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



Hey, welcome! This is my house. I like it. Let me show you around a little!:



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 TrumpWatchdog confirms State Dept. canceled award for journalist who criticized Trump Ginsburg becomes the first woman to lie in state in the Capitol Rabbi memorializes Ginsburg: Her dissents were 'blueprints for the future' 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 BidenBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Joe Biden should enact critical government reforms if he wins 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 HabermanBiden, Pence cross paths at NYC 9/11 ceremony The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump floats 0M+ in personal spending for reelection bid The Hill's 12:30 Report: Washington reacts to scathing Trump military story MORE, “’Every word’ of the address, Mrs. Trump’s chief of staff, Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamIvana Trump on Melania as first lady: 'She's very quiet, and she really doesn't go to too many places' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump uses White House as campaign backdrop Coronavirus tests not required for all Melania Trump speech attendees: report 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 ObamaObamas are 'most admired' man and woman in world: poll John Legend: Americans may have to think about leaving country if Trump reelected Black stars reimagine 'Friends' to get out the vote MORE’s speech at the Democratic convention eight years earlier.”

Trump broke with precedent in a few ways: “President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Pelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick 'threatens' Affordable Care Act 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 PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoWatchdog confirms State Dept. canceled award for journalist who criticized Trump Trump's push for win with Sudan amps up pressure on Congress  Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize 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 WolfSchiff to subpoena top DHS official, alleges whistleblower deposition is being stonewalled The Hill's 12:30 Report: Ginsburg lies in repose Amnesty International USA calls for halt on Chad Wolf nomination 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 CarlsonWill Chis Wallace's debate topics favor Biden over Trump? Judge tosses Karen McDougal's defamation suit against Tucker Carlson OVERNIGHT ENERGY:  House passes sweeping clean energy bill | Pebble Mine CEO resigns over secretly recorded comments about government officials  | Corporations roll out climate goals amid growing pressure to deliver 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 Frederick TrumpJudge orders Eric Trump to comply with New York AG's subpoena before Election Day Eric Trump uses misleading clip to blast Biden for using teleprompter Melania Trump: Ginsburg's 'spirit will live on in all she has inspired' MORE’s speech is very effective.” (tweet from Politico’s John Bresnahan

During Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulRon Paul hospitalized in Texas The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump previews SCOTUS nominee as 'totally brilliant' Rand Paul says he can't judge 'guilt or innocence' in Breonna Taylor case 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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Begin each convention day with The Hill. Party leaders, pollsters and campaign veterans join our editors daily at 11AM EDT to discuss the political and policy issues shaping our nation and the 2020 campaign — including interviews with Mercedes Schlapp, NRCC Chair Tom EmmerThomas (Tom) Earl EmmerHouse Democrats' campaign arm reserves .6M in ads in competitive districts The Hill's Convention Report: Trump to attack Biden at final night of convention | Speech comes amid hurricane, racial justice protests | Biden accuses Trump of 'rooting' for violence Republicans cast Trump as best choice for women MORE, Michael Steele and more.


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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!