At GOP convention, Trump pounds on claim he can lose only if election is rigged
Says up to five Supreme Court picks at stake
President Donald Trump, in accepting the GOP presidential nomination on Monday, sent me scrambling for an actuarial table when he predicted the next president could have the chance to fill up to
five of the nine Supreme Court slots. Trump spoke for almost an hour on Monday to about 300 delegates in Charlotte, N.C., after the roll call delivered the nomination to Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for a second term. The socially distanced people — some with mandated COVID-19 contact tracing tracking devices dangling around their necks with their convention credentials — chanted “four more years” and “USA USA.”
The convention is expected to hear from Trump on all four days. Trump said later in the day, “the forgotten men and women of the country” will be featured. The speakers include on various nights Ivanka, Donald Jr., Eric and Tiffany Trump.
The official Republican National Committee messaging for this convention week is to stress the upbeat and positive to contrast it with Joe Biden’s Democratic convention last week.
Indeed, at times, Biden’s convention was laced with bleakness. That’s because we are living through the pandemic-sparked health and economic meltdowns, the worst catastrophe in all of our lifetimes, overlapping with a new era of reckoning with racial injustice and police brutality.
Trump did not get the message, or perhaps figured it did not apply to him. Seconds, literally seconds into his Charlotte speech Trump accused, with no basis, the Democrats of trying to steal the 2020 election because of what is expected to be massive use of mail-in ballots with demand triggered, in part, by the pandemic.
“We caught them doing some really bad things in 2016, let’s see what happens. We caught them doing some really bad things, and we have to be very careful because they’re trying to do it again,” Trump said.
On another front, Trump repeated a blatant lie, claiming only Republicans want to guarantee health insurance coverage of people with pre-existing conditions.
“We protected your pre-existing conditions. … And you don’t hear that, but we’ve very strongly protected your pre-existing conditions. … And we strongly protected, every Republican is sworn to protecting, your pre-existing conditions. It’s very important. You won’t hear that. You won’t hear that from the fake news,” Trump said.
That is not true. A centerpiece of former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act was forcing insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions. The Trump Justice Department has been challenging and trying to strike down Obamacare in federal court for years.
Trump made a persuasive case to some voters in 2016 that even with his flaws, he would pick solid conservatives to the Supreme
Court, and, in an effective play, made public a list of his potential picks.
In 2020, he’s using that pitch again, noting that he filled two vacancies — though one of them was stolen from Obama, when the GOP Senate refused to consider his nominee, the Lincolnwood-raised Merrick Garland, in 2016.
“I have had two in a relatively short period of time, but I will tell you that the next one could have two, three, four and even five, the next president,” said Trump.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 87; Stephen Breyer, 82; Clarence Thomas, 72; Samuel Alioto Jr., 70; John Roberts 65; Sonia Sotomayor, 66; Elena Kagan, 60; Brett Kavanaugh, 55 and Neil Gorsuch is 52.
The 2017 life expectancy projections from the U.S. Census Bureau do not suggest five vacancies anytime soon.
One of the multiple vanity grievances Trump detailed in his speech was over CNN and MSNBC not carrying the roll call live. “Can you believe it?”
What was actually going on was that Trump was irritated that those cable networks — rather than going live with the roll call — were carrying the Democraticcontrolled House Oversight Committee grilling of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy over his management of the U.S. Postal Service, especially before the election, with heavy use of mailed ballots expected.
“But they didn’t show it. Instead they’re showing the scam, because they are trying to show the Post Office, so that when their whole mail-in thing fizzles, they’ll try blaming it on the Post Office. OK, so they show these hearings, that are very boring, actually.”
Worth noting: MSNBC and CNN ran Trump’s entire Charlotte speech live.
A civil action filed Monday by the New York attorney general revealed that Eric Trump was subpoenaed as part of its probe of the Trump Organization — which, the filing disclosed, included questions about the financing of the Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago.
WASHINGTON — Mike Pompeo’s planned speech to the Republican National Convention this week has sparked a fury of criticism for breaking decades of precedent for sitting secretaries of state avoiding overt partisan political activity.
Despite State Department assurances that Pompeo will be speaking in his personal capacity and won’t violate prohibitions on federal employees participating in public political events on duty, Democrats and others have cried foul. They accuse the country’s top diplomat of inappropriate behavior that has been anathema to his predecessors.
Four teams of lawyers, including the State Department legal counsel, have reviewed the speech that will be recorded in Jerusalem and broadcast in prime time at the Republican convention on Tuesday to ensure that it does not cross ethical lines, according to a person close to Pompeo who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
That person and the State Department said no taxpayer money will be used in the production of the video, which will be filmed on the first stop of Pompeo’s current multination trip to the Middle East that is otherwise clearly dominated by official government business.
“Looking forward to sharing with you how my family is more SAFE and more SECURE because of President Trump,” Pompeo tweeted after the RNC announced his appearance. The State Department followed quickly with comments distancing the agency from the planned remarks.
“Secretary Pompeo will address the convention in his personal capacity,” the department said. “No State Department resources will be used. Staff are not involved in preparing the remarks or in the arrangements for Secretary Pompeo’s appearance. The State Department will not bear any costs in conjunction with this appearance.”
The person close to Pompeo said the short address would focus on
Trump’s accomplishments in making Americans and the world safer and promoting his “America First” foreign policy. The speech will not delve into Pompeo’s own activities as secretary of state, according to the person who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Critics, though, say that doesn’t matter and that Pompeo is violating the spirit, if not the letter, of the law, known as the Hatch Act, by using government resources to travel to the venue and jeopardizing long-standing tradition that domestic politics ends at the water’s edge when it comes to diplomacy. At the same time, they complain that in using Jerusalem as the venue, Pompeo is further politicizing the U.S.-Israel relationship with a pitch for President Donald Trump’s reelection.
“It is unprecedented and highly unethical for a sitting secretary of state to address a political convention while on official foreign travel,” said Halie Soifer, the head of the Jewish Democratic Council of America. “In addition to violating the Hatch Act, Secretary Pompeo’s plans to speak at the Republican National Convention from Jerusalem underscore the president’s ongoing effort to politicize the U.S.Israel relationship.”
President Trump speaks on the first day of the Republican National Convention at the Charlotte Convention Center on Monday in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks in Jerusalem on Monday.