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Republican convention showcases rising stars


Last updated 8/27/2020 at 7:16am

The New York Times via AP, Pool Travis Dove photo

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence give a thumbs-up after speaking during the first day of the Republican National Convention Monday, Aug. 24, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

A rising generation of Republican stars offered an optimistic view of President Donald Trump's leadership on the opening night of the Republican Party's scaled-back convention Monday, Aug. 24.

As Trump faces pressure to expand his appeal beyond his loyal supporters, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the Senate's sole Black Republican, and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, the daughter of Indian immigrants, sought to cast the Republican Party as welcoming to Americans of color, The Associated Press said.

"I was a brown girl in a black and white world," Haley said Monday night, noting that she faced discrimination but rejecting the idea that "America is a racist country." She also gave a nod to the Black Lives Matter movement, saying "of course we know that every single Black life is valuable."

According to the AP, the prime-time convention proceedings, which featured a blend of taped and live speeches, focused largely on dire talk about Joe Biden, Trump's Democratic challenger in the November election. Speakers warned that electing Biden would lead to violence in American cities spilling into the suburbs. One speaker called Trump the "bodyguard of Western civilization."

Trump's team tried out multiple themes over the course of the night. They featured optimism from those who could represent the Republican Party's future, attempts to characterize Biden as a vessel for socialists and far-left Democrats and humanizing stories about Trump.

The opening night of the four-day convention reflected the urgency fueling Trump's push to reshape the presidential contest with Election Day just 10 weeks away, the AP said.

Biden and his running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, are keeping a relatively low profile this week. In a tweet Monday night, Biden told supporters to "stay focused."

One of several African Americans on Monday night's schedule, former football star Herschel Walker, defended the president against those who call him a racist.

"It hurts my soul to hear the terrible names that people call Donald," Walker said. "The worst one is 'racist.' I take it as a personal insult that people would think I would have a 37-year friendship with a racist."

The opening night of the convention featured Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the St. Louis couple charged with felonies for pointing guns at what prosecutors deemed non-violent Black Lives Matter protesters marching past their home.

"What you saw happen to us could just as easily happen to any of you who are watching from quiet neighborhoods around our country," Patricia McCloskey said, sitting on a couch in a wood-paneled room.

"They've actually charged us with felonies for daring to defend our home," her husband said.

None of the protestors who broke down their gate and trespassed on their property have been charged.

Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida said Democrats will "disarm you, empty the prisons, lock you in your home and invite MS-13 to live next door."

Trump and his supporters touted his response to the pandemic while standing alongside front-line workers in the White House.

Those cheering Trump's leadership on the pandemic included a coronavirus patient, a small-business owner from Montana and a nurse practitioner from Virginia.

"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," Amy Ford, a registered nurse who was deployed to New York and Texas to fight the coronavirus, said.

The first day of the 2020 Republican convention began early in the day as Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were renominated by delegates who gathered in Charlotte, the city originally selected to host the convention before the pandemic struck.

According to the AP, the Republicans spoke from the ballroom in Charlotte before the proceedings moved to Washington for prime-time.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Valley Staff can be reached by email at [email protected]

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