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As Vice President Mike Pence prepares to deliver his speech at the third night of the Republican convention this evening, he has one eye on getting his boss re-elected and the other on 2024.
Mr. Pence, who has remained deeply in President Trump’s shadow during his term, is expected to hew closely to a familiar, self-effacing strategy tonight — one devised to keep him bonded tightly to the man he hopes to succeed in four years while preserving at least a veneer of normalcy for himself.
Over the course of four years as Mr. Trump’s mild-mannered sidekick, Mr. Pence has tended to his political future largely by maneuvering around in private what the president bellows in public, something he has had to do particularly often as head of the federal coronavirus task force.
Last month, for instance, Mr. Pence spoke with governors from both parties to discuss schools and stressed that the federal government sought to help them with reopening. “You all build your plan, we’ll work with you,” he told them. The next day, Mr. Trump accused Democrats of trying to block schools from reopening for political reasons and threatened retribution: “May cut off funding if not open!” he tweeted.
If Mr. Pence, 61, does have a future beyond the vice presidency, it has not yet come into focus. His political standing is middling at best, and he is not widely seen as an heir apparent. He is less disliked than Mr. Trump but no more popular than the president, according to recent polling.
“I don’t think people are going to get out of the way for him,” said Scott Jennings, a Republican strategist. “I don’t think he can expect to be anointed simply because he served as vice president.”
As it is, Mr. Pence’s best opportunity to stand out in the current campaign may come in his October debate with Senator Kamala Harris of California, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, whose mission of bringing more vigorous energy and diversity to her party’s ticket could scarcely differ more from Mr. Pence’s more staid political mandate.
The month of June was filled with big moments for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. President Trump was almost entirely silent through it all.
There was no tweet in honor of Pride Month, despite several aides’ suggestions to Mr. Trump that he write one. No rollout of a coalition aimed at L.G.B.T.Q. voters by his campaign, despite preparations that had been made for one. Embassies overseas were told they couldn’t fly the Pride flag.
There was, however, a rollback by the Trump administration of an Obama-era regulation mandating health care as a civil right for transgender patients under the Affordable Care Act.
It is what many in the L.G.B.T.Q. coalition have come to expect from Mr. Trump, who during his 2016 presidential campaign used gay people as a wedge against Muslims, whom he painted broadly as extremists, after the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando by a Muslim man. While Mr. Trump has signaled a willingness to publicly align himself with some gay men and women, he selected a deeply conservative running mate in Vice President Mike Pence, and as president, he has systematically dismantled protections put in place by President Barack Obama, especially for transgender people.
Just over two months before Election Day, Mr. Trump is trailing in almost every poll to Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee, whom activists credit with pushing Mr. Obama to support gay marriage. And Mr. Trump’s advisers are suddenly talking about L.G.B.T.Q. people as they scramble to find new voter support.
Last weekend, the campaign announced the L.G.B.T.Q. coalition that had been expected in June, blaming the delay on the coronavirus.
And now Trump officials are turning to Richard Grenell, the gay former U.S. ambassador to Germany who served for three months as the acting director of national intelligence, to sell the president, and attack Mr. Biden. He is expected to speak at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday night.
Vice President Mike Pence will headline the third night of the Republican National Convention on Wednesday, which will also include speeches from several prominent members of Congress and the outgoing White House adviser Kellyanne Conway.
Ms. Conway’s speech will be a focus of attention. She announced over the weekend that she will be leaving the White House shortly and will not take a role with the Trump campaign so she can spend more time with her four children.
Mr. Pence, who leads the coronavirus task force, is expected to give a speech that sells President Trump’s record. Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa, who is in a re-election race that has tightened, is expected to do the same.
Representative Dan Crenshaw of Texas, a 36-year-old veteran who is seen as one of the party’s rising stars, is also speaking.
The big speeches of the night will happen from 8:30 to 11 p.m. Eastern time.
The Times will stream the convention every evening, accompanied by chat-based live analysis from our reporters and real-time highlights from the speeches.
The official livestream will be available on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Twitch and Amazon Prime.
ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox News will cover the convention from 10 to 11 p.m. every night; CNN from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.; MSNBC from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.; PBS from 8 to 11 p.m.; and C-SPAN at 9 a.m. and then at 8:30 p.m.
