The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump uses White House as campaign backdrop

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The Hill’s 12:30 Report — GOP convention edition: Trump uses White House as campaign backdrop | Blurs lines of governance and campaigning | Convention sights and sounds | ‘Every word’ of Melania speech ‘is from her’ | Pence to speak tonight | Business world braces for blue sweep | Biden’s lack of travel worries some Dems | McDonald's adds spicy McNuggets to menu



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The Republican National Convention featured the White House as a backdrop for much of the evening’s programming, including a pardoning ceremony, a naturalization ceremony and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpOnly Trump can fix vaccine hesitancy among his supporters Trump discussed pardoning Ghislaine Maxwell: book Jill Biden appears on Vogue cover MORE’s headline speech from the newly renovated Rose Garden. 

Why this is so controversial: Via NBC's Shannon Pettypiece, “It is unprecedented in modern politics for the White House to be used as the site of an explicitly political event, with past presidents maintaining some boundaries between the office of the presidency and their re-election bids. Trump has been smashing those norms for months — attacking Democratic rival Joe BidenJoe BidenRussia says 24 diplomats asked by U.S. to leave by September Biden discusses Canadian citizens detained in China with Trudeau Biden administration to keep Trump-era rule of turning away migrants during pandemic MORE from the Rose Garden and playing campaign-style videos in the White House briefing room — but his prime-time convention address will represent the most blatant blurring of the lines yet.”


Melania Trump wrote her own speech: Via The New York Times’s Annie Karni, Katie Rogers and Maggie HabermanMaggie Lindsy HabermanThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Officers give grueling, horrific accounts of Jan. 6 Biden vs. Trump is a compelling contrast for Democrats Schumer bemoans number of Republicans who believe Trump will be reinstated: 'A glaring warning' MORE, “’Every word’ of the address, Mrs. Trump’s chief of staff, Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamJill Biden appears on Vogue cover Kayleigh McEnany joins Fox News as co-host of 'Outnumbered' Melania Trump says she was 'disappointed and disheartened' watching Capitol riots MORE, said, ‘is from her.’” I.e.: Not to repeat her 2016 convention speech where she “ended up borrowing word-for-word phrases and themes from Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaSimone Biles takes herself out of fifth Olympic event Michelle Obama to Simone Biles: 'We are proud of you and we are rooting for you' Obama setting up big bash to celebrate his 60th MORE’s speech at the Democratic convention eight years earlier.”

Trump broke with precedent in a few ways: “President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden administration to keep Trump-era rule of turning away migrants during pandemic On The Money: Biden, Pelosi struggle with end of eviction ban | Trump attorney says he will fight release of tax returns Lack of transatlantic cooperation on trade threatens global climate change goals MORE broke with precedent on the second night of the Republican National Convention, granting a pardon and participating in a naturalization ceremony at the White House in videos that aired Tuesday during the prime-time event. Speeches from Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoNoem to travel to South Carolina for early voting event Poll: Trump leads 2024 GOP primary trailed by Pence, DeSantis Pence v. Biden on China: Competing but consistent visions MORE and first lady Melania Trump also pushed the boundaries of rules surrounding the mix of politics and governance.” Full reasoning: 

How the GOP is seeking to detoxify Trump at the convention: Via The Hill’s Niall Stanage

This was a beautiful setup in the Rose Garden



^ There are seats for around 100 people: According to Bloomberg’s Jordan Fabian

It’s Wednesday. I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.


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But the asymptomatic spr— And testing would tell peop— And … what?:

Via CNN’s Jamie Gumbrecht, Michael Nedelman and Maggie Fox, “In a shift that perplexed some doctors, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] has changed its Covid-19 testing guidelines to say some people without symptoms may not need to be tested, even if they've been in close contact with someone known to have the virus.”

The guideline before: “Previously, the CDC said viral testing was appropriate for people with recent or suspected exposure, even if they were asymptomatic.”  

What the CDC now says on its site: "If you have been in close contact (within 6 feet) of a person with a COVID-19 infection for at least 15 minutes but do not have symptoms, you do not necessarily need a test unless you are a vulnerable individual or your health care provider or State or local public health officials recommend you take one." 

Why the change?: “The CDC did not explain the change, and doctors were puzzled by it.”  

Everything we know


From the speeches:

Melania is spot-on here: “Whether you like it or not, you always know what he’s thinking,” she says of President Trump

First lady Melania Trump on the coronavirus outbreak: “I have been moved by the way Americans come together in such an unfamiliar and often frightening situation.” 

Trump’s son Eric’s message to his father: “I miss working alongside you every single day, but I’m damn proud to be on the front lines of this fight … Dad, let’s make uncle Robert very proud this week. Let’s go get another 4 years. I love you very much.” 

