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President Trump and his political allies mounted a fierce and misleading defense of his political record on the first night of the Republican convention on Monday, while unleashing a barrage of attacks on Joseph R. Biden Jr. and the Democratic Party that were unrelenting in their bleakness.
Hours after Republican delegates formally nominated Mr. Trump for a second term, the president and his party made plain that they intended to engage in sweeping revisionism about Mr. Trump’s management of the coronavirus pandemic, his record on race relations and much else.
And they laid out a dystopian picture of what the United States would look like under a Biden administration, warning of a “vengeful mob” that would lay waste to suburban communities and turn quiet neighborhoods into war zones.
At times, the speakers and prerecorded videos appeared to be describing an alternate reality: one in which the nation was not nearing 180,000 dead from the coronavirus; in which Mr. Trump had not consistently ignored serious warnings about the disease; in which the president had not spent much of his term appealing openly to xenophobia and racial animus; and in which someone other than Mr. Trump had presided over an economy that began crumbling in the spring.
Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, praised his father’s management of the virus, one of several segments asserting an unsupported narrative that the president had been a sturdy leader in a crisis even as polls show Americans believe he has handled the pandemic poorly.
“As the virus began to spread, the president acted quickly and ensured ventilators got to hospitals that needed them most,” the president’s son said, making no mention of the millions of Americans sickened and killed or the complaints from governors that they were not receiving the necessary equipment. “There is more work to do, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
It was part of a vehement address the younger Mr. Trump delivered that framed the election as a choice between “church, work and school” against “rioting, looting and vandalism.”
The scorched-earth rhetoric and knowing references to phrases like “cancel culture” would not have been out of place during a Fox News prime-time segment. By that measure, the arguments might help lure some wavering Republicans, uneasy with the president’s handling of the virus, back to Mr. Trump. But it was far from clear that the programming would appeal to any undecided voters.
Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina is President Trump’s highest-profile Black supporter, but he didn’t use his convention speech to make a stalwart defense of Mr. Trump’s first term.
Instead Mr. Scott, the first Black person to serve in both the House and Senate, offered his own life story, from growing up sharing a bedroom with his mother and brother in his grandparents’ home to first getting elected to Congress in 2010.
And while the rest of the speakers on the first night of Mr. Trump’s convention painted the picture of an apocalyptic nation needing to be rescued by its incumbent president, Mr. Scott offered a far more optimistic vision of America — one where his rise “from cotton to Congress in one lifetime” is possible.
“Our nation’s arc always bends back toward fairness. We are not fully where we want to be, but I thank God almighty we are not where we used to be,” Mr. Scott said. “We are always striving to be better. When we stumble, and we will, we pick ourselves back up and try again. We don’t give into cancel-culture, or the radical — and factually baseless — belief that things are worse today than in the 1860s or the 1960s.”
It is not the first time Mr. Trump has employed Mr. Scott to defend his stewardship in the White House. Earlier this year Mr. Scott defended Mr. Trump’s handling of the nationwide street protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.
And at the same time Mr. Scott said former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who won the Democratic presidential nomination largely on the strength of his support from Black voters, was both out of touch with Black America and took its support for granted.
“Joe Biden said if a Black man didn’t vote for him, he wasn’t truly Black,” Mr. Scott said. “Joe Biden said Black people are a monolithic community. It was Joe Biden who said poor kids can be just as smart as white kids.”
Mr. Scott also condemned Mr. Biden for writing the 1994 crime bill “that put millions of Black Americans behind bars.” That political attack is notable given that much of the rest of the evening was devoted to Mr. Trump’s call to be more aggressive with protesters, many of whom are Black.
And, like so many other Republican convention speakers, Mr. Scott said Mr. Trump alone was holding back the Democrats from permanently altering the American character.
“Make no mistake: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris want a cultural revolution. A fundamentally different America,” Mr. Scott said. “If we let them, they will turn our country into a socialist utopia, and history has taught us that path only leads to pain and misery, especially for hard-working people hoping to rise.”
Our team of reporters who cover the Pentagon, Congress, health care and more are fact checking the speeches on the first night of the Republican National Convention.
See the claims and how they stack up against the truth here.
Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, delivered a blood-and-thunder attack on Joseph R. Biden Jr. in an opening-night keynote address at the Republican National Convention that predicted a national descent into anarchy, violence and oppression if voters choose not to re-elect his father.
The younger Mr. Trump cast the November election as a referendum on the country’s survival, echoing the sentiments of many of his fellow first-night convention speakers — as well as those of President Barack Obama and other Democrats who made similar assertions, with a vastly different set of conclusions, at their party’s gathering last week.
In doing so, Mr. Trump’s son was trying to beat back a criticism of his father that has resonated with many voters — that the president cares more about his self-interest than the greater good of the nation.
“In the past, both parties believed in the goodness of America,” he said. “We agreed on where we wanted to go. We just disagreed about how to get there.”
He added: “This time, the other party is attacking the very principles on which our nation was founded — freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the rule of law.”
In a speech that resembled a torqued-up version of the Fox News segments that have become his trademark, Mr. Trump pelted the Democratic nominee with nicknames, including “Beijing Biden,” and claimed the former vice president’s decades in Washington made him “the Loch Ness Monster of the Swamp.”
The younger Mr. Trump, who has emerged as a marquee fund-raiser for his father after playing a relatively minor role in the 2016 campaign, began with what amounted to a conventional defense of an incumbent. He credited his father for “the greatest prolonged recovery in American history” and “the lowest unemployment rate” in a half-century.
