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Highlights Of Day 2 Of The Republican National Convention


It is the third night of the Republican National Convention. And tonight, viewers of the mostly virtual event will take a side trip to Baltimore. That is where Vice President Mike Pence will deliver his keynote speech.


VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: I'll be going to Fort McHenry, which was the very place that inspired our national anthem.

CHANG: The Trump campaign says Pence will be looking to draw a contrast between President Trump and his Democratic rival, Joe Biden. NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith joins us with more.

Hey, Tam.


CHANG: So what do you expect to hear from the vice president tonight?

KEITH: Well, you know, Vice President Pence has led the coronavirus task force since earlier this year. And you can expect him to talk about the actions that the administration has taken to address the pandemic. You know, this convention comes as about a thousand Americans a day are still dying from the virus. And people are grappling with job losses. There's this new school year that's happening online and elsewhere. And there's just so much instability that declaring victory won't quite be possible. But you can expect the vice president will speak in very optimistic tones anyway. That's what the campaign is telling us.

It's something we've heard throughout this week - the administration and Trump allies downplaying the severity of the problem with the pandemic and overselling the success of the response. And also, I think we can probably anticipate that the president might make an appearance with his running mate tonight. There have been Trumpy (ph) surprises every night.

CHANG: All week. So I'm curious because, you know, there's a lot going on right now - we have Hurricane Laura approaching. The president is sending federal law enforcement to Wisconsin after police there shot a Black man who was not armed. How do you think these news events will figure into the convention tonight?

KEITH: Yeah, it's a really open question whether the president or other speakers at the convention will address this or make this part of the story tonight. President Trump has repeatedly portrayed himself as a law-and-order president and slammed Democrats for failing to address the protests during their convention last week. Today, he said on Twitter he will not stand for looting, arson, violence and lawlessness on America's streets.

Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden put out a video today, a little bit of counterprogramming. He said that he had spoken with the family of Jacob Blake and said justice must be served. But he also addressed the looting and killing last night of two protesters.


JOE BIDEN: Protesting brutality is a right and absolutely necessary. But burning down communities is not protest. It's needless violence.

KEITH: That hurricane headed towards the Gulf Coast is also a big issue for the president. In the past, he's wanted to show that he has things under control. In fact, this storm risks overshadowing the convention with dire warnings of deadly storm surge and very strong winds.

CHANG: OK. So besides the vice president, who else do we expect to hear from during the convention tonight?

KEITH: Well, we're going to hear from Kellyanne Conway. She led President Trump's campaign to victory in 2016, and she was the first woman to lead a winning presidential campaign. As a counselor to the president at the White House, she has focused on the opioid epidemic. We are likely to hear some of that.

And this will be a swan song for her. She announced that she is leaving the White House to focus on her family. There has been some drama because her husband, George Conway, has been a very public opponent of the president, and one of her teenage daughters has also been quite active on social media speaking out against Trump.

CHANG: That is NPR's Tamara Keith.

Thank you, Tam.

KEITH: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. Keith has chronicled the Trump administration from day one, putting this unorthodox presidency in context for NPR listeners, from early morning tweets to executive orders and investigations. She covered the final two years of the Obama presidency, and during the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association.