(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — The Republican National Convention concluded Thursday and the fall campaign season officially kicks off with President Donald Trump having formally accepted the GOP nomination for a second term as president in a speech that he delivered from the White House South Lawn.

A fireworks display lit up the sky above the Washington Monument at the conclusion of his remarks.

Here are the highlights from the final night of the RNC:

12:21 a.m. Biden responds to Trump’s acceptance speech

The Biden campaign is once again criticizing Trump on the coronavirus pandemic, tallying the number of Americans lost to COVID-19 over the four days of the RNC and deriding Trump for delivering “a delusional vision” of the country, rather than articulating his vision for dealing with the pandemic — something Biden’s Deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield said would not come as a surprise to the American people.

“Since the beginning of the Republican convention, at least 3,525 Americans have lost their lives to the coronavirus. Over those four days — and for the last eight months — the American people have waited in exasperation for a plan to finally take control of the pandemic that has cost us 180,000 lives, infected almost six million, and thrown working families and our middle class into dire financial straits, but nothing came,” Bedingfield wrote in the statement.

“Instead of a strategy to overcome the pandemic, or any concern for the unbearable suffering in our country right now as a result of his ongoing failures, what we heard was a delusional vision completely divorced from the crushing reality that ordinary Americans face. But the American people know who Donald Trump is. They know the truth about Trump’s crisis-plagued presidency because they are living it every single day: shuttered businesses in our neighborhoods, kids kept home from school, and a steady stream of vitriol intended to tear us apart, from the person who is supposed to be uniting our nation,” she continued.

11:44 p.m. Fireworks display at the Washington Monument

At the conclusion of Trump’s acceptance speech, a fireworks display launched at the Washington Monument.

11:43 p.m. ‘I’m here and they’re not’ Trump highlights White House as backdrop at RNC

Trump made a point to emphasize that he was in the White House, and physically outside it, in making a contrast between him and Biden.

“We must turn the page forever on this failed political class. The fact is, I’m here,” Trump said, turning and pointing at the White House, “the fact is, we’re here and they’re not. And that’s because of you.”

The use of the White House for the convention event has raised ethical concerns, including that it could violate a federal law that bans government employees from using their office for political activity or personal gain. The president and vice president are exempt from that law — the Hatch Act — but the RNC events at the White House and National Park Service properties still garnered criticism it blurred the lines for other administration employees involved in the events.

The Hatch Act is intended to prevent abuses of power, bribery and coercion by officials in public office.

Multiple Trump administration officials, including counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, have been cited for repeated and knowing violations of the Hatch Act, but enforcement of violations is left to the individual’s employer and no action has been taken in those cases.

11:35 p.m. Trump says election a choice between law and order and “mob rule”

Trump pledged support for law enforcement around the country, saying the overwhelming majority of officers are noble and courageous but afraid to act.

Trump repeated a theme from throughout the night that Democrat-run cities are violent and dangerous. And similar to Vice President Mike Pence, Trump mentioned the protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, without mentioning Jacob Blake, the Black man who was shot in the back by police and paralyzed, or the protesters who were shot and killed.

“When there is police misconduct, the justice system must hold wrongdoers fully and completely accountable, and it will. But what we can never have in America — and must never allow — is mob rule. In the strongest possible terms, the Republican Party condemns the rioting, looting, arson and violence we have seen in Democrat-run cities like Kenosha, Minneapolis, Portland, Chicago, and New York,” he said.

“There is violence and danger in the streets of many Democrat-run cities throughout America. This problem could easily be fixed if they wanted to. We must always have law and order. All federal crimes are being investigated, prosecuted and punished to the fullest extent of the law,” Trump continued.

Trump pledged to protect “security, dignity, and peace.”

“If the Democrat Party wants to stand with anarchists, agitators, rioters, looters, and flag-burners, that is up to them, but I, as your President, will not be a part of it. The Republican Party will remain the voice of the patriotic heroes who keep America Safe,” he said.

11:04 p.m. Trump hits highlights of 2016 campaign promises

Trump hit on several policy areas that were a big feature of his 2016 campaign — supporting American energy independence and withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, standing up to China, renegotiating trade agreements with Canada and Mexico and harsher immigration policies, among others.