Here are some of the other speakers on the schedule:
Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee
Sister Dede Byrne, a surgeon, retired Army colonel and member of the Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary religious order
Madison Cawthorn, the Republican nominee in North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District
Scott Dane, executive director of the Associated Contract Loggers and Truckers of Minnesota
Richard Grenell, the former acting director of national intelligence
Clarence Henderson, who participated in the 1960 lunch counter sit-ins in Greensboro, N.C.
Former Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, Mr. Pence’s national security adviser
Michael McHale, president of the National Association of Police Organizations
Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota
Burgess Owens, the Republican nominee in Utah’s Fourth Congressional District
Representative Elise Stefanik of New York
Lara Trump, a campaign adviser to Mr. Trump and the wife of his son Eric
Representative Lee Zeldin of New York
President Trump said on Wednesday that he would deploy the National Guard and other law enforcement to Kenosha, Wis., to quell the unrest that has erupted since the police there shot an unarmed Black man, Jacob Blake, on Sunday.
“I will be sending federal law enforcement and the National Guard to Kenosha, WI to restore LAW and ORDER!” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter.
…TODAY, I will be sending federal law enforcement and the National Guard to Kenosha, WI to restore LAW and ORDER!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 26, 2020
His action came one day after two people were killed in a shooting related to the protests in Kenosha, a city of 100,000 people between Chicago and Milwaukee. It also came at the halfway mark of the Republican National Convention, where Mr. Trump has leaned into his message of supporting the police and avoided mentioning the unrest in Kenosha.
The looting, arson and other violence that have periodically flared amid mostly peaceful protests in American cities since the police killing of George Floyd in May have formed a key part of the backdrop of the convention.
The unrest in Kenosha began after Mr. Blake, 29, was shot several times in the back by a police officer as he tried to get into the driver-side door of a S.U.V. His three children were in the back seat. Mr. Blake was paralyzed from the waist down, his father told the media.
Within hours of the shooting, graphic video of it taken by a neighbor raced across social media, and Kenosha erupted into protest, looting and fires downtown. Officers used tear gas to try to disperse protesters.
Protests continued on Monday and Tuesday, and on Tuesday night, a face-off at a gas station between protesters and armed men who promised to protect the property turned into a violent confrontation, and two people were shot dead and another was wounded.
On Wednesday, according to officials and court documents, a 17-year-old from Illinois, Kyle Rittenhouse, had been arrested and charged with homicide.
Mr. Trump said on Wednesday that Gov. Tony Evers of Wisconsin had accepted his offer to send the National Guard and federal law enforcement officers to Kenosha, one day after Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, told Fox News that Mr. Evers had turned down the federal intervention.
Mr. Trump did not elaborate on which federal agents he was sending to Kenosha in his tweet, in which he said that officials in Portland, Ore., should consent to intervention from his administration to address the unrest there.
Some Democrats fear that the images of unrest and violence coming from Wisconsin, a swing state that voted narrowly for Mr. Trump in 2016, could play into the hands of the president’s law-and-order re-election message.
“I have no doubt President Trump will fan the flames and exploit anything in a distorted way to continue to divide us and to instill fear,” State Representative Gordon Hintz, the Democratic minority leader of the Wisconsin State Assembly, said in an interview.
“It’s hard to think it won’t help him,” he added.
With the Republican National Convention at the midway point, the biggest contrast with the Democrats has been in how little attention the Republicans have given to the coronavirus pandemic that has upended life across America and led to over 178,000 deaths.
Democrats made the virus, as well as the Trump administration’s failure to contain it, a dominant theme of their convention last week. The Republicans have mentioned the virus far less, and when they have, it has sometimes been in the past tense.
“Then came a once-in-100-year pandemic,” Larry Kudlow, the president’s top economic adviser, said in his convention speech last night. “It was awful. Health and economic impacts were tragic. Hardship and heartbreak were everywhere. But presidential leadership came swiftly and effectively with an extraordinary rescue for health and safety to successfully fight the Covid virus.”
In fact, the nation is still averaging more than 40,000 new cases and more than 900 deaths each day.
The virus has not gone ignored. Near the end of President Trump’s nearly hourlong speech to delegates in Charlotte, N.C., on Monday afternoon, he said that “we will never forget the 175,000 people,” and added that his decision to ban travelers from China had saved lives.
That night Mr. Trump was shown meeting, maskless, with frontline workers. Several speakers praised his response, including a doctor, a nurse and Nikki Haley, the former United Nations ambassador. Mr. Kudlow described the federal relief package as having “saved the economy.”
On Wednesday Vice President Mike Pence, who leads the federal coronavirus task force, is scheduled to speak.
