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RNC Night 2: Speaker Yanked, Pompeo, Melania's Compassion

Eric and Tiffany Trump also spoke
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2020 12:09 AM CDT
Updated Aug 26, 2020 6:55 AM CDT

(Newser) – Before night two of the Republican National Convention had even begun, there was controversy: Mary Ann Mendoza, who had been scheduled to speak on President Trump's efforts to stop illegal immigration, was pulled from the schedule after retweeting a Twitter thread that included anti-Semitic and conspiratorial messages. As the AP reports, Mendoza's son was killed in 2014 in a head-on crash with an illegal immigrant who was driving under the influence. "Do yourself a favor and read this thread," Mendoza wrote atop the series of tweets that included what Politico calls "nearly every anti-Semitic trope of the last century to portray a Jewish cabal set on taking over American government." She later deleted the post and tweeted that she had "retweeted a very long thread earlier without reading every post within the thread." She apologized and said the Twitter thread "does not reflect my feelings or personal thoughts whatsoever." More from the night:

  • Another Tuesday night speaker, anti-abortion activist Abby Johnson, made headlines due to her own past statements. Johnson has advocated for "household voting," in which wives defer to their husbands on all political decisions. She also said earlier this year that it would be "smart" for police to racially profile her biracial son, whom she and her husband adopted at birth, Vice reports: "Statistically, my brown son is more likely to commit a violent offense over my white sons," she said in a YouTube video following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police. "Right now, Jude is an adorable, perpetually tan-looking little brown boy. But one day, he’s going to grow up and he’s going to be a tall, probably sort of large, intimidating-looking-maybe brown man." Johnson is white, and said her biological children would grow up to look like "white nerdy men."

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  • Per CNN, much of the two hours went by with no mention of the coronavirus pandemic—until the night's final speaker, first lady Melania Trump. "My deepest sympathy goes to everyone who has lost a loved one and my prayers are with those who are ill and suffering," she said during the rare speech. "I want you to know you are not alone. My husband's administration will not stop fighting until there is an effective treatment or vaccine for everyone." She also said that while "we are not proud of parts of our history," she encourages Americans "to focus on our future, while still learning from our past. We must remember that today, we are all one community, comprised of many races, religions, and ethnicities."
  • Speaking of the lack of COVID-19 mentions, NBC News notes top economic adviser Larry Kudlow actually spoke about the crisis in the past tense: "It was awful. Health and economic impacts were tragic."
  • The president himself made two "surprise" appearances, one to issue a pardon (more on that here) and the other to preside over a naturalization ceremony for new US citizens. "You followed the rules, you obeyed the laws, you learned our history, embraced our values, and proved yourselves to be men and women of the highest integrity," he said at the White House ceremony, per Fox News.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made what CNN calls an "unprecedented" appearance from Jerusalem to highlight Trump's foreign policy achievements; Democrats were decrying the move. "Here’s the weirdest aspect of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech," EJ Dionne tweeted. "He broke all sorts of precedents, politicized the State Department, and ran into a storm of legitimate criticism for a short and unmemorable speech that may not have moved even 10 votes."
  • Trump's son Eric and daughter Tiffany also spoke, and a video highlighting how Trump has empowered women featured his other daughter, Ivanka; Melania; his daughter-in-law, Lara; and his other son's girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle. (Guilfoyle and Donald Trump Jr. spoke Wednesday; Ivanka will introduce her father before his acceptance speech Thursday.)
  • Nicholas Sandmann, the teenage star of the infamous Covington Catholic viral video, spoke out against cancel culture. Vox has an explainer on him here; for more on his appearance, see Yahoo News.
(Read more Republican National Convention stories.)

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