And he used the issue of China to bring his remarks back to the pandemic, claiming wins on the U.S. testing system, treatments like convalescent plasma that was recently granted emergency authorization by the FDA, and a low fatality rate in the U.S.

And he specifically pointed to Biden’s approach to the pandemic response as worse for the country, saying it would have caused more deaths without the initial travel ban from China and causing families more harm if there were more shutdowns across the country.

“Instead of following the science, Joe Biden wants to inflict a painful shutdown on the entire country. His shutdown would inflict unthinkable and lasting harm on our nation’s children, families and citizens of all backgrounds,” Trump said.

“The cost of the Biden shutdown would be measured in increased drug overdoses, depression, alcohol addiction, suicides, heart attacks, economic devastation and more. Joe Biden’s plan is not a solution to the virus, but rather a surrender,” he added.

And Trump again brought up the efforts to make a vaccine available in “record time” with Operation Warp Speed, saying “We will have a safe and effective vaccine this year, and together we will crush the virus.”

10:54 p.m. Trump calls Biden ‘destroyer of American greatness’

Trump portrayed Republicans and Democrats as opposed in their view of the “American way of life,” saying Democrats can’t improve the country if they’re intent on criticizing it. He said this election is the most important in the history of the country.

“At no time before have voters faced a clearer choice between two parties, two visions, two philosophies or two agendas. This election will decide whether we SAVE the American Dream, or whether we allow a socialist agenda to DEMOLISH our cherished destiny,” he said.

President Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech for the Republican Party nomination for reelection during the final day of the Republican National Convention at the White House on Aug. 27, 2020, in Washington.
Trump called Joe Biden the “destroyer of American greatness and that he voted against the best interest of blue collar workers while Trump has kept his campaign promises.

“At the Democrat National Convention, Joe Biden and his party repeatedly assailed America as a land of racial, economic and social injustice. So tonight, I ask you a very simple question: How can the Democrat Party ask to lead our country when it spends so much time tearing down our country?” Trump asked.

“In the left’s backward view, they do not see America as the most free, just, and exceptional nation on earth. Instead, they see a wicked nation that must be.”

— ABC News’ Stephanie Ebbs

10:43 p.m. Trump promises vaccine before the end of the year

In addressing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic Trump said the country has been struck by a powerful and invisible enemy, but promised the country would meet the challenge and produce a vaccine before the end of the year.

“We are delivering lifesaving therapies, and will produce a vaccine BEFORE the end of the year, or maybe even sooner! We will defeat the virus, end the pandemic and emerge stronger than ever before,” he said.

Public health experts have raised concerns about politicizing the process of approving and distributing a vaccine, saying any perception that the process was rushed to help Trump in the election could reduce trust and make people reluctant to take the vaccine, even though scientists involved in the process say it has been a completely scientific process.

Experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci have also said that it could take many months after a vaccine is produced before it is made available to most of the public.

— ABC News’ Stephanie Ebbs

10:41 p.m.Trump to visit area impacted by Hurricane Laura

President Trump says he plans to visit areas of Texas and Louisiana impacted by Hurricane Laura this weekend.

“Our thoughts are with the wonderful people who have just come through the wrath of Hurricane Laura. We are working closely with state and local officials in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi — sparing no effort to save lives,” he said at the beginning of his speech.

“While the hurricane was fierce, one of the strongest to make landfall in 150 years, the casualties and damage were far less than thought possible, only 24 hours ago. And this is due to the great work of FEMA, law enforcement and the individual states. I will be going this weekend. And congratulations. Thank you for that great job out there. We really appreciate it.”

Earlier in the day during a visit to FEMA headquarters Trump said he considered delaying the speech until Monday to visit the area.

— ABC News’ Stephanie Ebbs

10:38 p.m. Protesters outside White House chant ‘vote him out’

As the president delivers his acceptance speech at the White House, protesters nearby are chanting “vote him out.”

Fences once again separate the people from The People’s House.

In a summer of unrest — tense clashes between police and demonstrators have become a familiar sight.

But Thursday night some protesters, like Ariana Evans, expressed their exhaustion.

ABC News met the first-time demonstrator in May after the killing of George Floyd while in police custody. On her megaphone, she would step in between violent clashes calling for demonstrations to be peaceful.

She’s protested every day since Floyd’s death — 94 days total.

Now she’s losing hope, no longer pushing for peace.