Then came the pivot: “Courtesy of the Chinese Communist Party, the virus struck.”
His hard-edge, goading speech presented a stark contrast with the relaxed, informal reminiscences of Mr. Biden’s family over the four nights of the Democratic convention last week, culminating in an interview with Mr. Biden’s granddaughters in which they jokingly complained about how often he called to ask how they were doing.
The president did not need to call. He appeared onscreen, at a news conference earlier in the day, and during the night for an extended segment with frontline coronavirus workers at the White House.
His omnipresence, in a sense, upstaged his son’s big speech, which was written with the assistance of the former White House aide Cliff Sims, the author of a tell-all book about the president’s staff, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
Earlier in the night, speakers, including the party chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, had called out the Democrats for painting too gloomy a picture of the country.
But toward the end of his address, the younger Mr. Trump pulled the blackout curtain all the way down.
He portrayed Democrats not as honorable political opponents with a different vision of the country than Mr. Trump, but as an organization bent on destroying the American way of life, embodied and defended by his family’s patriarch.
“People of faith are under attack,” Donald Trump Jr. said. “You’re not allowed to go to church, but mass chaos in the streets gets a pass. It’s almost like this election is shaping up to be church, work and school versus rioting, looting and vandalism.”
Nikki R. Haley, the former ambassador to the United Nations and a former governor of South Carolina, tried to link Joseph R. Biden Jr. to the “socialist left” on Monday during the Republican National Convention, despite Mr. Biden’s record as a moderate.
Ms. Haley delivered a lengthy speech that harkened back to her work as an ambassador and a governor, simultaneously making the case for President Trump while also setting the stage for her own possible presidential run in 2024.
“In much of the Democratic Party, it’s now fashionable to say that America is racist,” Ms. Haley said. “That is a lie. America is not a racist country.”
She then invoked her parents, both immigrants from India who settled in the South.
“This is personal for me,” she said. “My father wore a turban. My mother wore a sari. I was a brown girl in a Black and white world.”
She added that her family had “faced discrimination and hardship,” but “never gave in to grievance and hate,” and she praised voters in South Carolina for choosing her “as their first minority and first female governor.”
“America is a story that’s a work in progress,” she said. “Now is the time to build on that progress, and make America even freer, fairer and better for everyone. That’s why it’s so tragic to see so much of the Democratic Party turning a blind eye towards riots and rage.”
Ms. Haley also falsely portrayed Mr. Biden as “good for Iran and ISIS” and “great for Communist China.”
“He’s a godsend to everyone who wants America to apologize, abstain and abandon our values,” she said of the former vice president. “Donald Trump takes a different approach. He’s tough on China, and he took on ISIS and won. And he tells the world what it needs to hear.”
Her portrayal exaggerated the progress with the Islamic State, which has been pushed out of its so-called caliphate, but continues to carry out attacks in Iraq and Syria. And some of the territorial gains made by American troops and their allies predate the Trump administration.
She also falsely stated that the Obama administration “let North Korea threaten America,” but “President Trump rejected that weakness, and we passed the toughest sanctions on North Korea in history.”
In fact, President Barack Obama considered North Korea to be the most urgent national security issue in his final year. He persuaded the United Nations to impose a harsh set of sanctions on the country and, as he was leaving office, urged Mr. Trump to address the issue as soon as possible.
The Trump administration did get the United Nations to impose additional sanctions, but Mr. Trump also began high-level diplomatic talks with North Korea and halted large-scale military exercises with South Korea to accede to the wishes of Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea. National security hawks on North Korea say Mr. Trump’s concessions weakened Washington’s leverage.
Ms. Haley mentioned only briefly the pandemic that has left more than 175,000 people in the United States dead and millions in the country unemployed.
Though she had once distanced herself from Mr. Trump, Ms. Haley has become a fierce defender of him in recent months.
In an essay published in The New York Times in April, Ms. Haley defended Mr. Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, writing “Once a crisis hits, state responsibility is primary.”
“The federal government can provide crucial resources, but the burden is on the governor and her team to distribute them,” she added.
But her support is remarkable largely because it has not been constant. Last August, she pushed back against the president when he cast attention on an attempted break-in at the Baltimore home of Representative Elijah E. Cummings.
“This is so unnecessary,” Ms. Haley wrote on Twitter.
During her time as ambassador under Mr. Trump, Ms. Haley appeared to perfect the art of distancing herself from the most criticized policies of the White House, even while she stayed publicly loyal to Mr. Trump. She managed to toe a tougher line on Russia than her boss, but she left on good terms. Since then, Ms. Haley has frequently been floated as a possible replacement for Vice President Mike Pence.
Maximo Alvarez, a Cuban-American businessman and supporter of President Trump from South Florida, claimed on Monday at the Republican convention that the president was “fighting against the forces of anarchy and communism,” echoing G.O.P. messaging that has tried to tie Joseph R. Biden Jr. to the Democratic Party’s more progressive politicians.
“What about his opponent and the rest of the D.C. swamp?” Mr. Alvarez said, according to prepared remarks. “I have no doubt they will hand the country over to those dangerous forces.”
Mr. Alvarez, who immigrated in 1961 as part of “Operation Pedro Pan,” a United States-backed effort meant to transport young people opposed to Fidel Castro’s government out of Cuba, said that while Mr. Trump “may not always care about being politically correct,” he was keeping the “far left” out of power.
”I’m speaking to you today because I’ve seen people like this before,” he said. “I’ve seen movements like this before. I’ve seen ideas like this before and I’m here to tell you, we cannot let them take over our country.”
