The Republican National Convention is set to begin this week, on the heels of Democrats’ convention in which they nominated former Vice President Joe Biden to be their party’s presidential candidate.
Similar to the Democratic National Convention, the RNC will conduct most of its events and speeches virtually and remotely, with the exception of convention business in the host city of Charlotte, North Carolina. The RNC is expected to renominate President Donald Trump, who plans to deliver his address from Washington, D.C.
The Republican Party has been publicly releasing details about the convention programming at a slow pace, but here is everything we know so far about the RNC:
When and where is it?
The official RNC business and the formal presidential renomination will begin on Monday, Aug. 24 and last through Thursday, Aug. 27. The convention falls one week after the DNC, during which Biden officially accepted the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.
The official convention business takes place in Charlotte. Because of North Carolina’s COVID-19 restrictions that prohibit convention celebrations, the RNC announced plans earlier this month to have a “scaled-down” event and to livestream Trump’s formal nomination. Six delegates from each state and territory will attend the first day’s proceedings at the Charlotte Convention Center, adding up to 336 total delegates who will cast their votes in person. The RNC drafted a health and safety plan in accordance with the state to help protect delegates from contracting and spreading the virus.
Other than the official business, most in-person activities will be held in Washington, D.C. After Charlotte set its social distancing requirements, the RNC had planned for the convention celebration and speeches to be in Jacksonville, Florida, but abruptly canceled last month as the state continues to deal with a surge of COVID-19 cases and deaths.
Trump is expected to accept his presidential renomination from the White House’s South Lawn. Trump had previously also considered the Civil War battlefield in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where former President Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous address. First lady Melania Trump is set to speak from the White House’s Rose Garden, and Vice President Mike Pence plans to address the convention from Fort McHenry in Maryland.
The president’s decision to use the White House as the site of his speech has drawn concern from Democrats and even some Republicans due to the ethical issues behind using federal buildings and resources for political campaign events, as well as federal employees violating the Hatch Act by campaigning for the president on government property. The president is not covered by the Hatch Act, but his aides are legally prohibited from appearing at the convention in their official capacities. Organizers have insisted his staffers are following all ethics rules.
The RNC allegedly plans to use the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington ― a historic federal building near the Trump International Hotel ― as the “central hub” for convention speeches, according to Politico.
What will happen each day?
The convention will begin Monday with the actual nomination, as delegates cast their votes for Trump in Charlotte. The following three days will feature a variety of events and speeches. Melania Trump will speak on Tuesday, Pence on Wednesday and Donald Trump on Thursday ― when he will accept the nomination from the White House. Trump also made the last-minute decision to speak at the end of every night of the convention.
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel told Fox News that the convention will have live programming every night, with keynote speakers and “surprises.” McDaniel told the network’s Bill Hemmer that live events will run throughout the day while prime-time events will occur from 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET.
Viewers can find the programming on the RNC’s livestream, on social media platforms, and on several cable news networks and news websites.
What’s the RNC’s messaging?
During the DNC last week, Democrats pushed the message that Biden will not only unify the country regardless of party, but also pull the nation out of the darkness it’s engulfed in thanks to Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the economy and protests against racial injustice. This week, the RNC plans to oppose that message by painting a more positive outlook on the state of the country under the Trump administration.
Many of the speakers are people who have personally benefited from Trump’s policies, in hopes that the convention can mask the current state of the pandemic in the U.S. and the record number of job losses.
“This president’s done more in 47 months than Joe Biden did in 47 years to make a difference in people’s lives,” White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway told reporters last week.
The president is hoping to shift his campaign away from the pandemic and economic collapse and toward a choice between a patriotic future and a treacherous future for America. Trump and Republicans are pushing more aggressively to reframe the national conversation around the election as surveys show his support dwindling amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Who is speaking?
While the DNC featured speakers from both sides of the political aisle who support Biden for president, the RNC has a different approach. The convention will feature several members of the Trump family; newer Republican candidates and lawmakers; the president’s personal and professional advisers; and civilian members of the party who gained public notoriety for pushing against the media and the left.
Three of the most notable speakers announced so far include Kentucky teen Nicholas Sandmann, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and St. Louis couple Mark and Patricia McCloskey. A video of Sandmann interacting with a Native American elder in Washington went viral last year; he later sued and settled with The Washington Post and CNN over coverage of it. Noem received backlash for her decisions regarding the coronavirus, including refusing to issue stay-at-home orders at the beginning of the pandemic and not expanding unemployment in her state. The McCloskeys made headlines this summer after they were charged for pointing guns at Black Lives Matter protesters.
Here is the full lineup of speakers:
- Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.)
- House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.)
- Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.)
- Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio)
- Former U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley
- Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel
- Georgia state Rep. Vernon Jones (R)
- Amy Johnson Ford
- Kimberly Guilfoyle
- Natalie Harp
- Charlie Kirk
- Kim Klacik
- Mark and Patricia McCloskey
- Sean Parnell
- Andrew Pollack
- Donald Trump Jr.
- Tanya Weinreis
- First lady Melania Trump
- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
- Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
- Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R)
- Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez (R)
- Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R)
- Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R)
- Abby Johnson
- Jason Joyce
- Myron Lizer
- Mary Ann Mendoza
- Megan Pauley
- Cris Peterson
- John Peterson
- Nicholas Sandmann
- Eric Trump
- Tiffany Trump
- Vice President Mike Pence
- Karen Pence
- Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.)
- Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)
- South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R)
- Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas)
- Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.)
- Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.)
- Former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell
- White House adviser Kellyanne Conway
- Vice presidential national security adviser Keith Kellogg
- Jack Brewer
- Sister Dede Byrne
- North Carolina Republican congressional candidate Madison Cawthorn
- Scott Dane
- Clarence Henderson
- Ryan Holets
- Michael McHale
- Burgess Owens
- Lara Trump
- President Donald Trump
- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
- Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.)
- House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)
- Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-N.J.)
- Ivanka Trump
- White House domestic policy adviser Ja’Ron Smith
- Ann Dorn
- Debbie Flood
- Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani
- Evangelist speaker Franklin Graham
- Alice Johnson
- Wade Mayfield
- Carl and Marsha Mueller
- Dana White