This is it. After two weeks of listening to politicians from both sides make their case, we have reached the final day of the convention, and its importance is hard to overstate.
Obviously, the main event is President Donald Trump’s speech – perhaps the single best chance he will get to win over voters before the election. In an unprecedented move, he is using the White House as his backdrop.
But there are other noteworthy speakers today as well, including Mr Trump’s daughter Ivanka, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and UFC boss Dana White. Oh, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell and House leader Kevin McCarthy are also talking, if you’re into that. (Nobody is into that).
If you missed yesterday’s action, worry not. You can catch up with our daily wrap.
RELATED: Trump finally settles on a strategy for the election
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With that out of the way, read on for all the latest news from the US.
1:22 pm August 28, 2020 Highlight
Next up was a section on one of the convention’s biggest themes, law and order.
“No one will be safe in Biden’s America,” he warned
“If the left gains power, they will demolish the suburbs, confiscate your guns, and appoint justices who will wipe away your Second Amendment and other constitutional freedoms.”
Needless to say, “demolishing the suburbs” is not actually in the Democrats’ platform. But Mr Trump has always been partial to a certain degree of embellishment.
“Biden is a Trojan horse for socialism,” he continued.
“If Joe Biden doesn’t have the strength to stand up to wild-eyed Marxists like Bernie Sanders and his fellow radicals – and there are many, there are many, many, we see them all the time, it’s incredible, actually – then how is he ever going to stand up for you? He’s not.
“The most dangerous aspect of the Biden platform is the attack on public safety. The Biden-Bernie manifesto calls for abolishing cash bail, immediately releasing 400,000 criminals onto the streets and into your neighbourhoods.
“Make no mistake, if you give power to Joe Biden, the radical left will defund police departments all across America. They will pass federal legislation to reduce law enforcement nationwide. They will make every city look like Democrat-run Portland, Oregon.
“My administration will always stand with the men and women of law enforcement.
“Every day, police officers risk their lives to keep us safe, and every year many sacrifice their lives in the line of duty.
“We must remember that the overwhelming majority of police officers in this country, and that’s the overwhelming majority, are noble, courageous and honourable. We have to give law enforcement, our police, back their power.
“They are afraid to act. They are afraid to lose their pension. They are afraid to lose their jobs. And by being afraid, they are not able to do the job that they so desperately want to do for you.
“When there is police misconduct, the justice system must hold wrongdoers fully and completely accountable, and it will. But when we can never have a situation where things are going on as they are today, we must never allow mob rule. We can never allow mob rule.”
1:15 pm August 28, 2020 Highlight
Donald Trump spent a fair bit of time hailing his own response to the pandemic.
“Thanks to advances, we have pioneered the fatality rate, and you look at it and you look at the numbers – it has been reduced by 80 per cent since April. 80 per cent,” he said.
That was a little weirdly phrased – we have pioneered the fatality rate? – but essentially he was claiming the US has a good fatality rate.
“The United States has among the lowest case fatality rates of any major country anywhere in the world,” he continued.
“The European Union’s case fatality rate is nearly three times higher than ours, but you don’t hear that. They don’t write about that. They don’t want to write about that. They don’t want you to know those things.”
As always when Mr Trump starts to stray from the script on his teleprompter, there is a little bit to fact check here.
His claim that the US has “among the lowest fatality rates of any major country anywhere in the world” is … not correct. America actually has the 10th-worst number of deaths per million people in the world.
He is at least correct that some European countries have fared worse. Those nations are Sweden, Italy, the United Kingdom, Spain and Belgium.
Perhaps Mr Trump would argue that he was talking about the death rate per number of confirmed cases. For more on that, refer back to his interview with Jonathan Swan a few weeks ago.
“Unfortunately, from the beginning, our opponents have shown themselves capable of nothing but a partisan ability to criticise,” Mr Trump continued.
“When I took bold action to issue a travel ban on China, very early indeed, Joe Biden called it hysterical and xenophobic. And then I introduced a ban on Europe very early again. If we had listened to Joe, hundreds of thousands more Americans would have died.
“Instead of following the science, Joe Biden wants to inflict a painful shutdown on the entire country. His shutdown would inflict unthinkable and lasting harm on our nation’s children, families, and citizens of all backgrounds.
“The cost of the Biden shutdown would be measured in increased drug overdoses, depression, alcohol addiction, suicides, heart attacks, economic devastation, job loss, and much more.
“Joe Biden’s plan is not a solution to the virus, but rather it’s a surrender to the virus.
“My administration has a very different approach, to save as many lives as possible we are focusing on the science, the facts and the data. We are aggressively sheltering those at highest risk, especially the elderly, while allowing lower-risk Americans to safely return to work and to school, and we want to see so many of those great states be open.
“We want them to be open, we want them to be open, they have to get back to work. They have to get back to work, and they have to get back to school.
“Most importantly, we are marshalling America’s scientific genius to produce a vaccine in record time. Under Operation Warp Speed, we have three different vaccines in the final stage of trials right now, years ahead of what has been achieved before. Nobody thought it could ever be done this fast.
“Normally it would be years, and we did it in a matter of a few months. We are producing them in advance so that hundreds of millions of doses will be quickly available. We will have a safe and effective vaccine this year, and together we will crush the virus.”
1:01 pm August 28, 2020 Highlight
During another riff on the evils of his opponent, Donald Trump said China would “own” the United States under a Biden presidency.
“He oversaw the rise of ISIS, and cheered the rise of China as a positive development for America and the world. Some positive development!” said Mr Trump.
“That’s why China supports Joe Biden and desperately wants him to win. I can tell you that upon very good information
“China would own our country if Joe Biden got elected. Unlike Biden, I will hold them fully accountable for the tragedy that they caused all over the world.”
He used that line to pivot into a section addressing the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed 180,000 Americans.
“Many Americans, including me, have sadly lost friends and cherished loved ones to this horrible disease,” the President acknowledged.
“As one nation, we mourn, we grieve, and we hold in our hearts forever the memories of all of those lives that have been so tragically taken, so unnecessary.
“In their honour, we will unite. In their memory, we will overcome.”
Mr Trump said that, when the virus hit, his administration launched “the largest national mobilisation since World War II”.
“We produced the world’s largest supply of ventilators – not a single American who has needed a ventilator has been denied a ventilator, which is a miracle.”
He said Vice President Mike Pence had done a “good job” heading the White House’s coronavirus task force.
“In recent months, our nation and the world has been hit by the once-in-a-century pandemic that China allowed to spread around the globe. They could have stopped it, but they allowed it to come out,” Mr Trump repeated.”
In other words, blame China for all those deaths, not me.
12:56 pm August 28, 2020 Highlight
Donald Trump made a point of mentioning his record on issues affecting the African-American community, repeating his frequent claim that he’s done more for it than any other president since Abraham Lincoln.
“We worked hard to pass historic criminal justice reform, prison reform, opportunity zones, and long-term funding of historically black colleges and universities. And before the China virus came in, produced the best unemployment numbers for African-Americans, Hispanic Americans and Asian-Americans ever recorded,” said the President.
“And I say very modestly that I have done more for the African-American community than any president since Abraham Lincoln, our first Republican president.
“I have done more in three years for the black community than Joe Biden has done in 47 years.”
12:52 pm August 28, 2020 Highlight
I’ll make this brief, but it’s a personal bugbear of mine.
During his speech just now, Mr Trump repeated his claim that he passed a policy called Veterans Choice, which among other things, allows US military veterans to access doctors outside the government’s Veterans Affairs system if the wait times for appointments are too long.
“We also passed VA Accountability, and VA Choice,” Mr Trump said, in the middle of a list of his administration’s achievements.
“Our great veterans. We’re taking care of our veterans. Ninety-one approval rating this month, the VA, given by our veterans.”
As I point out every time Mr Trump makes this claim – and as has been pointed out to him, directly, on multiple occasions – it is straight up false.
The legislation for Veterans Choice was passed in 2014, when Mr Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama was president. He had nothing to do with it, and I have no idea why he keeps making this obviously false assertion.
Read more about it here.
12:30 pm August 28, 2020 Highlight
President Trump was greeted by more chants of “four more years”.
“I stand before you tonight, honoured by your support, proud of the extraordinary progress we have made together over the last four incredible years, and brimming with confidence in the bright future we will build for America over the next four years,” he told the crowd.
Mr Trump echoed his daughter by prefacing his remarks with reassurance for the people in Hurricane Laura’s path.
He then thanked Ivanka for her introduction, and asked her to stand up for a round of applause. It was very State of the Union-esque.
“To all of my children and grandchildren, I love you more than words can express,” said Mr Trump.
He paid tribute to his younger brother Robert, who died earlier this month.
“I know my brother, Robert, is looking down on us right now from heaven. He was a great brother and was very proud of the job we are all doing. Thank you. We love you, Robert,” said the President.
We then got into the guts of the speech. Mr Trump issued a direct rebuke of his opponent Joe Biden’s assertion last week that the US was enduring a period of “darkness”.
“America is not a land cloaked in darkness. America is a torch that enlightens the entire world,” Mr Trump said.
“In a new term as president, we will again build the greatest economy in history, quickly returning to full employment, soaring incomes, and record prosperity.
“We will defend America against all threats, and protect America against all dangers. We will lead America into new frontiers of ambition and discovery, and we will reach for new heights of national achievement.
“We will rekindle new faith in our values, new pride in our history, and a new spirit of unity that can only be realised through love for our great country.”
The President spent some time talking about the setting for his speech, which was of course the White House. As we mentioned earlier, it is unprecedented for a political convention speech to be given there.
“Gathered here at our beautiful and majestic White House, known all over the world as ‘The People’s House’, we cannot help but marvel at the miracle that is our great American story,” he said.
“This has been the home of larger-than-life figures like Teddy Roosevelt and Andrew Jackson, who rallied Americans to bold visions of a bigger and brighter future.
“Within these walls lived tenacious generals like presidents Grant and Eisenhower, who led our soldiers in the cause of freedom. From these grounds, Thomas Jefferson sent Lewis and Clarke on a daring expedition to cross a wild and uncharted continent.
“In the depths of a bloody civil war, president Abraham Lincoln looked out these very windows upon a half-completed Washington Monument and asked God, in his providence, to save our nation.
“Two weeks after Pearl Harbor, Franklin Roosevelt welcomed Winston Churchill and, just inside, they set our people on a course to victory in the Second World War.”
And now, dear friends, it plays home to Mr Trump as he tweets in all-caps. Truly, an inspiring place.
With that nostalgia hit out of the way, Mr Trump transitioned into an extended attack on his opponent, Joe Biden.
“At no time before have voters faced a clearer choice between two parties, two visions, two philosophies, or two agendas,” he said.
“This election will decide whether we save the American dream, or whether we allow a socialist agenda to demolish our cherished destiny.
“Your vote will decide whether we protect law-abiding Americans or whether we give free reign to violent anarchists and agitators and criminals who threaten our citizens.
“And this election will decide whether we will defend the American way of life, or whether we will allow a radical movement to completely dismantle and destroy it. That won’t happen.
“At the Democratic National Convention, Joe Biden and his party repeatedly assailed America as a land of racial, economic and social injustice. So tonight, I ask you a simple question. How can the Democratic Party ask to lead our country when it spends so much time tearing down our country?
“In the left’s backward view, they do not see America as the most free, just and exceptional nation on earth. Instead, they see a wicked nation that must be punished for its sins.
“Our opponents say that redemption for you can only can come from giving power to them. This is a tired anthem spoken by every repressive movement throughout history.
“But in this country, we don’t look to career politicians for salvation. In America, we don’t turn to government to restore our souls. We put our faith in almighty God.
“Joe Biden is not a saviour of America’s soul. He is the destroyer of America’s jobs and, if given the chance, he will be the destroyer of American greatness.
“For 47 years, Joe Biden took the donations of blue-collar workers, gave them hugs and even kisses and told them he felt their pain. And then he flew back to Washington and voted to ship our jobs to China and many other distant lands.
“Joe Biden has spent his entire career outsourcing their dreams, and the dreams of American workers, offshoring their jobs, opening their borders, and sending their sons and daughters to fight in endless foreign wars – wars that never ended.”
Mr Trump said he ran for office in 2016 because he “could not watch the betrayal of our country any longer”.
“I could not sit by as career politicians let other countries take advantage of us on trade, borders, foreign policy and national defence,” he said.
“I have done nothing but fight for you. I did what our political establishment never expected, and could never forgive – breaking the cardinal rule of Washington politics. I kept my promise.
“Together, we have ended the rule of the failed political class, and they are desperate to get their power back by any means necessary. You’ve seen that. They are angry at me because, instead of putting them first, I very simply said, America First.”
This is dragging on, so I’ll keep transcribing the President’s speech in a new post. Stay tuned.
12:17 pm August 28, 2020 Highlight
OK, we’ve officially moved to the South Lawn of the White House for the big finish to this convention.
Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka took the stage to Elton John’s I&amp;amp;#x27;m Still Standing. She started by sending a “special message” to Americans affected by Hurricane Laura.
“Our hearts are with you. The President will continue to support you every step of the way,” said Ms Trump.
Here’s a view of the crowd. This is not what social distancing looks like.
Moving on to politics, Ms Trump outlined a list of things her father’s administration believes in.
“We want a future where our kids can believe in American greatness. We want a society where every child can live in a safe community and go to a great school of their choice. We want a culture where differences of opinion and debate are encouraged, not cancelled. Where law enforcement is respected, where our country’s rich diversity is celebrated, and where people of all backgrounds, rays, genders and creeds have their chance to achieve their God-given potential,” she said.
“This is the future my father is working to build each and every day.”
Ms Trump called her father “the people’s President”.
“To the hardworking men and women across America and here tonight, you are the reason my father fights with all of his heart and all of his might,” she said.
“You are the reason he ran for President in the first place. And you are the reason he is going to keep fighting for four more years.”
That sparked chants of “four more years” from the audience.
Like Melania Trump two days ago, Ivanka directly addressed the growing coronavirus death toll.
“As our nation endures this grave trial, I pray for the families who are mourning the loss of a loved one. For those who are battling COVID-19, and for the first responders and the healthcare heroes who remain on the front-line of this fight,” she said.
“The grief, sorrow and anxiety during this time is felt by all. I have anticipate been with my father and I’ve seen the pain in his eyes when he receives updates on the lives that have been stolen by this plague.
“I have witnessed him make some of the most difficult decisions of his life. I sat with him in the Oval Office as he stopped travel to Europe. I watched him take the strongest, most inclusive economy in a lifetime, the lowest unemployment in a half a century and the highest wage increase for working families in decades, and close it down to save American lives.”
She also spoke about race relations, citing her father&amp;amp;#x27;s commutation of Alice Johnson&amp;#x27;s life sentence as an example of him working to make the criminal justice system fairer.
“He became a voice for those who had been unfairly silenced in our prison system,” said Ms Trump.
“President Trump rectified the disparities of the 1994 Biden crime bill that disproportionately hurt African-Americans. Against all odds, he brought together Republicans and Democrats and passed the most significant criminal justice reform of our generation, and we’re just getting started.
“My father did not campaign on this issue. He tackled this injustice because he has a deep compassion for those who have been treated unfairly. More than rhetoric and political pros, the ability to build consensus and achieve bipartisanship will help to heal our country’s racial inequities and bring us forward together.”
She ended her speech by defending Mr Trump’s “unconventional” nature, as she put it.
“For the first time in a long time, we have a President who has called out Washington’s hypocrisy, and they hate him for it,” she said.
“Dad, people attack you for being unconventional. But I love you for being real, and I respect you for being effective.
“Our President refuses to surrender his beliefs to score points with the political elite. To my father, you (the people) are the elite. You are the only people he cares about scoring points with.
“If these problems were easy to solve, previous presidents would have done so. But you don’t achieve different results by doing things the same way. Washington has not changed Donald Trump. Donald Trump has changed Washington.
“America doesn’t need another empty vessel to do whatever the media and the fringe of his party demands. Now, more than ever, America needs four years of a warrior in the White House!
“Tonight, I could not be more proud to introduce my father – a man who I know was made for this moment in history.”
11:56 am August 28, 2020 Highlight
Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani spent much of his speech decrying an increase in violent crime in the city, which is currently run by a Democrat, Bill de Blasio.
Mr Giuliani was famously tough on crime during his tenure, and oversaw a steady decline in it.
“My city is in shock,” he told the convention.
“Murders, shootings and violent crime are increasing at percentages unheard of in the past.
“We are seeing the return of rioting and looting.
“Don’t let Democrats do to America what they have done to New York.”
He said the Democratic Party was asking Americans to vote for “an obviously defective candidate”.
“Biden has changed his principles so often, he no longer has any principles,” Mr Giuliani argued.
He called Mr Biden a “Trojan Horse” for Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Black Lives Matter.
“His party’s entire left wing (is) hidden inside his body, just waiting to execute their pro-criminal, anti-police policies,” he said.
“It is clear that a vote for Democrats and Biden creates the risk that you’ll bring this lawlessness to your city, your town, your suburb.”
11:50 am August 28, 2020 Highlight
The convention heard from Ann Dorn, whose husband David Dorn, a police officer, was killed after intervening in a looting in June.
She fought through tears as she spoke about his death.
“I relive the horror in my mind every single day,” Ms Dorn said.
“My hope is that having you relive it with me now will help shake this country from this nightmare we’re witnessing in our cities and bring about positive, peaceful change.
“How did we get to this point, where so many young people are callous and indifferent towards human life? This isn’t a video game where you can commit mayhem and then just hit reset and bring all the characters back to life.
“David is never coming back to me. He was murdered by people who didn’t know and just didn’t care. He would have done anything to help them.
“Violence and destruction are not legitimate forms of protest. They do not safeguard black lives, they only destroy them.
“President Trump understands this, and has offered federal help to restore order in our communities.
“At a time when police departments are short on resources, we need that help. We should accept that help.
“We must heal before we can affect change. But we cannot heal amid devastation and chaos. President Trump knows we need more Davids in our community, not fewer.
“We need to come together in peace and remember that every life is precious.”
I should note that a couple of days ago, David Dorn’s daughters spoke out against Ms Dorn’s intention to speak at the convention.
They told The St Louis American their father disagreed with much of Mr Trump’s rhetoric and agenda and would not have wanted his death to be used in support of the President.
“We know his wife is a Trump supporter, but he was not,” one of his daughters, Debra White, said.
“He frequently said they were not able to talk about politics, because they were at opposite ends of the spectrum. I know he would not want his legacy to be for his death to be used to further Trump’s law-and-order agenda.
“Our father was a registered Democrat,” said Lisa Dorn.
“He thought Trump is doing many things to ruin our country.”
11:34 am August 28, 2020 Highlight
It was no surprise to see Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White pop up – he also spoke at the Republican convention four years ago.
What I didn’t quite understand was his lack of volume control.
“HEY EVERYONE. I’M DANA WHITE, THE PRESIDENT OF THE UFC,” White announced.
I’m not going to keep doing the all-caps thing. He wasn’t quite at Kimberly Guilfoyle’s level. Just be aware that the man talks very loudly, to the point where I was compelled to turn down my headphones’ volume.
“Many of you know who I am, what I do, and that I am friends with the President. I spoke at this convention four years ago, and I’m back, because I believe we need President Trump’s leadership now more than ever,” he continued.
“Before the pandemic, President Trump built the greatest economy in our nation’s history and created opportunities for all Americans like no one before him.
“Financial markets hit all time highs, unemployment was at an all time low, and we weren’t facing the lawless destruction that now is occurring in a few of our great cities.”
What about the lawless destruction of my eardrums, Dana?
“It blows my mind how quickly some of the leadership in this country has forgotten the critical role first responders play in our society. Police departments and other law enforcement – even some fire departments – have faced opposition from many in this country. But they are always the people who are asked to step up when things are at their worst and put themselves at risk,” he said.
“That has certainly been the case during this ongoing pandemic. Come on America. Defunding these vital positions is not the answer. The first responders have always taken care of us, and now more than ever, we need to take care of them.”
I’m not entirely sure what any of this has to do with police shooting unarmed African-Americans, or what it has to do with Joe Biden’s policies, given he is explicitly opposed to defunding police departments.
To be fair though, I’ve been watching White’s UFC for years now and I’m still not entirely sure what a butterfly guard is. So I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed.
“Let’s talk about COVID, and let’s be very honest about it,” White said, before proceeding to not be very honest about it.
“No one person, and no one place, could have anticipated the challenges that COVID would bring. But President Trump has faced all these obstacles head-on. He immediately put protective measures in place and he reached out to the best and the brightest American businesses across all industries to discuss what his administration could do to get the economy back up and running safely.”
“Faced all the obstacles head-on.” Honestly. There is political spin, and then there is blatant revisionist history.
White went on to talk about the role he played on a business task force Mr Trump set up.
“Firsthand, I had the ability to witness how hardworking and determined President Trump was to solve unprecedented problems our country was facing,” he said.
“I personally observed his ability to listen and understand the issues impacting Americans of all backgrounds. It was clear, his highest priority was always the health and safety of everyone in our country.”