“Those false promises — spread the wealth, defund the police, trust a socialist state more than your family and community — don’t sound radical to my ears,” he said. “They sound familiar.”
Between a quarter and a third of Hispanic voters have chosen the Republican presidential candidate in elections since 1972, and Cuban-Americans have long been the most influential and prominent example of such voters, particularly in Florida, which is known for tight presidential races.
Even as Mr. Trump pursued harsh immigration policies and made inflammatory remarks about Latinos, he has made some attempts to maintain his small but durable support among those voters.
Both Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush made serious efforts to attract more Hispanic voters to the Republican Party. In 1986, Mr. Reagan granted amnesty to roughly three million undocumented immigrants, including many from Mexico and Central America.
And both Mr. Bush and his son engaged in significant Hispanic outreach. In 2000, George W. Bush received nearly 40 percent of the Latino vote, more than any Republican candidate before or since.
In a convention populated by President Trump’s family members, employees and ardent loyalists, Sean Parnell is the rare candidate with a competitive election this fall who is making the case for Mr. Trump’s re-election.
Mr. Parnell, a former Army Ranger who wrote a best-selling book about his time in Afghanistan, is running for a House district Pittsburgh suburbs represented by Conor Lamb, a Democrat.
Mr. Parnell made clear his intention to be tied to Mr. Trump, announcing the start of his campaign last October on “Fox and Friends,” the president’s favorite morning cable news program.
Since then Mr. Parnell has run a credible campaign, raising more money than did Mr. Lamb during the three-month period ending June 30. And while his race is considered competitive, Mr. Parnell remains an underdog. The Cook Political Report has the district rated “likely Democratic.”
On Monday Mr. Parnell described the Democratic Party as an organization that has moved too far to the left. Mr. Trump, he said, oversaw a booming economy and allowed Americans to make decisions for themselves without interference from the federal government.
“President Trump unleashed the economic might of this nation like no other president in our history,” Mr. Parnell said. “He triggered the rising tide of working families, brought us energy independence, reclaimed jobs from overseas that Democrats said would never return. He has fiercely defended the besieged First and Second Amendments. That’s just a start. With four more years, imagine what we can achieve by simply working with our president.”
Throughout the first night of the Republican convention, multiple speakers, including President Trump, occasionally referred to the pandemic in the past tense, as the event undertook a significant rewriting of the history of the coronavirus pandemic response and tried to portray the president’s response as swift and decisive with a particular focus on his decision to ban travel from China in January.
In his second appearance of the day, Mr. Trump broke with years of tradition and appeared from the White House for a political event, hosting a segment on his administration’s response to the coronavirus featuring some frontline workers.
Yet in a segment intended to show some empathy from the president, it was clear that Mr. Trump’s tone would remain combative and defensive about the virus. He repeatedly referred to the virus with a racist name, calling it the “China virus,” and alluding that he wanted to call it something else but that he wouldn’t so as not to upset people.
While Mr. Trump did institute a limited ban on travel from China early on, it was essentially his final policy on the coronavirus for a month. In that time, he declined to warn Americans, played down the virus, failed to expand testing and refused to publicly wear a mask, even as some members of his own party were calling on Americans to wear masks to help slow the spread of the virus.
Standing in the center of a semi-socially distanced group, none of whom were wearing masks, Mr. Trump quickly ran through each person’s background and how they had helped in the national effort to fight the pandemic. He thanked them for their service, but kept it framed in support of his presidency.
“I love the truckers, they’re on my side,” Mr. Trump said.
He also continued to try to portray his administration’s response as a success: “We just have to make this virus go away,” Mr. Trump said, “and it’s happening.”
The United States leads the world in coronavirus cases and deaths: more than 5.7 million known infections, and more than 177,000 deaths.
Some speakers tried to portray President Trump as a man of deep compassion who is no less empathetic than Mr. Biden, no matter what the news media (or his own Twitter account) might say.
One of the most emotional testimonials of the night came from Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana — a close ally of Mr. Trump’s who was grievously wounded by a gunman in 2017 — who modulated warm memories of Mr. Trump with a flamethrower attack on Mr. Biden as leader of “a party that wants to burn the foundations of our country to the ground.”
Mr. Scalise began with the aftermath of the shooting, an attack by a gunman who sought revenge against Mr. Trump by firing on Republicans as they practiced for the annual congressional softball game.
“That same night, Donald Trump came to the hospital, along with first lady Melania Trump. They consoled my wife Jennifer — they were there for my family in my darkest hours,” said Mr. Scalise, who nearly died from a severe wound to his hip.
“Donald Trump would call to check on me throughout the following weeks, just to see how I was doing. That’s the kind of person he is. That’s the side of Donald Trump that the media will never show you.”
Then, without any real transition, Mr. Scalise, shifted tone, and repeated the falsehood — often uttered by the president — that Mr. Biden plans to “defund” the police.
“This is personal — I wouldn’t be here without the bravery and heroism of the men and women in law enforcement who saved my life,” he added. “President Trump stands with those brave men and women. Joe Biden has embraced the left’s insane mission to defund them.”
Kimberly Guilfoyle, a top fund-raiser for President Trump and the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr., delivered a blistering speech on Monday at the Republican convention that contrasted the “socialist agenda” of the Democrats with the president’s role in delivering what she called “the greatest economy the world had ever known.”
Ms. Guilfoyle, a former Fox News host, painted a dismaying picture of a future in which rioters would destroy America’s cities and the Democrats would steal Americans’ liberty. She cited California as a cautionary tale, calling it a “land of discarded needles in parks.”
(Her first husband was the Democratic politician Gavin Newsom, now the governor of California and a foe of the president.)
During her speech, Ms. Guilfoyle called herself a “first-generation American” and said both of her parents were immigrants. Neither claim was quite right — Ms. Guilfoyle was born in the United States, and the Census Bureau uses the term “first-generation” to designate people who are born in a foreign country and immigrate to the United States. And while her father was born in Ireland and immigrated to the United States, her mother was born in Puerto Rico, a United States territory, making her an American from birth.
Ms. Guilfoyle, now 51, started dating the younger Mr. Trump, now 42, in 2018, and has been a constant figure at his side ever since. They made their relationship public shortly after his wife, Vanessa, filed for divorce.
“Some of you may have heard I recently started dating” the president’s son, Ms. Guilfoyle told a crowd of high-school Republicans in 2018. “I mean, what can I tell you? Mama’s a closer, you know what I mean?”
She drew some unwelcome publicity in March when a number of guests tested positive for Covid-19 after going to her lavish 51st birthday party at Mar-a-Lago, the president’s club in Florida. In July, she herself tested positive for the virus, but said that she was asymptomatic.
She worked as a prosecutor in San Francisco years ago and is a formidable defender not only of the president, but also of her boyfriend. At an event last winter to promote his book “Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us,” she and Mr. Trump were heckled by a crowd of right-wing conservatives apparently angry at the evening’s format. Mr. Trump started to respond, when Ms. Guilfoyle angrily cut in.
“You’re not making your parents proud by being rude and disruptive and discourteous,” she scolded. Then she questioned the dating prowess of the mostly male crowd.
“Let me tell you something, I bet you engage and go on online dating,” she said, “because you’re impressing no one here to get a date in person.”
Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the St. Louis couple who threatened peaceful protesters in June, echoed President Trump’s claims that Democratic policies would put Americans’ lives in danger and made several false claims about those policies.
Most notably, Ms. McCloskey said that Democrats wanted to “abolish the suburbs altogether by ending single-family home zoning,” which is not true.
Mr. Trump and his supporters have inaccurately described a regulation issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2015, casting it as a threat to the lifestyles of white suburbanites. The Trump administration indefinitely delayed implementing it in 2018.
The regulation required communities that received federal housing funding to have plans to ensure housing access regardless of race, but “it doesn’t dictate how they have to do that,” Julián Castro, who was the secretary of housing and urban development when the regulation was finalized, said Monday night, calling the misrepresentations “a shameful, deceitful and calculated ploy to drum up racial resentment and white fear.”
“The federal government does not have authority to dictate zoning decisions of local communities,” Mr. Castro, who ran in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, added. “That’s very explicit, that’s settled, and this rule in no way requires communities to make specific decisions about zoning.”
Mr. McCloskey also described efforts to “defund the police” as evidence that Democrats “no longer view the government’s job as protecting honest citizens from criminals, but rather protecting criminals from honest citizens.”
While some Democrats support defunding the police, the party’s nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr., does not — and supporters generally use the term to refer not to abolishing policing altogether, but to redistributing some police funding to other public services.
The McCloskeys came to national attention in June after Mr. Trump retweeted a video of them pointing guns at Black protesters in St. Louis. The demonstrators had been marching past the McCloskeys’ mansion, which is on a private street, on their way to Mayor Lyda Krewson’s house to protest police violence and systemic racism.
The McCloskeys — who have repeatedly sued people over a wide variety of grievances, including land disputes — said afterward that they had feared for their lives and their property. In reality, the protesters were unarmed and peaceful. Multiple videos show that they did not threaten or approach the McCloskeys, and some can be heard telling one another to “keep moving.”
Last month, the McCloskeys were charged with unlawful use of a weapon, which is a felony, for brandishing a semiautomatic rifle “in an angry or threatening manner.”
Mr. McCloskey expressed anger at that on Monday, saying: “Not a single person in the out-of-control mob you saw at our house was charged with a crime. But you know who was? We were.”
Videos show that there was no “out-of-control mob.”
Andrew Pollack, whose daughter, Meadow, was killed in the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Fla., praised President Trump’s response to the massacre and argued that Mr. Trump would do a better job than Joe Biden at protecting students from gun violence.
Mr. Pollack was the only parent of a Parkland victim to attend the listening session President Trump held at the White House a week after the shooting, and he said in his speech on Monday that the event had shown him that Mr. Trump was “a great listener” who “cuts through the BS.”
He praised Mr. Trump’s formation of the Federal Commission on School Safety, which issued recommendations including tighter building security and programs to arm school personnel. The commission endorsed so-called red-flag laws, which allow the temporary confiscation of guns from people deemed to pose an imminent threat to themselves or others, but otherwise did not focus on gun restrictions.
“Gun control laws didn’t fail my daughter. People did,” Mr. Pollack said, arguing that Parkland officials’ failure to respond to warnings that the gunman was dangerous was a result of Obama-era policies on school discipline.
“I was just fine with the old approach to discipline and safety — it was called discipline and safety,” Mr. Pollack said. “But the Obama-Biden administration took Parkland’s bad policies and forced them into schools across America.”
The policies he referred to, known as restorative justice, are intended to reduce suspensions, expulsions and arrests, forms of discipline that are used disproportionately against students of color. Among other things, restorative justice programs push administrators to rely on school personnel rather than the police to handle student discipline, and to reject “zero tolerance” policies in favor of rehabilitation.