“They showed us that it doesn’t matter how peaceful you are. Doesn’t matter if you comply. Doesn’t matter. They will shoot you in the back in front of your kids.”

— ABC News’ Rachel Scott

10:31 p.m. Trump accepts the nomination from the GOP

“I profoundly accept this nomination for President of the United States,” Trump said shortly after beginning his remarks.

10:26 p.m. ‘Washington has not changed Donald Trump. Donald Trump has changed Washington:’ Ivanka Trump

Ivanka Trump made an impassioned pitch for her father’s reelection, arguing that he will continue to stick with his ideas as the same candidate who won the election in 2016.

She said he has “strong convictions” and makes his opinions known, even acknowledging that his communication style is “not to everyone’s taste” and that his tweets can “feel a bit unfiltered.”

“But the results, the results speak for themselves. He is so unapologetic about his beliefs that he has caused me and countless Americans to take a hard look at our own convictions and ask ourselves, what do we stand for? What kind of America do we want to leave for our children? I am more certain than ever before we want a future where our kids can believe in American greatness,” she said.

She then delivered a list of what she called the administration’s successes, including the tax cut and reform bill, child care tax credits, reducing the cost of prescription drugs, and criminal justice reform where she said he was able to build bipartisan consensus — the only mention of bipartisanship of the night.

And she referred back to the 2016 campaign and the pitch that Trump is not a typical politician and will now repeat mistakes by past leaders.

“Four years ago, I told you I would fight alongside my father and, four years later, here I am. Many of the issues my father has championed are not historically Republican priorities. Yet, where Washington chooses sides, our president chooses common sense. Where politicians choose party, our president chooses people,” she said.

“For the first time in a long time we have a president who has called out Washington’s hypocrisy, and they hate him for it,” she added.

“Dad, people attack you for being unconventional. But I love you for being real and I respect you for being effective. Our president refuses to surrender his beliefs to score point with the political elite. To my father, you are the elite. You are the only people he cares about scoring points with. If these problems were easy to solve, previous presidents would have done so. But you don’t achieve different results by doing things the same way.”

— ABC News’ Stephanie Ebbs

10:13 p.m. Ivanka Trump introduces her father at the White House

Ivanka Trump is introducing her father to the audience at the White House.

“Tonight I stand before you as the proud daughter of the people’s president,” she said. “He is our commander-in-chief, champion of the American worker, defender of common sense and our voice for the forgotten men and women of this country.”


Ivanka Trump: “Tonight I stand before you as the proud daughter of the people’s president. He is our commander-in-chief, champion of the American worker, defender of common sense and our voice for the forgotten men and women of this country.” #RNC2020

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 28, 2020


10:08 p.m. Republican messages evoke images of violence, similar to 2016 campaign

Analysts at FiveThirtyEight note the parallels between the messages around violence in the RNC and the images of violence referenced by Trump during the 2016 campaign and his inaugural address.

A recent Pew survey found that 59% of Americans say violent crime will be “very important” to their vote — almost the same share as who cite the coronavirus outbreak. So it might not be Americans’ most important problem, but it does seem to be on people’s radar.

And FiveThirtyEight has reported that even crime has actually been on the decline over the last 30 years, even though many Americans believe it has gone up in part because of the rhetoric from politicians.

Shootings and crime are up in New York City and other cities this year but overall crime is down, senior writer Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux notes, adding that it’s too early to know if that’s a long-term trend or an anomaly.

And politics editor Sarah Frostenson notes the focus on crime in New York City and Mayor Bill de Blasio is part of a broader point to attack Democratic mayors, governors and politicians as ineffective.

10:07 p.m Muellers talk about death of their daughter, Trump’s response

Carl and Marsha Mueller described the tragedy of the death of their daughter at the hands of the Islamic state and said they appreciated the president going after ISIS the way he did and the military service members who killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdad.

“Carl and I support Donald Trump because of his commitment to make and keep America great,” said Marsha Mueller, “with the passion of people like Kayla … Americans who don’t just talk, they act. That was our daughter, that’s President Trump.” 


Marsha Mueller: “Carl and I support Donald Trump because of his commitment to make and keep America great … with the passion of people like Kayla … Americans who don’t just talk, they act. That was our daughter, that’s President Trump.” #RNC2020

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 28, 2020


9:54 p.m. Giuliani warns Democrats will ‘do to America’ what they did in New York

Rudy Giuliani, former New York City mayor and personal attorney to the president, asked viewers not to let “Democrats do to America what they have done to New York.”

“These continuous riots in Democratic cities give you a good view of the future under Biden,” he said. “It is clear that a vote for Biden and the Democrats creates the risk that you will bring this lawlessness to your city.”


Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani: “These continuous riots in Democratic cities give you a good view of the future under Biden … it is clear that a vote for Biden and the Democrats creates the risk that you will bring this lawlessness to your city.” #RNC2020

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 28, 2020


9:49 p.m. Ben Carson defends Trump on issues of race

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, the highest ranking African American in the Trump administration, defended the president from accusations that his comments and policies are racist.

Carson said Trump’s policies support economic success for everyone, citing his policies on criminal justice reform, funding for historically black colleges and universities, school choice and programs to bring investment to disadvantaged areas.

“President Trump does not dabble in identity politics. He wants everyone to succeed and believes in the adage “a rising tide lifts all boats.” Many on the other side love to incite division by claiming that president trump is a racist. They could not be more wrong,” he said. 


HUD Sec. Ben Carson: “Many on the other side love to incite division by claiming that Pres. Trump is a racist. They could not be more wrong.”

— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) August 28, 2020


9:45 p.m. Wisconsin politicians react to Trump’s expected comments on Jacob Blake protests

There are very different reactions from political party leaders on the ground in Wisconsin to the news that Trump is expected to address the police shooting and protests in Kenosha.

Wisconsin Republican Chair Andrew Hitt welcomed Trump’s comments, saying federal presence has already been helpful to “bring order to the chaos.”

There have been more than 200 agents and marshals from the FBI, ATF and USMS who have been deployed to Kenosha.

“The inaction of our Democratic governor and attorney general led to Wisconsinites waking up to images of Kenosha burning multiple times this week. President Trump stepped in to help bring order to the chaos and Wisconsinites are grateful,” said Hitt, who will be at the White House the president’s acceptance speech.

Democrats denounced the reaction from Trump, noting that Pence will no longer be speaking at a Wisconsin college commencement and saying Trump’s words will only bring more division.

“Under Trump and Pence’s failed leadership, our country is in the midst of three national crises: the economic recession, a global pandemic, and a social justice crisis that is disproportionately impacting communities of color. His administration has done nothing but sow hate and division, and there is an absolute void of leadership at a time when Wisconsinites need it the most. As the state works to heal, it’s clear why Pence was dis-invited from speaking at Wisconsin Lutheran College’s commencement: the Trump administration is focused on dividing, not uniting,” said Chris Walton, chair of the Milwaukee Dems.

— ABC News’ Cheyenne Haslett

9:39 p.m. Multiple speakers highlight law enforcement

Multiple speakers during the final night of the RNC highlighted President Trump’s support for law enforcement and criminal justice reform, a contrast to the Democrats’ focus on racial justice last week.

Alice Johnson, a 63-year-old woman whose life sentence was commuted by Trump after advocacy from Kim Kardashian West, talked about his support for criminal justice reform through the First Step Act.

“When President Trump heard about me — about the injustice of my story — he saw me as a person. He had compassion. And he acted. Free in body thanks to President Trump. But free in mind thanks to the almighty God,” Johnson said in her remarks.

The RNC also featured an emotional story from Ann Dorn, whose husband David Dorn, a 77-year-old retired police officer, was killed attempting to stop looters from breaking into a pawn shop during protests in St. Louis earlier this summer.

“I re-live that horror in my mind every single day. My hope is that having you re-live it with me now will help shake this country from the nightmare we are witnessing in our cities and bring about positive, peaceful change,” she said.


Ann Dorn, widow of St. Louis police Capt. David Dorn: “Violence and destruction are not legitimate forms of protest. They do not safeguard Black lives. They only destroy them. President Trump understands this.” #RNC2020

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 28, 2020


Dorn went on to say that Trump support providing more resources to law enforcement.

“Violence and destruction are not legitimate forms of protest. They do not safeguard Black lives. They only destroy them. President Trump understands this, (and) has offered federal help to restore order in our communities. In a time when police departments are short on resources and manpower, we need that help,” she said.

And Pat Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association, said law enforcement is “staring down the barrel” of a public safety disaster and criticized Democrats for a lack of support.


Police Benevolent Association Pres. Pat Lynch: “The Democrats have walked away from us. They have walked away from police officers. And they’ve walked away from the innocent people we protect.”

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 28, 2020


“Unlike the Democrats, who froze in the face of rioting and looting, President Trump gives law enforcement the support and tools to put a stop to it — period, end of story.”

— ABC News’ Terrence Smith

9:32 p.m. Ben Carson addresses Blake family

In the first reference to Jacob Blake on Thursday — and the second during the entire RNC — Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said “our hearts go out the Blake family.”

“As Jacob’s mother has urged the country, let’s use our hearts, our love and our intelligence to work together to show the rest of the world how humans are supposed to treat each other.”


HUD Sec. Ben Carson: “Our hearts go out to the Blake family…As Jacob’s mother has urged the country, let’s use our hearts, our love and our intelligence to work together to show the rest of the world how humans are supposed to treat each other.” #RNC2020

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 28, 2020


9:28 p.m. Claims of Trump’s economic wins lack context

Multiple speakers Thursday night praised President Trump for the growth of the U.S. economy and said it was important he stay in office to keep the economy successful.

Dan Scavino, White House deputy chief of staff for communications and director of social media, said, “Just think about what we achieved together with President Trump. The strongest economy in history. The lowest unemployment rate for almost all demographic groups — Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, women, and so many more.”

But the strong performance of the economy under Trump before the coronavirus, was — by many metrics — a continuation of growth that began under President Barack Obama.

Pre-pandemic declines in unemployment that led to record-low levels of African American and Hispanic unemployment under Trump began during the Obama administration.

The same goes for the women’s unemployment rate — which reached a 10-year low under Obama, before dropping under Trump.

The U.S. economy gained about 6.6 million jobs in Trump’s first 36 months in office, after roughly 8.1 million jobs in Obama’s last 36 months.

In January 2017, Trump took office after 75 straight months of jobs growth.

Trump has touted the millions of jobs created since the economy began reopening — including 2.5 million in May, 4.8 million in June, and 1.8 million in July — but the economy, in the midst of the worst crisis since the Great Depression, still has roughly 13 million fewer jobs than it did in February.

After years of steady quarterly GDP growth since the Great Recession, the government reported a 9.5% decline in goods and services produced in the second quarter of 2020 — wiping out nearly five years of growth.

Federal relief efforts have also blunted the impact of the coronavirus on the economy — though negotiations between Democrats and the White House to extend expired small business and unemployment benefits have stalled for weeks.

More than one million Americans filed for unemployment this week, according to the Labor Department. The weekly claims figure has been north of one million nearly every week since March — raising questions about a “V-shaped” recovery predicted by the White House.

— ABC News’ Benjamin Siegel

9:14 p.m. Trump to deliver ‘tough’ speech blasting Biden’s record, campaign aides say

Trump is set to deliver a blistering speech to accept his nomination, targeting Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on a slew of topics including borders, taxes, energy policy, trade, China and crime, according to Trump campaign aides.

The president is expected to blast Biden with familiar lines of attacks including hammering his decades long career in Washington and reiterating his claim that Democrats’ agenda is “the most extreme set of proposals ever put forward by a major party nominee,” according to excerpts from Trump’s RNC acceptance speech.

Trump will lay out “two distinct visions: the president’s vision against Joe Biden’s vision,” Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said, while detailing the “unvarnished Joe Biden record and the unvarnished Joe Biden agenda” and not the “cleansed scrubbed version that we saw during the Democratic National Convention.”

The president will also place a strong emphasis on “jobs and economic recovery and economic excellence” while claiming Biden’s record is one that had “raised taxes will raise taxes again.”

Biden told ABC “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir in an interview which aired Sunday that his administration would impose “no new taxes” to households making under $400,000 a year.

Trump will also mention Hurricane Laura and “ask for God’s blessing” for those in its path and mention the unrest in American cities, the campaign said.

— ABC News’ Will Steakin and Terrance Smith

9:09 p.m. McConnell: Considers it his ‘responsibility to look out for Middle America’

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he considers it his “responsibility to look out for Middle America.”

“I’m immensely proud of the work the Republican Senate has done. We are the firewall against Nancy Pelosi’s agenda.” 


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he considers it his “responsibility to look out for Middle America.”

“I’m immensely proud of the work the Republican Senate has done. We are the firewall against Nancy Pelosi’s agenda.” #RNC2020

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 28, 2020


9:05 p.m. Rep. Jeff Van Drew: ‘The party had moved from liberal to radical’

Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who left the Democratic Party to become a Republican slammed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and members of the so-called “Squad.”

“I was already uncomfortable with a San Francisco liberal running the House,” he said adding that now “the party had moved from liberal to radical.”

“Joe Biden is being told what to do by the radicals running my former party, the same radicals trying to install him as their puppet president,” he continued.


Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who left the Democratic Party to become a Republican: “Joe Biden is being told what to do by the radicals running my former party, the same radicals trying to install him as their puppet president.” #RNC2020

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 28, 2020


8:58 p.m. RNC alludes to protests against police violence, without mentioning victims by name

According to the ABC News’ Political Unit’s count Jacob Blake’s name has been mentioned one time during the Republican National Convention — during the opening prayer on Tuesday night.

Blake is a 29-year-old black man who police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, shot seven times in the back on Sunday, leading to several days of protests calling to end police violence against people of color.

On the second night of the convention Norma Urrabazo, pastor of the International Church of Las Vegas, called for healing to Blake and his family and community.

“Lord, we come before you to ask for your spirit of peace to come over hurting communities in Wisconsin tonight. We pray for healing and comfort to Jacob Blake and his family. We pray for your protection over those who put their lives in harm’s way to bring safety and security to our streets,” Urrabazo said in the opening prayer.

Vice President Mike Pence alluded to protests around Blake’s shooting and George Floyd’s death without mentioning them by name in his acceptance speech on Wednesday night, saying “We will have law and order on the streets of this country for every American of every race and creed and color.”

“The American people know we don’t have to choose between supporting law enforcement and standing with our African-American neighbors to improve the quality of their lives, education, jobs, and safety,” Pence said.

“And from the first days of this administration, we’ve done both. And we will keep supporting law enforcement and keep supporting our African-American and minority communities across this land for four more years.”

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel told ABC News’ Powerhouse Politics podcast that speakers can and should mention Blake, noting that the president has reached out to the family and that a lot of the remarks were pretaped.

— ABC News’ Alisa Wiersema

8:45 p.m. Protesters gather near White House ahead of Trump’s acceptance speech

Protesters have been gathering at Black Lives Matter plaza near the White House ahead of the president’s acceptance speech later tonight.

“The president has a history of being silent when it comes to the shooting and the killing of Black Americans,” ABC News White House correspondent Rachel Scott said on ABC News Live, “and it’s that silence and the lack of action that promotes the outrage that you are seeing.”


“The president has a history of being silent when it comes to the shooting and the killing of Black Americans, and it’s that silence and the lack of action that promotes the outrage that you are seeing,” @rachelvscott reports from protest near White House.

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 28, 2020


8:34 p.m. Jonathan Karl on the convention event at the White House

On ABC News Live, Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl said the set up for a convention event left him, “practically speechless, here. I have been covering the White House on and off for two decades. … Here we have the entire South Lawn of the White House transformed into the hall, the venue, for a national political convention.”


.@jonkarl: “I’m practically speechless, here. I have been covering the White House on and off for two decades … Here we have the entire South Lawn of the White House transformed into the hall, the venue, for a national political convention.” #RNC2020

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 28, 2020


8:23 p.m. DNC to air ad slamming Trump’s leadership during Republican National Convention

The Democratic National Committee plans to counter Trump’s acceptance speech with an ad casting Trump as a failed leader by using his own words during the 2016 convention. It will be overlaid with footage from events during his first term in office, including video from the white supremacist rally that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017.

“Donald Trump’s chaotic leadership and divisive rhetoric has been a disaster for Americans. His failures have led to over 180,000 deaths, left millions unemployed and decimated our economy,” said DNC War Room senior spokesperson Lily Adams. “During his 2016 convention, Trump himself spoke against the same sort of chaos he has caused in our country. It’s clear to Americans that we can’t afford four more years of Trump.”

The minute-long ad will air on television in Washington and is part of a six-figure ad buy over the week.


Four years ago at the Republican convention, Trump promised “safety, prosperity, and peace.”