While accentuating the positive is a time-honored part of any re-election campaign, it risks sounding discordant at a moment when the United States leads the world in reported virus cases and deaths; millions of workers remain unemployed; many schools districts say it is still not safe to reopen; and it is now Americans who are barred from traveling to other nations that have been more successful at taming their outbreaks.
So far, the most direct acknowledgment at the convention of the pain the virus has caused came from the first lady, Melania Trump.
“My deepest sympathy goes out to everyone who has lost a loved one and my prayers are with those who are ill or suffering,” Mrs. Trump said from the White House Rose Garden. “I know many people are anxious and some feel helpless. I want you to know you are not alone.”
Halfway through the Republican convention, there have been some notable omissions: a traditional party platform, any mention of impeachment and a meaningful reckoning with the number of Americans who have died from the coronavirus.
But perhaps even more conspicuously absent were masks — whether on President Trump or on those in his immediate orbit, some of whom have been featured in segments that were pretaped at the White House.
No masks when Mr. Trump recognized frontline workers. No masks when Mr. Trump presided over a naturalization ceremony. No masks during the made-for-TV pardoning of a former inmate.
And when Melania Trump, the first lady, gave a keynote speech on Tuesday night in front of a crowd in the White House Rose Garden, very few members of the audience wore masks. The attendees, who the White House said had been tested for the virus, also did not practice social distancing.
The Republican convention has not been completely devoid of masks. On Monday in Charlotte, N.C., all of the 336 delegates who took part in nominating Mr. Trump were required to wear masks.
But the lack of face coverings during high-profile moments stood in a stark contrast with the Democratic National Convention last week, when former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the party’s presidential nominee, and his wife, Jill Biden, put on masks to wave to supporters in a parking lot outside a convention center in Wilmington, Del.
Mr. Biden and Senator Kamala Harris of California, his running mate, also kept their distance after Ms. Harris accepted her nomination. Mr. Biden also said this month he believed all U.S. governors should mandate mask wearing in their states, a position Mr. Trump has resisted.
“We do not need to bring the full weight of the federal government down on law abiding Americans to accomplish this goal,” Mr. Trump said at a White House news conference. “Americans must have their freedoms.”
Mr. Trump did not advise Americans to wear to prevent the spread of the virus until July, four months after the health crisis had been declared a pandemic — a delay for which he was roundly criticized. He did not wear a mask in public until mid-July.
Television audiences rose for the second night of the Republican National Convention, with the first lady, Melania Trump, attracting more viewers than Monday’s keynote speaker, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina. About 18 million people watched live on Tuesday from 10 to 11:15 p.m., compared to roughly 16 million on Monday night.
But the ratings still lagged the Democrats’ convention, which drew 19.2 million people on its second night.
Tuedsay night’s uptick for the Republicans was fueled in large part by Fox News, which drew 8 million viewers, a huge number by today’s TV standards.
Fox News’s 10 p.m. audience was larger than that of ABC, CBS, NBC and MSNBC combined, according to early Nielsen estimates. The channel’s viewership accounted for close to half of the total TV audience on Tuesday among the six major networks covering the convention.
Nielsen ratings do not include online platforms and streaming services, which are increasingly used by younger Americans.
MSNBC, popular with liberals, aired a bit less of Tuesday’s Republican convention than it did last week for the Democrats, with the host Rachel Maddow cutting in for a series of fact-checks.
On Fox News, Sean Hannity carried more of Tuesday’s convention unfiltered than he had on Monday, when the host interrupted speakers for analysis and interviews. Tuesday’s “Hannity” ended up recording its most-watched hour ever on Fox News, with 7.7 million viewers.
After the second day of a Republican National Convention whose proceedings trampled over long-established lines between governing and campaigning, Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, scoffed at concerns that President Trump and other top officials were abusing federal offices and property for political gain.
“Nobody outside of the Beltway really cares,” Mr. Meadows said in a video interview with Politico, adding, “This is a lot of hoopla that’s being made about things.”
Mr. Meadows said in passing that “there are a couple of things that you can do to make sure that you’re in compliance with the Hatch Act,” the federal law prohibiting the use of government resources for campaign purposes. But he did not explain how the administration had avoided violating the law when Mr. Trump led a naturalization ceremony at the White House that became a featured convention event; when Vice President Mike Pence spoke from a national park; or when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on an official trip, spoke from Jerusalem and became the first top diplomat to address a convention in at least 75 years.
