At GOP con­ven­tion, Trump pounds on claim he can lose only if elec­tion is rigged

Says up to five Supreme Court picks at stake

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - LYNN SWEET D.C. DECODER lsweet@sun­times.com | @lynnsweet

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.

FOOT­NOTE

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.”

EVAN VUCCI/AP

Pres­i­dent Trump speaks on the first day of the Repub­li­can Na­tional Con­ven­tion at the Char­lotte Con­ven­tion Cen­ter on Mon­day in Char­lotte, North Carolina.

DEB­BIE HILL/POOL VIA AP

Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo speaks in Jerusalem on Mon­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.