Instead, he wrecked our economy, failed to respond to the coronavirus crisis, and fanned the flames of hate and violence. #TrumpChaos

— DNC War Room (@DNCWarRoom) August 27, 2020


It starts with the president at the 2016 convention saying, “The most basic duty of government is to defend the lives of its own citizens, any government that fails to do so is unworthy to lead.”

Democrats have tried to counter-program the Republicans’ convention in some way every night.

Projected messages onto the Trump International Hotel by multimedia artist Robin Bell, during the second night of the Republican National Convention in Washington, Aug. 25, 2020.

— ABC News’ Quinn Scanlan

8:18 p.m. COVID-19 protocol for the Trump’s White House remarks: Document

ABC News obtained a document from a RNC source that was sent to some guests invited to the evening’s celebration at the White House. It included details on the coronavirus protocols in place — or lack thereof.

The document made no mention of COVID-19 tests. Instead, it asks guests to stay home if they aren’t feeling well, experiencing symptoms, have recently tested positive for the virus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has.

It says masks are only required at arrival and in security screening areas and encouraged in “high-traffic areas including restrooms and hospitality spaces.” It also says to “practice social distancing whenever possible.”

Upwards of 1,500 people are expected to attend Trump’s speech, sources tell ABC News, and photos show chairs placed on the South Lawn without six-feet of distance recommended by the CDC.

Separately, the Trump campaign sent a statement to the print pool reporter in response to a request for details about COVID-19 protocols, screening, testing and masks.

The statement — from an executive at the company the RNC is working with, Patronus Medical — says that “strict protocols are in full compliance with multiple guidelines set forth by the United States Centers for Disease Control, the District of Columbia Department of Public Health, and other leading authorities on health safety.”

No other details were provided.

— ABC News’ Rachel Scott and Ben Gittleson

7:34 p.m. DHS employees receive Hatch Act warning after acting secretary’s RNC appearance, ahead of White House speech

An internal message sent out to all Department of Homeland Security employees Thursday, which was reviewed by ABC News, reminded them to not engage in “partisan political activity” after acting Secretary Chad Wolf participated in a naturalization ceremony earlier this week that was made part of the RNC’s prime time programming — a potential violation of the Hatch Act.

“We, as a department, are under heightened scrutiny during the presidential election cycle,” the email said. “It is important that we, DHS employees, are familiar with the policies surrounding partisan political activity to make sure we comply with them.”

The message comes as House Democrats have launched an investigation into Secretary of Mike Pompeo’s participation in the RNC while overseas on an official state trip.

— ABC News’ Luke Barr

7:17 p.m. RNC chair said she hopes Blake’s name will be mentioned in final night’s program

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel told ABC News’ “Powerhouse Politics” podcast Thursday that she hoped Blake’s name comes up in convention speeches Thursday night, but she didn’t single out Trump’s speech.

“Of course, we can make mention of Jacob Blake’s name and the president has reached out to the family,” McDaniel told ABC News Political Director Rick Klein and Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl.

Demonstrators rally to protest President Donald Trump’s acceptance of the Republican National Convention nomination at Black Lives Matter plaza across from the White House, Aug. 27, 2020, in Washington.
She said the virtual nature of the speeches, prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, meant some speeches were taped before Blake was in the news.

“I hope that they do tonight. I think a lot of it has been pre-taped … because of the virtual nature of many of the speeches, that wasn’t in the news at the time that some of those speeches were taped. I’m saying right now as party chair we want to see this investigated; we want to see this seen through,” she said on Blake’s shooting.

— ABC News’ Terrance Smith


Thursday’s scheduled speakers include:

  • President Donald Trump
  • Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
  • Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton
  • House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy
  • New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew
  • Ivanka Trump, Trump’s daughter and senior adviser
  • Ja’Ron Smith, deputy assistant to the president
  • Ann Dorn, widow of slain retired police Capt. David Dorn
  • Debbie Flood, president of a Wisconsin manufacturing and steel company
  • Rudy Giuliani, former New York City mayor and Trump’s personal attorney
  • Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse
  • Alice Johnson, criminal justice reform advocate and former federal inmate
  • Carl and Marsha Mueller, parents of American hostage Kayla Mueller, who was killed by ISIS
  • Wade Mayfield
  • Dana White, president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship

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