Americans “expect that Donald Trump is going to promote Republican values, and they would expect that Barack Obama, when he was in office, that he would do the same for Democrats,” Mr. Meadows said. It was not clear what he meant, particularly given that President Obama, during his re-election campaign in 2012, did not test the boundaries Mr. Trump repeatedly broke on Tuesday.
“You can’t break the law — you shouldn’t do it,” Mr. Meadows said. But he added that “the law, in the way that it was originally intended, never thought that we would be on Zoom talking to people live.” It was also unclear how that applied to the question of whether it is appropriate to use federal resources for political benefit.
President Trump sought Tuesday to wrap himself in pro-immigrant sentiment — even though his administration has waged a yearslong assault on the nation’s immigration system — by presiding over a naturalization ceremony at the White House during the second night of the Republican National Convention.
Using the majesty of the White House for blatantly political purposes, Mr. Trump appeared during the convention’s second hour as “Hail to the Chief” played and strode to a lectern where five immigrants, all of them people of color, were waiting to take the oath to become citizens.
“Today, America rejoices as we welcome five absolutely incredible new members into our great American family,” he told them in a 10-minute ceremony that had been taped in the afternoon.
Mr. Trump’s claim that he loves and appreciates immigrants stood in stark contrast to his record over the past four years, during which he has repeatedly pursued anti-immigrant policies, often fueled by xenophobic language.
The president has largely blocked asylum seekers and refugees fleeing persecution, war and violence. He has built nearly 300 miles of border wall (though without persuading Mexico to pay for it, as he once insisted). He has made it harder for poor people to immigrate to the United States, imposed travel bans on predominantly Muslim countries, and separated migrant children from their parents at the border.
Mr. Trump’s critics offered some rather harsh reviews of the televised ceremony.
Cristina Jiménez, an Ecuadorian immigrant and co-founder of United We Dream, an immigrant youth organization, called Mr. Trump’s gesture “shameless” on Twitter and wrote: “Using immigrants in a citizenship ceremony won’t erase this administration calling immigrants animals, Mexicans rapists, issuing a ban on Muslims, leading mass deportation, family separation, dismantling #DACA, & putting kids in cages.”
DACA refers to the program that protects about 700,000 young immigrants known as Dreamers from deportation. Mr. Trump’s administration was thwarted by the Supreme Court in June from ending the program.
Representative Veronica Escobar, Democrat of Texas, called the display “creepy beyond belief” and noted with disapproval that the citizenship oath was administered by Chad F. Wolf, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, whom Mr. Trump nominated Tuesday to lead the agency on a permanent basis.
“The sight of Child-Separator-and-Trump-Boot-Licker-in-Chief, @DHS_Wolf alongside the white supremacist who is the current occupant of the White House at this political naturalization ceremony is a scene so perverse it actually hurts,” Ms. Escobar wrote.
President Trump built a television persona around his catchphrase, “You’re fired,” on “The Apprentice.” But he also gave away prizes and presented himself as a benefactor — a role that he has revived during the Republican National Convention, The Times’s chief television critic, James Poniewozik, noted. He wrote:
In a series of taped segments, the Republican National Convention has tried to resurrect that Donald Trump for prime time: the president as gracious, generous host; the benefits of democracy (citizenship, a pardon, a presidential audience, freedom itself) as the prizes; the White House — in potential violation of the Hatch Act — as his soundstage.
Monday night, the program had Mr. Trump meet with a group of Covid-19 frontline workers and a group of American hostages, released from captivity overseas.
Tuesday’s installments used presidential powers even more brazenly as campaign favors. First, he granted a pardon to Jon Ponder, a felon who founded Hope for Prisoners, a group that helps the once-incarcerated re-enter society. Later, he spoke at a naturalization ceremony for five immigrants, welcoming them to “our great American family.”
Both segments were deeply emotional, embodying the chance for reinvention that America offers at its best. They were also deeply cynical, illustrating how willing the president is to leverage the office for his own reinvention, via a TV production.
The stunts were reminiscent of this year’s State of the Union address, an extravaganza of surprise twists, in which Mr. Trump handed out a scholarship, arranged a viral-video-style military reunion and graced the right-wing shock jock Rush Limbaugh with a Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In the R.N.C. pieces, he sometimes speaks off the cuff, sometimes from a script. But in his familiar TV-host role, he seems more comfortable than he ordinarily does reading an address off a teleprompter.
