutzpah.