News Politics Shriek-speeches and red hats: The first two days of the Republican National Convention
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Shriek-speeches and red hats: The first two days of the Republican National Convention

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Donald Trump’s family members were just part of the chorus of impassioned voices urging voters to re-elect the US President, at night two of the Republican National Convention.

Other voices came from a viral MAGA hat-wearing teenager, an ultra-conservative anti-abortionist and a former Fox News host who screamed her way through her speech.

Many speakers used the opportunity to paint a grim picture for Americans, should the Democratic Party be elected.

The economy was front and centre, with Republicans focusing on economic and trade deal successes and promoting Trump’s ‘America First’ sentiment.

Ignoring the millions of Americans battling unemployment during the coronavirus pandemic, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow described a bright republican economy.

“Our economic choice is very clear,” Mr Kudlow said.

“Do you want economic health, prosperity, opportunity and optimism, or do you want to turn back to the dark days of stagnation, recession and pessimism?”

Other major themes running through the speeches was Mr Trump’s supposed persecution by biased media outlets, freedom of religion and speech, and cancel culture.

Tiffany Trump, the President’s second-youngest child, followed in her father’s footsteps and accused the media of spreading false, anti-Trump narratives, saying voters had been “manipulated and invisibly coerced” by the media and tech companies.

There was a lot to take in – here are the most noteworthy episodes from the first two days of the convention.

The one with the MAGA hat

One familiar face toting the media bias/Trump-persecution narrative was Nicholas Sandmann.

Mr Sandmann shot to fame in January 2019, when a video of a confrontation between him and Native American activist Nathan Phillips went viral.

The video, taken at the March for Life protest at the Lincoln Memorial, featured Mr Sandmann protesting in defence of unborn children while wearing the polarising ‘Make America Great Again’ (MAGA).

Following the viral video, Mr Sandmann reportedly received multimillion-dollar defamation settlements from major media outlets.

“The media portrayed me as an aggressor, with a relentless smirk on my face – in reality, the video confirms I was standing with my hands behind my back and an awkward smile,” Mr Sandmann said.  

“The full war machine of the mainstream media revved up into attack mode. 

“The truth was not important, advancing their anti-Christian, anti-conservative and anti-Donald Trump narrative was all that mattered.”

The one with all the shouting

Many speakers turned to powerful, descriptive language to champion the Republican agenda and discredit Democrats.

Few, however, were as powerful and descriptive as former Fox News host, Kimberly Guilfoyle, whose fervent speech on day one placed her at the centre of social media mockery.

Ms Guilfoyle warned voters that “socialists” Joe Biden and Kamala Harris would “enslave” Americans, adding that another Trump term could return the US to “a shining city on a hill”.

And while her attempts to inspire audiences may have been lost on the empty room she spoke in, many watching from home still felt the electricity of Ms Guilfoyle’s shriek-speech.

“They want to steal your liberty, your freedom. They want to control what you see and think and believe so that they can control how you live,” Ms Guilfoyle yelled.

The one with all the faith

Mr Trump’s strong pro-life stance was covered extensively throughout the second day of speeches, and was highlighted in the speech of anti-abortion activist Abby Johnson.

Ms Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood worker, used her speech to draw a distinction between Mr Trump, “the most pro-life activist” in US history, and “radical anti-life activists” Mr Biden and Ms Harris.

She also delivered a graphic story detailing an abortion she witnessed on her last day at Planned Parenthood – a story that has reportedly been debunked.

But Ms Johnson’s anti-abortion speech was overshadowed by some of her other ultra-conservative political views, including her vocal support of ‘head-of-household’ voting.

This was in contrast to Melania Trump’s speech, which championed the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the US.

“I would support bringing back household voting. How anti-feminist of me,” Ms Johnson said on Twitter earlier this year.

“In a Godly household, the husband would get the final say.”

The one with no masks

Melania Trump was the headliner for day two of the RNC, delivering her keynote speech from her newly renovated White House Rose Garden.

Dressed in military-style greens, Ms Trump was one of the only speakers throughout the first two days of the convention to mention the coronavirus outside of an economic context.

Ms Trump expressed sympathies towards victims of the pandemic and thanked healthcare workers for their dedication.

Notably, the First Lady was the only speaker who addressed a real-life crowd – none of whom appeared to be following social distancing regulations, nor were they wearing masks.

Ms Trump was also one of the few speakers who did not include disparaging remarks about the Democratic Party.

“I don’t want to use my precious time to attack the other side,” Ms Trump said.

She also appeared to draw attention to her husband’s reputation for using social media to post questionable, and sometimes inaccurate statements. 

“Total honesty is what our citizens deserve from our President,” she said.

“Whether you like it or not, you always know what he’s thinking.”

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