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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11:28 p.m. ET, August 26, 2020

Trump joins Pence on stage to close out day 3 of the Republican National Convention

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Following the end of Vice President Mike Pence's speech tonight from Fort McHenry in Baltimore, President Trump and Melania Trump joined the second family on stage to chants of "four more years."

After exchanging handshakes, the four stood on stage while country music singer Trace Adkins sang "The Star-Spangled Banner."

After the anthem, the Trumps and Pences mingled with the crowd. Trump kept some distance, but members of the audience did not wear masks and did not distance themselves from each other at all as they tried to get closer to the President and Vice President.

Several minutes later, the President and first lady departed, hand in hand, followed by the Pences.


With reporting from Nikki Carvajal 

12:05 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Pence warns US won't be safe with Biden while unrest continues in Trump's America, CNN's Abby Phillip says

From CNN's Aditi Sangal 

As Vice President Mike Pence warned that Americans will be unsafe under Joe Biden’s administration, CNN’s Abby Phillip pointed out that the current unrest taking place in Wisconsin as well as the clashes over the past few months have all occurred under the Trump administration.

During his remarks at the Republican National Convention, Pence warned in his speech, “you won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America.”

"A couple of lines earlier, he was talking about how reportedly, according to him, unsafe America’s cities are in Donald Trump’s America," Phillip said. “This is Donald Trump’s America that people are living in.”

"It's hard to see how Americans are supposed to — what they're supposed to take away from that. They [voters] either believe that America is unsafe and on the path to destruction under Trump or they don't. If they don't believe that, you know — then that might actually bolster their argument that President Trump has this all under control," Phillip said.

This makes the vice president’s messaging “very confusing for people,” she said. "I think it’s really hard to square," she added.


12:09 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Fact check: Pence falsely claims the Trump administration passed Veterans Choice

From CNN's Tara Subramaniam

Vice President Mike Pence touted the Trump administration’s efforts to reform the VA, and suggested that as a result, “Veterans Choice is now available to every veteran."

Facts First: The Veterans Choice bill was a bipartisan initiative that was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2014. In 2018, Trump signed the VA Mission Act, which expanded and changed the program. 

With this claim, Pence took a page from the President’s book. Trump has lied about getting veterans choice more than 150 times

1:04 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Fact check: Pence incorrectly claims law enforcement officer was shot and killed during riot

From CNN's Tara Subramaniam

In his remarks, Vice President Mike Pence highlighted Dave Patrick Underwood, a law enforcement officer who was shot and killed earlier this year.    

Pence commended Underwood, “an officer in the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Protective Service, who was shot and killed during the riots in Oakland, California.” 

Facts First: Underwood was killed in a drive-by shooting, not in a riot.  

At the time of his murder, there was a protest against police brutality happening nearby.  

One of the suspects in the shooting is allegedly linked to the extremist Boogaloo movement, and federal authorities, according to the Washington Post, argue he was trying to use the protests to stoke racial violence. 

1:04 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Fact check: Pence's claim on China travel ban

From CNN's Holmes Lybrand

Vice President Mike Pence claimed that the Trump administration banned all travel from China to the US in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. 

“[T]he President took unprecedented action and suspended all travel from China,” Pence said. 

 Facts First: This is incorrect. Only foreign nationals who had been in China within the past 14 days were outright banned from entering the US. Tens of thousands of people traveled from China to the US in the months after Trump’s travel restriction went into place.

1:03 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Pence: "Let me be clear: the violence must stop – whether in Minneapolis, Portland or Kenosha"

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence used a portion of his remarks to deliver a pro-police "law and order" message, saying "the violence must stop" whether in Minneapolis, Portland or Kenosha.

Kenosha, Wisconsin, has been the site of ongoing unrest and protests after police shot Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, multiple times in the back as he tried to enter an SUV with his children in the vehicle.

"My fellow Americans, we are passing through a time of testing. But in the midst of this global pandemic, just as our nation had begun to recover, we’ve seen violence and chaos in the streets of our major cities," Pence said.

