Melania Trump To Headline 2nd Night Of Republican Convention From Rose Garden

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WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - Republicans opened the second night of their convention with Donald Trump pardoning a reformed bank robber, in a program highlighted by first lady Melania Trump speaking from the Rose Garden after Secretary of State Michael Pompeo delivers a pitch for Trump taped during a taxpayer-financed visit to Jerusalem.  

In the evening’s opening minutes President Trump was to appear from the White House with a prerecorded video of him issuing a pardon, an unbridled presidential power he relishes.  

The pardon went to Jon Ponder, the ex-convict who founded Hope for Prisoners Inc, a nonprofit designed to help former inmates re-enter society.

Ponder appears in the video along with Richard Beasley, the former FBI agent who arrested him and has become a close friend.

Trump has touted his success in enacting criminal-justice reform and blamed Democratic opponent Joe Biden for legislation that increased federal sentencing guidelines.  

Later, Trump will be shown presiding over a prerecorded naturalisation ceremony.

One scheduled speaker, Mary Ann Mendoza, was removed from the lineup after she tweeted a conversation that included references to a Jewish plot to enslave the world. She was to speak about her son, a police officer, who was killed by a drunken driver who was an undocumented immigrant with a criminal record, the campaign said.

In an appearance critics say is politicising US diplomacy, Mr Pompeo will praise Mr Trump for leading “bold initiatives in nearly every corner of the world” to “keep us safe and our freedoms intact,” according to excerpts released in advance by President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign.

The President will make several appearances from the White House as he did on Monday (Aug 24), and two of his children, Mr Eric Trump and Ms Tiffany Trump, will be among speakers saluting the President’s handling of issues including trade and immigration.

With “land of opportunity” as the theme, the convention will spotlight an array of Trump supporters – from a Maine lobsterman to an anti-abortion activist and from the granddaughter of evangelist Billy Graham to the Democratic mayor of Eveleth, Minnesota.

The speakers – including Mr Jason Joyce, the lobster fisherman who will say he didn’t support Mr Trump in 2016 out of skepticism he was a true conservative – plan to say the president kept his campaign promises, strengthened the Supreme Court with his two appointments and put in place policies that have benefited blue-collar workers and farmers, according to excerpts released by the campaign.

Despite promises of an upbeat convention, Monday night’s opening session was dominated by dark images of “radical socialists” taking over the country if Democrat Joe Biden wins the November election and glowing tributes to Mr Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 177,000 Americans.

Mrs Trump is scheduled to close Tuesday’s programme with remarks live from the White House Rose Garden, which was recently renovated in a project she oversaw. The President and a small audience are expected to be there as well.

The Slovenian-born first lady has concentrated on a few favourite issues including her “Be Best” campaign against online bullying among youths, a contrast with her husband’s sharp-edged Twitter attacks. She will also talk about being a mother and why her husband should have another four years in office, her chief of staff, Ms Stephanie Grisham, told reporters on Tuesday.

“It’s very uplifting, it’s very positive, it reflects on her time as first lady, her favourite moments,” Ms Grisham said.

Mrs Trump will seek to avoid the controversy she generated from her speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland because of suggestions that portions were lifted from Mrs Michelle Obama’s address to the Democratic convention in 2008.