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What To Expect At The Upcoming Republican National Convention


Republicans are set to kick off their national convention tomorrow. Over four days, they'll make the case for a second term for President Donald Trump. The president is promising a different message from his Democratic rival.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Where Joe Biden sees American darkness, I see American greatness.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Joining me now to walk through the next four days, White House reporter Ayesha Rascoe. Good morning.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: Hi. Ayesha, what are President Trump and the Republicans going to do this week to make their arguments for four more years?

RASCOE: Last week, Joe Biden said he wants to end what he called the season of darkness dealing with the coronavirus, the economy - all of these issues. This week, though, the Republicans say you're going to hear a more positive outlook on the state of the U.S. right now, and the argument that they're going to make is that Biden had his chance already. Here's how White House adviser Kellyanne Conway is describing the convention.


KELLYANNE CONWAY: His speech will be a review of the progress report of his first administration, also the vision piece moving forward and that we have a choice to make. And I think that Donald Trump will be featured at his convention, but boy, has he been front and center at Joe Biden's convention. It's as if they don't want to talk about Joe Biden. Forty-seven years, and you can't tell us two or three things that he's done to measurably, consequentially impact your life? This president's done more in 47 months than Joe Biden did in 47 years to make a difference in people's lives.

RASCOE: And the conventional wisdom is that campaigns should be optimistic, but a lot of voters are hurting right now with the economy, and they have concerns about the coronavirus, schools opening again - you know, all of these things.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Exactly. I mean, some 1,000 people a day are dying in this country of COVID-19. Yesterday, there were 45,000 new cases. So what do we know about how they will paint this more optimistic picture?

RASCOE: Expect to hear from a series of speakers who will talk about how they've benefited under the Trump's - under Trump's presidency. One big example is Alice Johnson, a Black woman who served almost 22 years in prison before Trump commuted her sentence. She'll talk about President Trump's support for a law that shortened prison sentences. And the parents of Kayla Mueller - they'll also be talking. This was an aid worker who was held hostage by the Islamic State. Trump ordered the operation that killed her captor. And we'll also hear from some people who've become popular figures on the right because they are seen as taking on the left, like Nick Sandman - the Covington Catholic high school student who settled a lawsuit against some media outlets for portraying him negatively - and the white St. Louis couple who waved guns at Black Lives Matter protesters this summer. You know, so - and we can also expect to hear a lot about law and order from President Trump.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: The location of this convention has also been up in the air because of the coronavirus. How did that settle?

RASCOE: It was planned for N.C., but - and there are still going to be business sessions going on there. That's what's happening tomorrow. President Trump will travel to the state tomorrow. On Tuesday, the first lady will deliver a keynote address. Wednesday, Mike Pence will speak, and you will hear from President Trump from the White House lawn.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And what about President Trump? What is he going to be doing? I think - I understand it's something different.

RASCOE: It's going to be - so he's going to deliver his main address from the White House lawn, but you'll also - on - that will be on Thursday, but you'll also hear from him every day of the convention a little bit. So that's different from most conventions.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's White House reporter Ayesha Rascoe. Thank you so much.

RASCOE: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ayesha Rascoe is a White House correspondent for NPR. She is currently covering her third presidential administration. Rascoe's White House coverage has included a number of high profile foreign trips, including President Trump's 2019 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, and President Obama's final NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland in 2016. As a part of the White House team, she's also a regular on the NPR Politics Podcast.
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