"President Trump and I will always support the right of Americans to peaceful protest, but rioting and looting is not peaceful protest, tearing down statues is not free speech. Those who do so will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," the vice president continued.

"Let me be clear: the violence must stop – whether in Minneapolis, Portland, or Kenosha," Pence said. "Too many heroes have died defending our freedom to see Americans strike each other down. We will have law and order on the streets of this country for every American of every race, and creed and color," he said.

While the vice president mentioned Kenosha in his remarks, he did not mention the shooting of Blake by a police officer, nor did he mention Kyle Rittenhouse, who is accused of killing two people Tuesday night.

Pence went on to praise law enforcement and defended the Trump administration's response to racial unrest. He said he and the President would not defund the police, "not now, not ever."

"President Trump and I know the men and women that put on the uniform of law enforcement are the best of us. Every day when they walk out that door, they consider our lives more important than their own," he said.

The vice president also took a swipe at Joe Biden, claiming that last week during the Democratic National Convention, he "didn’t say one word about the violence and chaos engulfing cities across this country."

Earlier today: In the 90 minutes before he was scheduled to speak, Pence decided he would address the unrest unfolding in Wisconsin.

Whether or not he would bring up Wisconsin when he took the stage remained up in the air all day Wednesday. In the morning, a source said he would reference it. Then, around 8 p.m., a source familiar with the speech said Pence would not address the matter whatsoever and said the draft of his speech was locked.

But after seeing how dramatically events had escalated throughout the day, as he watched from his residence Wednesday afternoon, Pence added a last-minute reference to Wisconsin into the final drafts of his speech, making the ultimate decision only after he had landed in Baltimore to headline the third night.

With reporting from CNN's From Kaitlan Collins and Jeff Zeleny


12:31 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Fact check: Pence's claim that Biden is for open borders

From CNN's Holmes Lybrand

In his speech, Vice President Mike Pence claimed that “Joe Biden is for open borders.” 

Facts First: No matter how many times this is repeated, it remains untrue. While Biden is proposing a much less restrictive immigration policy than Trump's, he is not proposing completely unfettered migration.

12:31 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Pence pays tribute to coronavirus victims: "We grieve with those who grieve"

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence expressed his condolences for the families who have lost loved ones to coronavirus.

"After all the sacrifice in this year like no other, all the hardship, we're finding our way forward again," he said. "But tonight our hearts are with all of the families who have lost loved ones and have family members still struggling with serious illness. In this country we mourn with those who mourn, we grieve with those who grieve."

He continued: "And this night, I know that millions of Americans will pause and pray for God's comfort for each of you."

Pence also praised frontline workers for their "heroic" efforts.

"Our country doesn't get through such a time unless its people find strength within. The response of doctors, nurses, first responders, farmers, factory workers, truckers and everyday Americans who put the health and safety of their neighbors first has been nothing short of heroic," he said.


11:37 p.m. ET, August 26, 2020

Fact check: Pence claimed that Biden was against the Osama bin Laden raid. Here's what we know.

From CNN's Daniel Dale

Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images
Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

Denouncing former Vice President Joe Biden’s record on foreign policy, Vice President Mike Pence claimed that Biden “even opposed the operation that took down Osama Bin Laden.”

Facts First: There is a solid basis for this accusation: Biden himself said in 2012 that he had advised former President Barack Obama “don’t go” — don't launch the raid — without first obtaining more information. Biden’s account of his private advice to Obama has changed over time, but former top officials in the Obama administration have written in their memoirs that Biden was "against the operation," that he was "firmly in favor of waiting for more information," and that he was concerned about the risks of a raid.  

In a revised October 2015 account of what happened, Biden said that he did not actually give Obama a "don't go" opinion at the 2011 meeting. (He said he had merely suggested that they should make "one more pass" with a surveillance drone to make sure bin Laden was present.) Rather, he said, he withheld his opinion until he was alone with Obama after the meeting — then made clear to Obama, "as we walked out of the room, and walked upstairs," that "I thought he should go."

You can read a longer fact check here