Republican National Convention 2020: Day 3

By Melissa Macaya, Rebekah Metzler, Jessica Estepa, Veronica Rocha and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 1:04 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020
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12:29 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Fact check: Lara Trump’s Lincoln quote

From CNN's Alex Rogers

Lara Trump, the President’s daughter-in-law, said, “Abraham Lincoln once famously said, ‘America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.’ ”   

She added that even those words were spoken long ago, “never have they been more relevant.” 

Facts First: While this quote has circulated online, Lincoln did not say it in those words, according to PolitiFact and Snopes 

Christian McWhirter, a historian at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, told PolitiFact that the quote mangles a speech the 16th President made in 1838.  

In it, Lincoln said, “At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.” 

11:23 p.m. ET, August 26, 2020

Fact check: Lara Trump's claims on female employment under Trump are false

From CNN's Anneken Tappe

Lara Trump, the President’s daughter-in-law, claimed that “4.3 million new jobs have been created for women” during the Trump administration. 

Facts First: This is false. While female employment grew by 3.7 million between January 2017, when Trump took office, and February of this year, Lara Trump completely disregarded the devastating force of the Covid-19 pandemic. Including the pandemic, female employment has actually fallen by 3.9 million between January 2017 and July 2020.

Women are hit harder by this recession than by previous ones. The crisis wiped out more jobs in sectors that employ more women than men, such as hospitality. While many jobs have resurfaced since the lockdown shock, female employment is still down 7.6 million from February of this year.

The spring lockdown to curb the spread of the virus collapsed America’s job market. In April alone, more than 20 million jobs vanished. As of July, the country is still nearly 13 million jobs short compared with February.

10:28 p.m. ET, August 26, 2020

"Trump truly cares about Black lives," 1960 Greensboro Woolworth sit-in participant says

RNC
RNC

Clarence Henderson described his own personal experience with racism during his Republican National Convention speech tonight.

"Walking into the Woolworth Department Store on February 2, 1960, I knew it was unlike any day I’d experienced before. My friends had been denied service the day before because of the color of their skin. We knew it wasn’t right. But when we went back the next day I didn’t know whether I was going to come out in a vertical or prone position in handcuffs or on a stretcher — or even in a body bag," he said.

"By sitting down to order a cup of coffee, we challenged injustice. We knew it was necessary. But we didn’t know what would happen," Henderson added. "We faced down the KKK. We were cursed at and called all kinds of names. They threatened to kill us. And some of us were arrested."

"But it was worth it," he said.

Henderson, a Republican and civil rights activist, said "America isn’t perfect," but it is "always improving."

He went on to President Donald Trump "is not a politician. He is a leader."

Henderson blasted Joe Biden for having the "audacity to say if you don’t vote for him 'you ain’t black.'" He is referring the Democratic presidential nominee's remarks during an interview with Charlamagne tha God on "The Breakfast Club," during which he told he told a popular African American radio host that anyone struggling to decide whether to support him or Trump in the general election "ain't black."

"Well to that, I say, if you do vote for Biden, you don't know history," he continued.

Henderson argued that "Trump truly cares about Black lives" and is "offering real and lasting change."

Watch:

10:27 p.m. ET, August 26, 2020

Fact check: Owens' comparison of Democrats to World War II enemies

From CNN's Daniel Dale

RNC/Getty Images
RNC/Getty Images

Burgess Owens, a Utah congressional candidate, said: “Mobs torch our cities while popular members of Congress promote the same socialism my father fought against in World War II.” 

Facts First: Owens’ historical analogy is entirely baseless: US enemies during World War II were not socialists or left-wingers of any kind, whether Owens was talking about Germany, Japan or Italy. (The US was allied with the communists of the Soviet Union.) While dictator Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party called itself “National Socialist,” it was not actually a party of the left; it was a far-right -- fascist -- entity whose totalitarian and genocidal politics do not at all resemble those of the left-wing Democrats of 2020.

It’s perhaps worth noting that the best known democratic socialist in Congress, Sen. Bernie Sanders, is a Jewish man who lost family members in the Holocaust 

10:28 p.m. ET, August 26, 2020

Lara Trump paints personal picture of Trump family

From CNN's Betsy Klein

Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images
Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, made a personal pitch to the Republican National Convention referencing her relationship with the President and his support of women and family, turning to a dire warning of socialism, and then back to a personal pitch.

Trump did not have a speaking slot in the 2016 Republican National Convention, but has emerged as a top surrogate and paid adviser to his reelection campaign.

When she met her husband, Eric Trump, and his family, she said, “Any preconceived notion I had of this family disappeared immediately. They were warm and caring, they were hard workers, and they were down to earth. They reminded me of my own family. They made me feel like I was home.”

She described the Trump Organization as a “family environment,” and highlighted the “countless women executives who thrived there.”

“Gender didn’t matter, what mattered was the ability to get the job done,” she said, something she learned directly when Trump asked her to help him win her home state of North Carolina in 2016.

“Though I had no political experience, he believed in me. He knew I was capable even if I didn’t,” she said, one day after another convention speaker, former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, railed against nepotism.

Trump, a former producer at "Inside Edition," was a frequent presence on the 2016 campaign trail, and worked for former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale’s digital firm, Giles-Parscale, as a senior consultant after her father-in-law’s inauguration. She is now a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, and appears often on its livestreams and as a surrogate at events. 

She touted the administration’s economic successes before the pandemic, without referencing coronavirus, commemorated the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the 19th Amendment, and abruptly turned her remarks to warn of a Biden administration, which, she said, would put the nation on an “uncharted, frightening path towards socialism,” going on to quote Abraham Lincoln.

She reiterated the President’s “law and order” message and railed against “weak, spineless politicians,” who, she said, have “(ceded) control of our great American cities to violent mobs.”