Mr. Pollack noted, correctly, that officials failed to act on numerous warning signs that the gunman posed a threat, and that school districts in Broward County, which includes Parkland, were early adopters of restorative justice policies. But there is no evidence that those policies led to the failures. The gunman was, in fact, removed from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School before the shooting, and his worrisome behavior was repeatedly reported to the Parkland police and the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.
After the shooting, Mr. Pollack helped pass a Florida law that, among other measures, allowed some school personnel to be armed. He has also pushed for tighter security, such as metal detectors, in schools.
His views set him apart from many other Parkland survivors and victims’ families. Among those who have been politically active, most have aligned themselves with Democrats and groups supporting gun restrictions, which Mr. Pollack opposes. He tweeted on Sunday that Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s proposed policies would leave schools “defenseless.”
Fred Guttenberg — whose daughter, Jaime, was also killed in the Parkland shooting — participated in the roll call vote at the Democratic National Convention last week, and many students who survived the shooting have been involved in the March for Our Lives movement for stricter gun laws.
Last week, the Democratic convention was a triumph of technology, with feeds from dozens of cities piped into a two-hour nightly program that was seamless television production.
The first night of the Republican convention, by contrast, looks more like a college media event. A series of speakers are appearing from a single stage inside the Mellon Auditorium in Washington — with the pre-taped segments from outside of Washington the exception breaking up the live speeches from the capital.
While Democrats produced images from around the country, the main scene change from the Republican convention was the sign on the lectern from which Mr. Trump’s supporters spoke. Even Mr. Trump’s first appearance was an in-person chat with a half-dozen supporters gathered inside the White House — while former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. last week spoke with Democrats via videoconference last week.
And the Republican speeches are longer.
Vernon Jones, a Democratic Georgia state legislator who endorsed Mr. Trump, was given a seven-minute time slot — an amount of time afforded last week only to the party’s biggest stars: Senator Kamala Harris, Barack and Michelle Obama and Mr. Biden and his wife, Jill Biden.
The lower production values reflect a shorter runway for Republicans to plan their virtual convention. Until late July, Mr. Trump had insisted the event take place in person, first in Charlotte, N.C., and later in Jacksonville, Fla.
But Democratic convention planners began plotting an all-virtual convention in early April, when it first became likely that it would not be possible to gather large numbers of people together this summer.
Vernon Jones, a Black Democratic state representative from Georgia, appeared at the Republican National Convention on Monday night and accused his party of taking Black voters for granted.
“The Democratic Party does not want Black people to leave their mental plantation,” Mr. Jones said, according to prepared remarks. “We’ve been forced to be there for decades and generations.”
Mr. Jones, who was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 2016, voted twice for George W. Bush and endorsed President Trump in April. He later announced he would not seek another term for his seat.
“Now you know, when I made the public announcement of my support for President Trump, all hell broke loose,” Mr. Jones said Monday, according to his prepared remarks. “I was threatened, called an embarrassment, and asked to resign by my own party. Unfortunately, that’s consistent with the Democratic Party and how they view independent-thinking Black men and women.”
For decades, polls have shown that an overwhelming majority of Black voters favor Democrats.
Mr. Jones was one of several people of color the Trump campaign highlighted on Monday, as the Republican Party tried to portray itself as inclusive despite the president’s continued messaging disparaging African-Americans, Latinos and Muslims.
Mr. Jones has been a key surrogate for the Trump campaign in Georgia, which traditionally votes Republican but has emerged as a key target for Democrats in this year’s presidential race.
During the 2008 Senate primary, Mr. Jones sent out a campaign mailer picturing himself with Barack Obama, a senator at the time, standing under the presidential campaign slogan “Yes we can!” But Mr. Obama had not backed Mr. Jones, whose career was mired in controversy including an accusation of rape, and the images of the two had been taken from different photos, using digital manipulation to place them on a single background. (No charges were filed related to the rape accusation.)
When the mailer caused a stir, Mr. Jones suggested that his Senate bid would give Mr. Obama a lift in Georgia.
President Trump has hired the fewest number of Black people to positions of authority in his White House and on his presidential campaign of any chief executive in decades.
But convention planners, trying to counter the display of diversity showcased by Democrats last week, have offered airtime to several high-profile people of color this week in an attempt to soften the negative impression voters of all stripes have of his handling of race relations.
One of the first such speakers was Herschel Walker, the Heisman Trophy-winning running back Mr. Trump signed to his short-lived United States Football League franchise, the New Jersey Generals, in the early 1980s.
The president has remained close with Mr. Walker, a multisport standout who went on to play with the Dallas Cowboys and even dabbled in bobsledding, martial arts and ballet.
“It hurts my soul to hear the terrible names that people call Donald — the worst is one ‘racist,’” said Mr. Walker, who grew up in rural Georgia.
“I take it as a personal insult that people would think I would have a 37-year friendship with a racist,” he said. “People who think that don’t know what they are talking about. Growing up in the Deep South, I have seen racism up close. I know what it is. And it isn’t Donald Trump.”
Last week, Democrats painted a picture of Joseph R. Biden Jr. as a compassionate man full of empathy for those who are hurting.
The obvious and unspoken contrast was to President Trump, who only on rare occasions mentions the more than 175,000 people in the United States who have died from the coronavirus and who has a tendency to make statements about the dead largely about himself.
On Monday night during the Republican National Convention, Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio offered something of a rebuttal: Mr. Trump, he said, can also have empathy, albeit in private and for political allies.
Mr. Jordan’s nephew, a college wrestler, was killed two years ago in a car accident, he said.
