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theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director
Wednesday, August 26, 2020
5 KEY MOMENTS From The RNC's Second Night
The second night of the convention featured the president taking part in multiple events
The second night of the 2020 Republican National Convention saw addresses from the first Black attorney general in Kentucky history, a former convict who was granted a full pardon after he spoke, and members of the Trump family, as well as the president's participation in the naturalization ceremony of new American citizens.
Here are five key moments from Tuesday night's portion of the convention.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron calls out Biden for race remarks
Daniel Cameron is the first Black attorney general in Kentucky's history, and he used his convention address to convey a message of unity, while also criticizing Democratic nominee Joe Biden for divisive remarks that he has made dealing with race.
"Democracy is a system that recognizes equality of humans before the law," Cameron said, quoting former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, adding, "whether you are the family of Breonna Taylor or David Dorn, these are the ideals that will heal our nation’s wounds.”
Cameron then brought up Biden's now-infamous comment about how if a person does not support him over Trump, "you ain't Black," and another instance in which he told a largely Black audience that Republican policies would put them "back in chains."
“Mr. Vice President, look at me. I am Black. We are not all the same, sir," Cameron said. "I am not in chains, my mind is my own, and you can’t tell me how to vote because of the color of my skin.”
The convention included footage of President Trump participating in a naturalization ceremony where he personally addressed new American citizens who had immigrated to the U.S. from Lebanon, Bolivia, India, Ghana and Sudan.
Trump, who has been accused of being anti-immigrant due to his hardline stance against illegal immigration, used the moment to emphasize his support for those who come to the country legally.
“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," Trump said during the ceremony. "It's not so easy. You went through a lot. And we appreciate you being here with us today."
The president spoke with appreciation for what it means to be American and with humility regarding his position.
"You've earned the most prized, treasured, cherished and priceless possession anywhere in the world," Trump said. "It's called American citizenship. There is no higher honor and no greater privilege. And it's an honor for me to be your president."
Trump pardons activist and former bank robber Jon Ponder
Jon Ponder, a former bank robber who went on to dedicate his life to helping ex-convicts through his Hope for Prisoners organization, spoke alongside Trump and the FBI agent who arrested Ponder, Richard Beasley.
Ponder said that in his past he had a misguided distrust of law enforcement and that he now appreciates police.
"Not so long ago, my life was running from the police, fearing the police, and avoiding the police," he said. "Not because of anything that the police had done to me personally, but due to the animosity I had allowed to grow inside of me, making me believe that they were my enemy. But today, praise God, I am filled with hope — a proud American citizen who has been given a second chance.”
Ponder described how he went on to connect with Beasley when he got out of prison and that the man who arrested him has since become a friend and “a source of encouragement.”
Ponder became involved in gang life when he was young and was first arrested for armed robbery at age 16. He spent the next 20 years in and out of jails before ultimately getting sent to federal prison for a drug- and alcohol-fueled bank robbery. After turning to religion while incarcerated, Ponder decided to take a different path and now helps former prisoners reenter society.
After Ponder, Beasley and Trump spoke, the president called up Ponder’s wife to be present as he granted Ponder a full pardon for his federal offense.
Earlier this year, the Nevada Pardons Board granted him clemency for his past battery convictions. Trump's pardon now clears his record of the federal bank robbery conviction.
First lady Melania Trump offers message of unity
The president's wife, Melania, delivered sobering remarks that addressed the problems facing the country while encouraging Americans to come together. She spoke about ongoing civil unrest and racial tension as well as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has ripped through the country.
“Like all of you, I have reflected on the racial unrest in our country. It is a harsh reality that we are not proud of parts of our history,” Melania Trump acknowledged. ”I encourage people to focus on our future while still learning from our past. We must remember that today that we are all one community comprised of many races, religions and ethnicities.”
The first lady called on people "to take a moment, pause and look at things from all perspectives," and "to come together in a civil manner so we can work and live up to standard American ideas."
"I also ask people to stop the violence and looting being done in the name of justice and never make assumptions based on the color of a person’s skin," she continued. "Instead of tearing things down, let's reflect on our mistakes.”
During a convention that has largely avoided talk of the coronavirus pandemic, the first lady recognized the impact that COVID-19 has had on the country while defending her husband, whose performance combating the pandemic has been heavily criticized by Biden.
“My husband’s administration will not stop fighting until there’s an effective treatment or vaccine available to everyone,” she said. “Donald will not rest until he has done all he can to take care of everyone impacted by this terrible epidemic.”
Sen. Rand Paul makes an anti-war push in support of Trump
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., acknowledged that he and Trump do not always see eye to eye but admitted that Trump "gets things done." In his convention address, Paul recalled Trump's accomplishments, including tax reform as well as criminal justice reform, which he touted as “the first real reform in a generation, and one that sought to undo the harm that others, like Joe Biden, have done.”
The libertarian-leaning senator said his "occasional policy differences" with Trump "are far outweighed by our significant agreements," and pointed to their shared belief that “a strong America cannot fight endless wars.”