Convention month is officially complete.
The voice of Jon Voight returned for the fourth and final night of the 2020 Republican National Convention to do the voiceover for the opening video segment, Land of Greatness. Roughly three hours later, President Trump concluded his 70-minute speech that ended the 2020 RNC.
A lot happened in between those two moments. Franklin Graham gave the opening prayer from the stage of the Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C., followed by two military children leading the Pledge of Allegiance.
Next, House minority leader Kevin McCarthy gave a taped message: “No one has done more to protect and advance this nation than President Trump.”
McCarthy was followed by Ja’Ron Smith, deputy assistant to the president, who gave a message of his own from Mellon Auditorium.
There were back-to-back segments featuring Democrats who jumped to the other side of the aisle and now support Trump. There was a taped “Democrats for Trump” segment which aired, and that was followed by on-stage remarks from Rep. Jeff Van Drew, a New Jersey Democrat turned Republican.
CNN and Fox News showed the RNC video presentation from the beginning at 8:30 p.m. ET. CNN showed the video full-screen until 8:55 p.m. ET. MSNBC stuck with All In with Chris Hayes and did not have a box showing the RNC. MSNBC did not start showing the RNC video until 9 p.m., right on time for Sen. Mitch McConnell‘s message, which he taped at a horse farm in Kentucky.
All three cable newsers aired Sen. McConnell’s message.
MSNBC went back to studio coverage not long after, whereas CNN and Fox News stuck with the video of Utah attorney general Sean Reyes.
CNN went to break after Reyes’ address. Fox News stuck with the video, showing Debbie Flood, Melron Corp. president. MSNBC remained with studio coverage, led by Rachel Maddow, Joy Reid and Nicolle Wallace.
After a discussion between Jake Tapper and Abby Phillip about the number of diverse voices in the video relative to the diversity in the president’s administration, CNN returned to the RNC video, showing an emotional taped message delivered by Ann Dorn, the widow of retired St. Louis police captain David Dorn, who was killed defending a store during looting in St. Louis amid the June police brutality protests.
All three cable newsers showed the woman’s remarks.
NYPD union chief Pat Lynch then provided a taped message. “Democrats have surrendered our streets and our institutions … the radical left doesn’t want better policing, they want no policing,” he said.
MSNBC skipped showing Lynch, and went on to show former New York mayor and President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, who claimed that Joe Biden would bring “lawlessness to your town, city or suburb” if elected president.
“Don’t let Democrats do to America what they did to New York,” said Giuliani, who said Biden will be a “Trojan horse” for “far-left” Democrats like Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Law and order was a significant theme throughout the week, and tonight was no different.
CNN cut out of the end of Giuliani’s speech. Wolf Blitzer asked Tapper for his thoughts: “This is, on a national stage, Fox programming, which is why maybe some people’s parents and grandparents seem really scared these days,” remarked a visibly frustrated CNN anchor.
Sen. Tom Cotton later appeared on stage. He spoke about his military background, and compared Trump and Biden’s records side by side. “China wants Biden” was one of the themes of his remarks.
Sen. Cotton was followed by the parents of Kayla Mueller, a woman who was captured and killed by ISIS. Their daughter’s story is truly tragic and horrifying. They mention that they have never heard from Biden and blame the Obama administration for not doing enough to rescue their daughter.
“God gave us Kayla, and she gave herself to the world.”
In heartbreaking testimonial, parents of Kayla Mueller, humanitarian worker captured and killed by ISIS, honor their daughter, praise Pres. Trump, and call on Americans to “stay strong like Kayla.” https://t.co/EyJzJDolZ4 pic.twitter.com/WcxGfb4PrR
— ABC News (@ABC) August 28, 2020
Next, Alice Marie Johnson, a criminal justice reform advocate who was granted clemency by President Trump in 2018 after serving 21 years in jail. She was serving a life sentence on money laundering and nonviolent drug charges. Her situation was brought to Trump’s attention by Kim Kardashian West.
Alice Johnson is delivering powerful, personal remarks about her journey to being freed from prison by President Trump. She said no one should be judged by their worst day. A key concept to Democrats and Republicans.
She gave Trump a strong endorsement after her experience.
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) August 28, 2020
The broadcast networks entered RNC Night 4 coverage at the top of the 10 p.m. ET hour, right before Ivanka Trump introduced her father.
Trump started her speech by acknowledging those affected by Hurricane Laura. She also spoke lovingly about her father, and “the moments I wish every American could see.”
She added: “I pray for the families who are mourning the loss of a loved one, for all those who are battling Covid-19.”
Ivanka Trump is one of the few speakers on RNC’s fourth night to directly mention the victims of the pandemic: “I pray for the families who are mourning the loss of a loved one, for all those who are battling COVID-19” https://t.co/xM5Y49x2IL pic.twitter.com/UqVuu4vLUZ
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 28, 2020
Like vp Mike Pence’s speech the previous night, Trump’s speech touts her father’s response to the pandemic. She also urged Americans to ignore what he tweets and pay attention to what he does: “The results speak for themselves.”