“It was a Saturday morning, three days after the accident,” Mr. Jordan said. “I walked to the car, to head up to Eli’s parents’ home, when the president called. We talked about a few issues. And then he asked how the family was doing. I said they’re doing ‘OK, but it’s tough.’ ”
Mr. Trump, Mr. Jordan said, then spent five minutes speaking to Mr. Jordan’s nephew’s father. Mr. Jordan did not relay any particularly soothing words the president conveyed, but said it helped the family in its mourning.
“That’s the president I’ve gotten to know the last four years,” said Mr. Jordan, who was the president’s chief defender during the impeachment inquiry. “That’s the individual who’s made America great again and who knows America’s best days are still in front of us.”
Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, embraced President Trump’s (in)famous “suburban housewife” tweet at her party’s convention on Monday, describing herself as a proud “housewife” and “mom” who had risen to the top of the G.O.P. on her merits — rather than her gender.
“I’m actually a real housewife and a mom from Michigan with two wonderful kids in public school who happens to be only the second woman in 164 years to run the Republican Party,” said Ms. McDaniel, a niece of Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee.
She went on to take a swipe at Senator Kamala Harris, the first woman of color to appear on a major party’s ticket.
“Unlike Joe Biden, President Trump didn’t choose me because I’m a woman — he chose me because I was the best person for the job,” said Ms. McDaniel, who has sought to marginalize Trump skeptics in the party during her three-plus years at the helm.
In her introductory address Monday night, Ms. McDaniel, the former party chairwoman in Michigan and a formidable fund-raiser, blasted Democrats for “talking about how much they despise our president” while revealing “very little about their actual policies.”
The Republican Party does not have a new platform this year, for the first time in recent memory.
Instead, the convention over which Ms. McDaniel presides unanimously adopted a resolution that simply expressed “the party’s strong support for President Donald Trump” and his administration.
Ms. McDaniel, echoing the combative culture-war theme struck by the president, took aim at the quartet of actresses and activists who hosted the Democrats’ slickly produced digital convention — and used an increasingly common, but deceptive, description of Democrats’ stances on abortion, saying they would “allow abortion up until the point of birth.”
Only about 1 percent of abortions are performed after 20 weeks’ gestation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Democratic presidential candidates mostly refused to endorse limits in the third trimester — noting that such abortions generally relate to threats to the woman’s health or severe fetal abnormalities, and arguing that the decision in those cases should be between women and their doctors — but abortions just before labor would have started don’t happen.
Ms. McDaniel also rejected the notion that her candidate was destined to lose the empathy war against Mr. Biden.
“Their argument for Joe Biden boiled down to the fact that they think he’s a nice guy,” she said.
“In the nearly four years I’ve worked on behalf of President Trump, I’ve seen up close a man who has a deep love for family,” she went on. “A man who has reverence for the office of the presidency. A man with an incredible respect for law enforcement and our military. I’ve seen private moments where he comforts Americans in times of pain and sadness.”
Kimberly Klacik, the Republican candidate in a solidly Democratic congressional district in Maryland, appeared on a national convention stage just a week after her first introduction to a national audience and accused Democrats of destroying cities and taking Black voters for granted.
“Abandoned buildings, liquor stores on every corner, drug addicts and guns on the street — that is now the norm in many neighborhoods,” she said of Baltimore, part of which is in Maryland’s Seventh Congressional District, where she is running. “Sadly, this same cycle of decay exists in many of America’s Democrat-run cities. And yet, the Democrats still assume that Black people will vote for them, no matter how much they let us down and take us for granted.”
Her description of parts of Baltimore was reminiscent of President Trump’s, who last year described the Seventh District as a “disgusting, rat- and rodent-infested mess” where “no human being would want to live.” That was part of a racist attack by Mr. Trump on the district’s representative at the time, Elijah Cummings, who died last year.
In her speech on Monday, Ms. Klacik, who is Black, continued: “Joe Biden believes we can’t think for ourselves — that the color of someone’s skin dictates their political views. We’re not buying the lies anymore. You and your party have neglected us for far too long.”
Polls show that an overwhelming majority of Black voters plan to vote for Mr. Biden, who won the Democratic primary on the strength of their support.
The district where Ms. Klacik is running is 26 percentage points more Democratic than the nation as a whole, according to the Cook Partisan Voting Index, and it is not considered competitive. Mr. Cummings held the seat for more than 20 years.
But Ms. Klacik was invited to speak at the convention after one of her campaign ads — in which she made largely the same arguments she made in her speech — went viral.
In just two terms in Congress, Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida has become one of President Trump’s highest-profile surrogates, thanks to his relentless efforts defending Mr. Trump on cable television.
Mr. Gaetz, as much as any member of Congress, has channeled the spirit of Trumpism, and on Monday night he delivered a series of searing yet baseless attacks on former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Mr. Biden, Mr. Gaetz argued, would be a mere avatar of the Democratic Party’s left wing, beholden to supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders — whom Mr. Biden handily defeated in the Democratic presidential primary.
“It’s a horror film, really,” he said. “They’ll disarm you, empty the prisons, lock you in your home, and invite MS-13 to live next door. And the defunded police aren’t on their way.”
Mr. Biden, of course, does not support any of those things. While he has called for putting in place universal background checks on new gun purchases and banning assault-style weapons, Mr. Biden did not support the confiscation of existing weapons when it was proposed by former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas last year. And Mr. Biden supports spending more money on law enforcement, not less.
For Mr. Gaetz, using the national convention stage to attack Mr. Biden is his latest effort to not just defend Mr. Trump but also attack the president’s enemies.
