Kimberly Guilfoyle set the tone for the no-platform Republican National Convention. Speakers included Donald Trump Jr., Nikki Haley, the McCloskeys.
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Kimberly Guilfoyle, the national chair of Trump Victory Finance Committee, offers a rousing speech at the Republican National Convention.
âVery, very forceful speech,â CNNâs Wolf Blitzer said when Kimberly Guilfoyle finished yelling at the camera during Mondayâs opening night of the Republican National Convention.
« They want to destroy this country and everything that we have fought for and hold dear,â Guilfoyle said of Democrats. âThey want to steal your liberty, your freedom,Â they want to control what you see and think and believe so that they can control how you live. They want to enslave you to the weak, dependent, liberal victim ideology to the point that you will not recognize this country or yourself.â
August 24, 2020; Washington, D.C., Kimberly Guilfoyle speaks from during the Republican National Convention at the Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. Mandatory Credit: Republican National Convention via USA TODAY NETWORK (Via OlyDrop) (Photo: Republican National Convention, Republican National Convention v)
Despite President Donald Trump and other Republicans saying this convention would be all hope and glory compared to the Democratic National Convention last week, this wasnât that. It may have been a secret plan of genius to have Guilfoyle go on before the headlining speakers. In comparison to her predictions of a dystopian future if Democratic nominee Joe Biden wereÂ elected, everything sounded reasonable and measured in comparison.
Former Gov. and ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley of South Carolina speaks during the Republican National Convention at the Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C., Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. (Photo: Republican National Convention)
Maybe too much so. Nikki Haley, the former Republican governor of South Carolina and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, sounded practically somnambulant in her speech praising Trump. She made some odd claims â suggesting that Iran no longer poses a threat thanks to Trump, for instance â but she made them in a way that didnât make you adjust the volume.
Itâs not that Guilfoyle and some of the earlier speakers Monday night, who, at the risk of sounding biased, often came off sounding like members of a cult, didnât make for effective television. They did. It was magnetic, impossible to turn away from.
An issue about the Republican convention, which featured Trump a coupleÂ times and will include appearances from him every night, is how often he and by extension his supporters, how to put it, lie. CNN broke away occasionally to correct false statements.
On MSNBC Rachel Maddow cut in at one point, explaining the on-screen âreality checkâ the network used every now and then. For example, when Amy Johnson Ford, a nurse from West Virginia, talked about how Trumpâs COVID-19 actions saved âthousands of lives,â MSNBC showed a graphic alongside her that said, âThe U.S. leads the world in both the number of reported COVID-19 deaths and cases.â
It was interesting enough, but until Maddow explained what MSNBC was doing it just looked like the typical chyrons networks use. Was FordÂ saying that the U.S. has the most deaths? No, she wasn’t.
The Washington Post’s well-regarded fact-checker called Monday night « a fire hose of false or misleading claims. »Â
Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA, speaks during the Republican National Convention at the Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C., Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. (Photo: Republican National Convention)
Trump and others had touted a kinder, gentler convention. But they tossed that notion out the window early on. Charlie Kirk,Â the head of Turning Point USA and a loyal Trump supporter, said, âI am here to tell you â¦ to warn youâ of what wouldÂ happen if Biden were elected. He also called Trump âthe bodyguard of Western civilization,â if you were wondering about that cult-like aspect.
This was in stark contrast to how Democrats adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic and how it forced changes to the format. Neither convention had the packed auditoriums and screaming crowds and wild costumes. But where Democrats embraced the intimacy of a virtual experience, Republicans, at least on the first night, went for more of an old-school feel, with speakers standing at a podium delivering addresses that more often than not served as a dire warning if Trump is not reelected.
In this image from video, Mark and Patricia McCloskey speak from St. Louis, during the first night of the Republican National Convention Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. (Photo: AP)
Not all of them, though, spoke in what amounted to an empty hall. Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who became internet famous after waving guns at Black Lives Matter protesters peacefully marching past their mansion, spokeÂ about the danger to âquiet neighborhoodsâ if Biden wins. Thatâs whatâs known as a dog whistle.
Race was a big part of the presentation â Tim Scott, the only Black Republican U.S. senator, was the nightâs final speaker, saying his family went from cotton fields to Congress. Haley said, âAmerica is not a racist country.â She also said that, as the daughter of Indian immigrants, âWe faced discrimination and hardship. But my parents never gave in to grievance and hate.â
Scott and Haley made some sense in the course of the proceedings. Donald Trump Jr., on the other hand. â¦
Donât mistake this as saying the Democrats, though widely praised for how they pulled off a virtual convention, did this better. They didnât. Both parties used the forced adaptations to the format effectively, and to appeal to their core supporters. But the contrasts could not have been more stark â by design.
Whether thatâs a good thing or a bad thing depends entirely on your feelings about Trump. He wouldnât have it any other way.
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