Cindy McCain, the widow of the Republican senator John McCain, appeared last week in a video at the Democratic National Convention detailing her husband’s “unlikely friendship” with Joseph R. Biden Jr. She praised Mr. Biden, the Democratic nominee, for his willingness to reach across the aisle, calling it “a style of legislating and leadership that you don’t find much anymore.”
Before the clip aired, Kelli Ward, the chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party, who in 2016 lost a bitter Senate primary challenge to Mr. McCain, filmed her own video to share her thoughts on Mrs. McCain’s appearance. “Well, I just say: Not a Republican,” Ms. Ward asserted as her husband, wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat, nodded alongside her.
Those dueling images — the widow of Arizona’s most popular Republican since Barry Goldwater lauding the Democratic presidential nominee’s character, and the state party’s current leader denouncing her in response as a “pretend Republican” who wants to “cause the destruction of this great nation” — succinctly reflected the political identity crisis currently unfolding in Arizona.
The party’s rightward lurch in the Trump era has left a growing number of Republicans in the state disenchanted and caused Arizona, a longtime Republican stronghold, to suddenly resemble a battleground.
That’s in large part because of women: In 2018, 16 percent of Republican women broke with their party to help make Kyrsten Sinema the state’s first Democratic senator since 1995. Most strategists in the state believe President Trump’s chances there in November hinge on bringing such voters back into the fold.
And if the tenor of the Republican National Convention is any indication — early speeches on the party’s commitment to protecting “quiet neighborhoods,” and a Wednesday lineup of prominent Republican women including Kellyanne Conway, Karen Pence and Joni Ernst — Mr. Trump is beginning to agree.
In Arizona, Mrs. McCain serves as an avatar of sorts for many Republican women — educated suburbanites, including lifelong party members who have perhaps felt alienated by the party’s Trumpist turn. But Ms. Ward, a devout Trump loyalist who dabbles in the occasional conspiracy theory, more closely resembles the kind of voter the party is devoting its resources to instead.
It is the state-level iteration of Mr. Trump’s national strategy, targeting core supporters even as Mr. Biden aggressively courts moderate Republican and independent women in states that were critical to the president’s success in 2016. And for now, at least in Arizona, Mr. Trump’s approach is not working so well. Recent polls show Mr. Biden leading the president by as many as seven percentage points.
Stephanie Bice, an Oklahoma state legislator, won the Republican primary on Tuesday to challenge Representative Kendra Horn, the lone Democrat in the Oklahoma delegation.
Ms. Horn was perhaps the most surprising victor in the 2018 elections, winning by just over 3,300 votes and flipping the seat for the first time since the 1970s.
Nine Republicans had sought the chance to challenge Ms. Horn, sending the race into a runoff. Ms. Bice defeated Terry Neese, an entrepreneur who had closely tied herself to President Trump, for the chance at the seat.
“Kendra Horn promised to be a moderate but has been nothing but a rubber stamp for Nancy Pelosi and the socialist agenda of House Democrats,” said Representative Tom Emmer, the chair of the House Republican campaign arm. “Horn will be rejected by voters in November and I look forward to welcoming Stephanie to Congress.”
Representative Cheri Bustos of Illinois, the chairwoman of the House Democratic campaign arm, said that she had no doubt that Ms. Horn would be re-elected.
“Representative Kendra Horn has proven to be an effective leader for her community, working tirelessly to lower the cost of prescription drugs and get Oklahomans back to work safely,” she said.
The race is considered a tossup by most political handicappers, including the Cook Political Report.
Sometimes campaign stores are not just about selling merchandise. Sometimes they are about making political statements.
That is what Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s campaign is doing with the release on Tuesday of a two-ounce bottle of hand sanitizer ($8), complete with the Biden plans to address the coronavirus pandemic printed on it.
“Donald Trump’s catastrophic failures of governance have led to tens of thousands of needless deaths and economic pain for tens of millions of Americans,” reads the label, whose dense thickets of fine print appeared to pay tribute to Dr. Bronner’s soap, the eccentrically marketed countercultural cleanser.
There are links both to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website and Mr. Biden’s “plan to get the virus under control.”
Stunt sales items can help vacuum up supporter data and — if the profit margin is significant — make campaigns a pretty penny. Last year, President Trump’s campaign began selling a 10-pack of recyclable straws for $15.
“Liberal paper straws don’t work,” says the copy on the shop.donaldtrump.com site. They sold more than $450,000 worth in a few days.
Democrats whose current sanitizer supply is running low may need to look for alternatives to the Biden product, however: The website says it will not be released until Sept. 22.