From Trump’s daughter Tiffany: "As a recent graduate, I can relate to so many of you who might be looking for a job. My father built a thriving economy once, and believe me, he will do it again."  

From Larry KudlowLarry KudlowMORE, the White House's top economic adviser: "You know me from TV and radio. I'm Larry Kudlow"


Mike Pompeo’s speech was broadcasted in the Rose Garden: It looks like an outdoor summer movie night! Here’s a photo 

Mike Pompeo posed with a beautiful sunset in Jerusalem before his appearance

Meanwhile outside the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.:




In the middle of the convention: “Trump hosts a naturalization ceremony in the White House conducted by Acting DHS Sec. Chad WolfChad WolfCongress needs to reform the Vacancies Act to keep the business of government on stable footing Trump, on trip with GOP, slams 'sick' state of US-Mexico border Texas Democrats representing border districts slam Trump visit MORE.” Photo 

Fox News did not show the full convention: “It’s night two, and currently CNN and MSNBC are the only networks carrying the RNC. Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonDon Lemon defends Tucker Carlson amid confrontation video Fox News blasts 'ambush' of Carlson at Montana fly-fishing store Psaki says Biden admin 'needs' Fox News in order to fight vaccine misinformation MORE is on Fox doing his show instead.” 

Tidbit about the D.C. venue: “Andrew Mellon Auditorium is named for the man who was Herbert Hoover’s Secretary of the Treasury during the Great Depression.” 

Who’s watching


This makes sense. 

Nick Sandmann’s remarks were staged at the same place as the 2019 incident: At the Lincoln Memorial. Photo:

Only a few are wearing masks:



The full photo 

CNN’s Kate Bennett weighs in on Melania’s outfit: “Should note a sartorial observation:

@FLOTUS is wearing what has become her most recognizable silhouette and color scheme. Reminiscent of a ‘uniform,’ if you will, with squared shoulders, front button pockets, belted waist - and often in colors of olive or taupe.”


An effective strategy: “The ‘forgotten man & woman’ portion of Eric TrumpEric TrumpTrump to Pence on Jan. 6: 'You don't have the courage' Florida city bans gambling amid prospects of Trump-owned casino Lara Trump on Senate bid: 'No for now, not no forever' MORE’s speech is very effective.” (tweet from Politico’s John Bresnahan

During Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulFive things to watch in two Ohio special election primaries Up next in the culture wars: Adding women to the draft The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators MORE’s (R-Ky.) speech last night: “Don Jr. is currently on Fox, effectively counter programming the RNC.”

Interesting point: “Notable tonight at the RNC: How incredibly tailored some of these personal-capacity speakers are to swing races: 

- Lobster (ME-02)

- Dairy (Wisconsin)

- Tribal issues (Arizona, Nevada)”


Broadcasting live from his hometown, it’s Joe:

Via The Hill’s Amie Parnes, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s lack of travel plans are worrying some Democrats. 

“Some Democrats say they’re increasingly nervous watching Trump on the go. Last week, in an effort to counter the Democratic National Convention, the president traveled to Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — the state where Democrats had planned to have their convention. All three states are considered swing states in the presidential race.” 

What ended up happening with Dems: “Democrats held their convention virtually, with only a handful of speakers holding down the fort in Wisconsin. Instead of flying to the Badger State, Biden, 77, accepted the nomination and spoke before an empty room.” 

What could happen

Joe Biden needs a little more to happen than just winning:

Via The Hill’s Alexander Bolton, “To achieve much of his agenda, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will need voters to do more than elect him to the White House. The battle for control of the Senate will play a crucial role in determining whether Democrats can notch major victories early on in a potential Biden administration, from confirming judicial and executive nominees to passing legislative priorities.”


How so, via The Hill’s Niv Elis


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Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 5,788,185 

U.S. death toll: 178,578 

Breakdown of the numbers: 

For context: Three months ago today, 1,646,495 Americans had tested positive for the coronavirus and 97,794 had died. 


Brutal — This tweet has more than 290k likes so far:





The House and Senate are out. President Trump and Vice President Pence are in Washington, D.C. 

12:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump received an intelligence briefing.

3 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with medical professionals to discuss COVID-19. 

10:20 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence speaks at the 2020 Republican National Convention. 


Noon: Democratic leaders held a briefing to rebut the Republican National Convention. Livestream

8:30 p.m. EDT: Night 3 of the Republican National Convention. Tonight’s lineup and livestream


Today is National Cherry Popsicle Day.

Oooh, spicy!:

Starting on Sept. 16, McDonald's is adding two limited-time items to its menu: Spicy Chicken McNuggets and a Chips Ahoy! McFlurry.

And to leave you on a happy note, here’s one of the best dog videos I’ve seen in a while:




I’m not crying! You’re crying!