Mr. Gaetz was an early and regular aggressor toward Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign’s ties to Russia; he threatened Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former fixer, a day before Mr. Cohen was to testify before the House Oversight Committee; and he mocked early coronavirus precautions by wearing a gas mask during a House debate on funding to address the pandemic.
In June, Twitter affixed a warning label to a tweet of Mr. Gaetz’s for glorifying violence after he wrote: “Now that we clearly see Antifa as terrorists, can we hunt them down like we do those in the Middle East?”
But Mr. Gaetz did little to talk up Mr. Trump during his convention speech, beyond calling him a “visionary.” His pitch for a second Trump term amounted to little more than tearing into Mr. Biden and his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, while acknowledging that Mr. Trump isn’t always what people expect to see in a president.
“President Trump sometimes raises his voice — and a ruckus,” Mr. Gaetz said. “He knows that’s what it takes to raise an army of patriots who love America and will protect her.”
Charlie Kirk, the founder of the conservative group Turning Point USA and a staunch defender of President Trump online, said at the Republican National Convention on Monday night that the coming election posed a threat to “Western civilization,” framing his support of Mr. Trump in the same nativist spirit that powered the president’s 2016 election.
“I am here tonight to tell you — to warn you — that this election is a decision between preserving America as we know it, and eliminating everything that we love,” Mr. Kirk said.
In a laudatory speech, Mr. Kirk praised Mr. Trump as the “the bodyguard of Western civilization,” repeatedly invoking his own Christian faith and claiming the country’s creation was “centered around central biblical ideals,” despite the fact that the First Amendment of the Constitution expressly prohibits a national religion.
Few speakers embody the social-media-fueled, Trump-aligned conservative industrial complex more than Mr. Kirk. Now 26, he founded Turning Point USA in 2012, when he was just 18, and it became one of many groups courting young conservatives.
But his rapid embrace of Mr. Trump during the 2016 election quickly turned Turning Point USA into a sprawling pro-Trump enterprise and made Mr. Kirk a favorite of the president’s. He consistently garnered retweets from Mr. Trump and built an audience of more than 1.8 million followers on Twitter.
Mr. Kirk has leaned into the provocative, sometimes inflammatory nature of Mr. Trump’s brand of politics, with occasional falsehoods and misrepresentations.
“All of this is under attack by a group of bitter, deceitful, vengeful, arrogant activists who wish to tear down this gift we have been given,” Mr. Kirk said on Monday. He spoke of “monuments,” though he didn’t directly refer to the conservative push to preserve Confederate statues. He also spoke of “kicking doctors off of social media,” though he didn’t mention that this had happened because they had spread dangerous disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic.
Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Monday called for an immediate investigation into the shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, by the police in Kenosha, Wis., saying that “these shots pierce the soul of our nation.”
“This morning, the nation wakes up yet again with grief and outrage that yet another Black American is a victim of excessive force,” Mr. Biden said in a statement. “This calls for an immediate, full and transparent investigation and the officers must be held accountable.”
Mr. Biden added that the country “must dismantle systemic racism,” saying that “equal justice has not been real for Black Americans and so many others.”
Policing has emerged as an issue in the presidential campaign, particularly after the killing of George Floyd in police custody in May incited protests around the nation.
As Republicans gathered in Charlotte, N.C., for their convention on Monday, Vice President Mike Pence told the delegates that “four more years means more support for our troops and our cops.” And President Trump’s pledge to the delegates that “we are going to fully fund law enforcement and hire more police” was greeted with chants and cheers.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is scheduled to speak at the Republican convention on Tuesday, instructed State Department employees last month not to participate in political activities, and his own plans appear to violate department regulations.
Employees “may not engage in partisan political activity” even outside of work hours, Mr. Pompeo wrote in an internal cable on July 24.
“Similarly,” he added, “presidential and political appointees” — of which he is one — “are subject to significant restrictions on their political activity; they may not engage in any partisan political activity in concert with a partisan campaign, political party, or partisan political group, even on personal time and outside of the federal workplace.”
According to State Department guidance from December 2019, department employees are not allowed to “speak for or against a partisan candidate, political party, or partisan political group at a convention, rally, or similar gathering sponsored by such entities.”
A State Department official said that Mr. Pompeo would “address the convention in his personal capacity” and added: “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.”
But the official guidelines and Mr. Pompeo’s cable state clearly that such partisan activities are prohibited even on employees’ personal time.
The guidance also says that “Senate-confirmed presidential appointees may not even attend a political party convention or convention-related event.” Mr. Pompeo is a Senate-confirmed presidential appointee.
Mr. Pompeo will not be physically present at the convention, which is being held in Charlotte, N.C., but speaking for Mr. Trump would violate the December 2019 guidance. State Department representatives did not respond to multiple requests for comment about whether those rules were current.
Television’s ability to handle a Trump-centric convention faced an early test on Monday, when the president delivered a kickoff speech that was filled with false claims about the integrity of mail-in voting and the policy positions of his Democratic opponent, Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Broadcasters were already bracing for a week of tough editorial decisions. Political conventions, at heart, are forms of propaganda, and TV networks typically give a long leash to candidates as they formally make their case to the nation.
But President Trump’s well-documented penchant for falsehoods presents a unique challenge, according to network executives.
Producers are trying to balance voters’ right to hear directly from their president while preventing misinformation from spreading unchecked on their channels to millions of viewers. The president’s allies say that Mr. Trump deserves the same deference as past presidents, and any intervention on the networks’ part is a sign of editorial bias.
As the president spoke on Monday, a hodgepodge of journalistic strategies emerged.