“Joe Biden will not do what it takes to maintain order,” she warned.

Trump highlighted her personal story and cast herself as an everyday American born to small business owners: “I know the promise of America because I have lived it, not just as a member of the Trump family, but as a woman who knows what it’s like to work in blue collar jobs, to serve customers for tips, and to aspire to rise.

Unlike her husband, and brother-in-law Donald Trump Jr., and sister-in-law Tiffany Trump, Lara Trump sought to paint a more personal picture of the President.

“I learned that he is a good man, that he loves his family, that he didn’t need this job… He is a person of convictions. He is a fighter and will never stop fighting for America,” she said.

Trump continued, “He will uphold our values. He will preserve our families. And he will build on the great American edict that our union will never be perfect until opportunity is equal for all — including, and especially, for women.”

She briefly referenced Hurricane Laura, the convention’s second reference to the storm barreling toward Louisiana and Texas: “May God bless the Gulf States in the path of the Hurricane,” she said.

Watch:

10:25 p.m. ET, August 26, 2020

25-year-old congressional candidate Madison Cawthorn makes case for young leaders 

From CNN's Kate Sullivan

RNC
RNC

North Carolina congressional candidate Madison Cawthorn, 25, made a case for young leaders in a speech at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday. 

Cawthorn scored a stunning political upset in June when CNN projected he would win the North Carolina Republican congressional primary to fill the seat vacated by President Donald Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows. Trump and Meadows had both backed Cawthorn’s opponent. 

“In times of peril, young people have stepped up and saved this country, abroad and at home,” Cawthorn said, in remarks that focused on himself rather than Trump. 

He also called on conservatives to “define what we support and win the argument in areas like health care, on the environment.” Notably, the Republican National Committee decided it would not define and adopt a new party platform in 2020 and would instead support Trump’s agenda. 

Cawthorn was partially paralyzed in a 2014 car accident. Toward the end of his remarks, he lifted himself out of his wheelchair onto a walker as he said, “for our republic, for which I stand.”

In August, Cawthorn faced criticism for resurfaced Instagram posts of his 2017 visit to Adolf Hitler's vacation house in Germany known as the "Eagle's Nest," in which he referred to Hitler as "the Fuhrer" and said the visit was "on his bucket list for a while." 

"Strange to hear so many laughs and share such a good time with my brother where only 79 years ago a supreme evil shared laughs and good times with his compatriots," the caption states.

Cawthorn has defended the posts and said he denounces White nationalism.

10:13 p.m. ET, August 26, 2020

Fact check: Ernst's false claim on the Green New Deal

From CNN's Daniel Dale

RNC
RNC

Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst said, “The Democratic Party of Joe Biden is pushing this so-called Green New Deal.” She continued by alleging that “if given power, they would essentially ban animal agriculture…” 

Facts First: This claim about animal agriculture is baseless. While we can’t definitively fact-check what might happen in the future, Biden’s platform does not include anything even close to a ban. The Green New Deal resolution introduced by other Democrats in 2019 also does not include anything resembling a ban.

Biden’s climate plan says he will “create new opportunities to support deployment of methane digesters,” which turn waste produced by cattle and other animals into electricity.  The plan also says Biden will “invest in climate-friendly farming such as conservation programs for cover crops and other practices aimed at restoring the soil and building soil carbon, and in the process, preventing run-off and helping family farmers deploy the latest technologies to maximize productivity.”

Trump has repeatedly alleged that the Green New Deal would ban cows. It wouldn’t. 

The allegation appears to be based on a single sentence in a Frequently Asked Questions document posted by the office of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. That sentence explained that proponents of the Green New Deal were proposing “net-zero” carbon emissions in 10 years, rather than proposing zero carbon emissions at all, “because we aren't sure that we'll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast."

It wasn’t clear how serious the “farting cows” comment was supposed to be. Regardless, the FAQ document, which was quickly deleted, was never endorsed by the other Democrats who signed on to the Green New Deal resolution. 

10:16 p.m. ET, August 26, 2020

The RNC portrays Trump as he wants to be seen

Analysis from CNN's Kevin Liptak

Uiform through-lines have sometimes been hard to detect at this week’s convention, which has veered between fatalistic warnings about Democrats, denial about coronavirus and general economic optimism.

One consistent, however: every speaker has offered a view of the President that, no matter how divorced from reality, is the view he’s always wanted to see depicted on television. 

Trump’s self-produced television show — with his own editors and himself as the casting director — has achieved what near-daily complaints about news media converge and lengthy venting sessions to aides cannot: a depiction he finally agrees with.

Of course, the convention speakers and slickly produced videos have sanded off all of Trump’s flaws. In videos shot inside the White House of Trump greeting frontline workers, former American hostages, pardoned inmates and new US citizens, deft editing is employed to avoid the impression — often present when watching Trump live — that he struggles to remain on topic.

The angry outbursts and questionable information that are a hallmark of his news conferences and other media encounters are gone. Speakers describe a President who did not ignore the coronavirus pandemic, has not stoked racial tensions and generally acts like a different president than the one seen on television every day.

It’s exactly the person Trump wants to see.

10:08 p.m. ET, August 26, 2020

Fact check: Stefanik falsely claims that the Trump impeachment was "illegal"

From CNN's Alex Rogers

RNC
RNC

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik said that the impeachment of President Donald Trump was not only “baseless” and a “sham” but “illegal.”

Facts First: The impeachment of Trump was not illegal. The Constitution grants the House “the sole power of impeachment.” In December, the House exercised that power for the third time in U.S history, charging Trump with two crimes: abuse of power, for pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rival Joe Biden while withholding US security assistance and a coveted White House meeting, and obstructing Congress in its investigation. The House voted to impeach the President and the Senate voted to acquit him largely on party lines.