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President Donald Trump and Republicans ignited an outcry from their critics for the “norm-busting” second night of the Republican National Convention.
Democrats, liberal media and others blasted night two of the convention for flouting traditions and what they saw as a misuse of the White House, as the federal property was used as a backdrop for many key moments in the night and Trump acting in his official capacity as president. Also sparking backlash was U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s participation — and from Jerusalem.
(Source: Fox News)
A few weeks before the start of the RNC, as discussion swirled over safe locations amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis, Trump had suggested he could deliver his nomination acceptance speech from the White House. The idea drew some criticism at the time, even from Republicans. But Tuesday’s event included some significant moments from the location, including a naturalization ceremony and first lady Melania Trump’s address from the Rose Garden.
Amid a Fox News panel discussion about how impressive her speech was, anchor Chris Wallace chose to bring up what struck him the most about the evening and how there had been an uproar in Washington over the possibility of using the White House with Republican Senate leaders opposing the idea.
“That barrier was completely blown away tonight, for good or for ill,” he said.
The pardon of Jon Ponder may have been deserved, Wallace contended, “but he pardoned him right in the middle of the Republican National Convention.”
Trump signed a full pardon for Ponder, a three-time convicted felon who was granted clemency from the state of Nevada and who has gone on to create a successful program to help former inmates reenter society. The ceremony, which included Ponder’s wife and the former FBI agent who arrested him, was a moving moment in the night and brought Ponder to tears.
WATCH: President Trump pardons Jon Ponder at the RNC pic.twitter.com/auAQbZ2Non
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) August 26, 2020
Wallace also brought up the naturalization ceremony for five new U.S. citizens at the White House. Acting Homeland Security Security Chad Wolf read the naturalization oath and Trump spoke about each of the participants before posing for photos.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 26, 2020
“We had a naturalization speech right in the middle of a Republican convention. Melania Trump delivered a very impressive speech from the Rose Garden, the White House,” Wallace continued, adding that “most controversial of all” was Pompeo “making a political speech from a diplomatic hot-spot in Jerusalem.”
“You know, we do need to point out that secretaries of state have never participated in political speeches. In fact, it’s the regulation of the State Department that nobody that is in the State Department can attend a political event, let alone participate in it,” Wallace noted.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 26, 2020
“The State Department said well, he’s operating in his personal capacity. I don’t know what personal capacity a Secretary of State has,” Wallace added. “People can think it’s a big deal, they can think it’s a little deal. But all of this has never happened before. It’s worth noting.”
Fox News anchor Bret Baier added that the moments had already stirred up controversy.
“It is worth noting. Definitely upon Capitol Hill, they’re talking about having hearings about it. But it’s worth noting that we haven’t had a convention in the middle of COVID-19,” he said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi slammed Pompeo ahead of his speech in an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell.
“It’s appalling. They should not be engaged in any partisan activities,” Pelosi said. “I don’t know what he’s going to say, but whatever it is, it would be a violation of the law if they were to engage in partisan activities.”
Some viewers noted that perhaps there was an orchestrated design behind the moves.
he’s going to get them to attack him for pardoning a black ex-felon & naturalizing five immigrants of color on primetime television
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) August 26, 2020
A naturalization ceremony?! I mean wow. Democrats are trying to find a way to be outraged right now…
— Henry Rodgers (@henryrodgersdc) August 26, 2020
Ahead of the night’s events, CNN’s Jake Tapper was already predicting “a night full of erosions of norms and standards.”
“I cannot imagine the outcry if Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had spoke at the Democratic Convention in 2012,” Tapper told colleague Wolf Blitzer. “Colin Powell in 2004 said he ‘obliged’ not to participate…and yet, Mike Pompeo is going to be doing exactly that.”
He also complained about the pardon of Ponder, saying that though there was “no doubt [Ponder] deserves a pardon,” the idea that “this is done as part of a political convention, it’s just completely norm eroding, norm-busting tradition.”
“I just can’t even imagine what Republicans on Capitol Hill would be doing if Democrats were doing these types of activities during a convention,” Tapper said. “They would be rioting, quite frankly.”
The pearl-clutching continued at MSNBC where Joy Reid’s reaction to the night was a scathing rant about how offensive it all was.
“They surrounded themselves with the trappings of the power that, in theory, they were given by the American people,” Reid said.
“I was really struck tonight, I have to say not in the good way, by the use and, in my view, misuse of the White House … These are not monarchs, this is not their property. This was not an episode of Cribs.”@JoyAnnReid on Trump using the White House for the RNC. pic.twitter.com/3Dtuh0HbVJ
— The ReidOut (@thereidout) August 26, 2020
“These are not monarchs. This is not their property. You know, this was not an episode of Cribs. I didn’t need Melania to come strolling down, you know, the [Rose Garden] gallery way as if she’d just come from the living room in her home. But they use the — they have used the property of the American people, these sacred properties that are owned by the American people, for politics tonight in a way that I think is offensive, I think is wrong,” she added.
“Even worse was the naturalization ceremony that really stuck out to me tonight as the thing that is staying with me as I walk away from this,” she criticized. “And that ceremony has such deep meaning for the people who become Americans. Donald Trump made that ceremony about him. He made that ceremony about celebrating Donald Trump.”
There was no shortage of agreement from Democrats.
This is un f’n believable. The most anti-immigrant President in history staging a naturalization ceremony in the WH, with military in uniform, FOR A POLITICAL CONVENTION. infuriating.
— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) August 26, 2020
“He’s denying access to that ceremony to all of these other people. And he did one specifically for politics, specifically for his re-election. He uses those people as props. He used people that would be from the ‘s-hole countries’ he would not let into this country,” Reid said. “Donald Trump used a color collection, a sort of crayon box of colors tonight to try to paint a false image of himself as welcoming to immigrants and welcoming to black people and brown people.”
But, as many on social media noted, the uproar was over nothing and triggered Democrats only showed their true colors by attacking the president.
Journos panicking. Can’t handle that these are positive great ideas that go against what you believe in.
— John Niro (@HeyJohnnyBoy27) August 26, 2020
they literally cannot help themselves
— Jewels (@jewelstweeeets) August 26, 2020
— Austrian Anarchy (@AustrianAnarchy) August 26, 2020
He knows exactly what he’s doing. Always. The they fall for it…… every time.
— facciabella 🇺🇸 (@Facciabella7) August 26, 2020
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