By LIBBY CATHEY, ABC News
(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — The Republican National Convention concludes Thursday and the fall campaign season officially kicks off when President Donald Trump formally accepts the GOP nomination for a second term as president in a speech he will deliver from the White House West Lawn.
A fireworks display is expected to light up the sky above the Washington Monument at the conclusion of his remarks.
Senior adviser Ivanka Trump will introduce her father on the final night of what’s become a norms-busting political convention, which has showcased the pageantry of the presidency in unprecedented ways and transformed the White House into a backdrop for Trump’s campaign — despite some of the proceedings appearing to violate ethics laws.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton and the president’s personal attorney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani are also expected to speak Thursday.
In addition, convention watchers will hear from the parents of humanitarian aid worker Kayla Mueller, who was killed by the Islamic State while a hostage, and Alice Johnson, a woman who was serving a life sentence in federal prison until Trump commuted her sentence — an effort in part pushed by Kim Kardashian West.
Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will face Democratic nominees Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the general election on Nov. 3, though some Americans are expecting to receive their ballots as early as next week.
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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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