While Ivanka Trump was giving a nice speech on behalf of her father on the South Lawn, this was happening outside of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue:
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) August 28, 2020
Dance party vibes here just blocks away from the South Lawn where protesters are banging tambourines, blasting Go Go music and blaring air horns to drown out Trump’s RNC speech pic.twitter.com/pm4sDCyDTy
— Matthew Choi (@matthewchoi2018) August 28, 2020
“These protesters out here say their outrage is fueled by the silence and lack of action from the president,” said ABC News White House correspondent Rachel Scott. “They want to hear the president say the words that are printed outside, right in front of the White House: Black Lives Matter. They want to hear the president say something about Jacob Blake. They are frustrated with the inaction here tonight. They are marching here right to the White House to send this message straight to the president.”
Then, it was time for President Trump to give his nomination acceptance speech.
But, where are the masks?
.@weijia reports the Trump campaign insists they are following “strict protocols” amid #COVID19, but as @realDonaldTrump takes the stage for #RNC2020, nearly 2,000 guests are “standing shoulder to shoulder here…many of these attendees are not wearing masks” pic.twitter.com/ycYCVilfQ4
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) August 28, 2020
If Trump wants to show his commitment to fighting #COVID19 and saving American lives, the crowd at the WH tonight is sending the wrong message
— Ana Cabrera (@AnaCabrera) August 28, 2020
This crowd is bunched up like there’s no COVID at all, just as Trump wants and needs. How many members of that Border Patrol union will go back to work and spread covid to migrants? How many cabinet members will catch it? Did Alice Johnson get tested?
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) August 28, 2020
Trump’s speech ran for about an hour and 10 minutes, and he attacked his opponent throughout, saying the name “Biden” 41 times.
He went after Democrats more generally, saying, “They see a wicked nation that must be punished for its sins. Our opponents say that redemption for you can only come from giving power to them.”
He added: “Joe Biden is not a savior 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.”
He went on to say, “For 47 years Joe Biden took the donations of blue-collar workers, gave them hugs and even kisses …” At that point people in the crowd started chuckling, which then turned into applause.
“Joe Biden spent his entire career outsourcing their dreams and the dreams of American workers,” said Trump. “Off-shoring their jobs, opening their borders and sending their sons and daughters to fight in endless foreign wars, wars that never ended. Four years ago I ran for president because I could not watch this betrayal of our country any longer.”
Trump started speaking about the coronavirus, and CNN, just before 11 p.m., suddenly showed a coronavirus pandemic graphic, something it had not done all convention up to that point.
“This election will decide whether we will defend the American way of life, or whether we allow a radical movement to completely dismantle and destroy it,” Trump at one point said.
Reading from a prompter, he also attempted to describe goals of a second-term agenda, including the creation of 10 million jobs in 10 months, bringing medical supply chains back to the United States, and landing the first woman on the moon! He said a coronavirus vaccine would be available before the end of the year “or maybe even sooner.”
After 1 hour and 10 minutes, the speech was over.
— CSPAN (@cspan) August 28, 2020
“Clocking in at just over 70 minutes, second longest convention acceptance speech in American history,” said ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “Bet you can guess who had the first, it was Donald Trump in 2016. That was 76 minutes. Just about everything else in this convention acceptance speech is different and unusual. The setting first of all … the White House. It is known as the people’s house. Tonight President Trump reveled in the fact that ‘we,’ speaking of his supporters are there and ‘they,’ his opponents, are not.”
A massive fireworks display lit up the Washington Monument as Trump concluded his acceptance speech at the RNC.
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) August 28, 2020
.@maddow’s fact check right after Trump’s speech is worth your watch.
— Lauren Peikoff (@laurenpeikoff) August 28, 2020
A highly rated prime-time cable newser from the other side loved it:
This is an election between an optimistic vision of an America filled with promise and a dark and gloomy vision of an America steeped in racism and evil. Optimism always wins! #Trump2020
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) August 28, 2020
“Well, there certainly were impressive fireworks on the mall, but I have to say I was surprised at the lack of fireworks in the president’s speech tonight,” said Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace. “First of all, it was far too long. 70 minutes exactly and I felt at times that it felt like more of a State of the Union speech, like a campaign speech. The president went through all of his accomplishments during his first term and they are a great number and they are considerable. And then as you say, he went after Joe Biden and he had some good lines.”
Brit Hume added: “Chris has a point, the speech was very, very long. I don’t know there are any speeches that are an hour and ten minutes uninterrupted by anything visual can work very well. The book on speech making is that the attention span for someone that is speaking straight to you without any interruption by video or anything is about 13 minutes so an hour and ten minutes is pretty long. You heard me say earlier this week that the president has a case. He does indeed have a case and he made it tonight and made it and made it and made it. And he was as Chris suggests I think a little flat. He’s done very good speeches from teleprompters before, but tonight he seemed to miss the excitement he generates in himself in his ad libbing. Nonetheless, overall as a convention, I think it’s pretty clear that this show, and that’s what it was, packed more wallop than those we saw last week, it just did.”