CNN cut away from Mr. Trump in the middle of his remarks. MSNBC carried the entirety of Mr. Trump’s speech live, opting for real-time analysis in on-screen graphics. Fox News carried the speech live, but did not offer a correction to Mr. Trump’s false claims.
In general, TV producers say they are inclined to air Mr. Trump’s remarks live, with clarifications and corrections offered as necessary.
“There are certain speeches in the political life of the country that the news networks treat as events the audience deserves to see: the State of the Union, an inaugural address, and convention speeches by the nominee and the running mate,” said Mark Lukasiewicz, who was an executive producer for coverage of six conventions at NBC News.
“These are singular events,” Mr. Lukasiewicz added. “But the networks are going to struggle. How do you maintain an appearance of fairness and equity between the two parties’ political events, but deal with the fact that one candidate, you have every reason to believe, will not tell the truth?”
The extent to which President Trump has bent the Republican Party to his will was underscored this week when the party announced that it would not adopt a new platform this year, but would “continue to enthusiastically support the president’s America-first agenda.”
The decision not to adopt a new Republican Party platform, the party’s main statement of policy, was extraordinary. The resolution that the Republican National Committee passed over the weekend forgoing a new one anticipated criticism, claiming that the “media has outrageously misrepresented the implications” of not adopting a new platform and calling on the media to accurately report the party’s “strong support” for the president.
Criticism came swiftly. William Kristol, a former chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle who went on to serve as the editor of The Weekly Standard, a conservative magazine, and who has emerged as one of Mr. Trump’s most prominent Republican critics, wrote on Twitter: “It’s no longer the Republican party. It’s a Trump cult.”
The Republicans, in 2020, for the first time, have no platform. Instead: “RESOLVED, That the Republican Party has and will continue to enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda.” It’s no longer the Republican party. It’s a Trump cult.https://t.co/BATeUiXRYu
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) August 23, 2020
Party platforms are nonbinding documents that tend to lay out policy positions and principles. A new Republican Party platform would have been instructive at a moment when Mr. Trump has broken with party orthodoxy on a host of issues, including his opposition to free trade agreements; a foreign policy that has attempted to forge closer ties with Russia even as he has antagonized longstanding European allies; and a fiscal policy under which deficits were rising even before the pandemic forced more federal spending.
The Republican National Committee said that it was forgoing a new platform because fewer people were attending the convention this year because of coronavirus restrictions, and it “did not want a small contingent of delegates formulating a new platform without the breadth of perspectives within the ever-growing Republican movement.” The Democrats, who held their convention remotely, nonetheless adopted a new platform last week.
On Sunday, Mr. Trump released a list of broad statements about his agenda for a second term, under the heading “President Trump: Fighting for You!” They included promises of millions of new jobs, a vow to “hold China fully accountable for allowing the virus to spread around the world” and a “return to normal in 2021.”
President Trump was nominated for a second term on Monday as the Republican National Convention got underway in Charlotte, N.C., and he used a surprise speech at the convention not to preview a second-term agenda, but to cast doubt in advance on the November election and attack mail-in voting, accusing Democrats of “using Covid to steal the election.”
Mr. Trump — who took the stage as the crowd chanted “Four more years!” — began with a provocation.
“If you want to really drive them crazy, you say 12 more years,” Mr. Trump said.
Mr. Trump, who is seeking re-election amid a pandemic that his administration has failed to contain, widespread economic pain and racial unrest, used his speech to rally the party by focusing on the strength of the stock market and attacking Democratic officials who imposed coronavirus restrictions.
He repeated his unfounded allegations that President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., his opponent in the coming election, had spied on his campaign in 2016. “We caught them doing really bad things,” he said. “Let’s see what happens. They’re trying it again.”
Mr. Trump criticized Roy Cooper, the Democratic governor of North Carolina, telling the crowd in Charlotte that Mr. Cooper and other Democratic governors had enacted virus restrictions simply to hurt his re-election chances and would lift them after Election Day.
“You have a governor who is in a total shutdown mood,” he said. “I guarantee you on November 4, it will all open up.”
Though shutdowns caused by the pandemic have left millions of Americans unemployed, and new rounds of relief have been held up in Washington, Mr. Trump focused on his economic successes.
“We’re just about ready to break the all-time stock market record,” he said.
Mr. Trump offered his remarks to a crowd that frequently broke into applause, a dramatic contrast with last week’s Democratic convention, which was held largely remotely out of concerns that indoor gatherings could spread the coronavirus. The Republicans have made their decision to hold an in-person convention a political statement in itself.
With tens of millions of Americans expected to vote by mail in order to avoid contracting the virus at polling places, the president continued his monthslong assault on voting by mail and repeated unfounded accusations that it was part of a Democratic plot to hand the election to Mr. Biden.
“They’re using Covid to steal the election,” he said.
And he continued to try to paint Mr. Biden, an establishment figure in politics for decades who has been running a centrist campaign, as radical. He demanded that Mr. Biden put out a list of judges he would appoint, as Mr. Trump did in 2016.
“He can’t do it,” he said. “The radical left will demand he appoints super-radical-left wild crazy justices going into the Supreme Court.”
If that happens, Mr. Trump said, “Your American dream will be dead.”
While the Democrats at their convention last week made the death toll from the pandemic — now past 175,000 — a centerpiece of their case, and tried to lay the blame for it at Mr. Trump’s feet, the president mentioned the virus’s victims almost as an afterthought at the end of his rambling, nearly hourlong speech.
“We will never forget the 175,000 people — that will go up,” he said, adding the toll would have been millions more without travel bans he implemented.