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First night of Democratic convention to feature group of Republican speakers

The first night of the Democratic National Convention will feature several Republican speakers. 

Former New Jersey Gov. Christine Whitman and former Rep. Susan Molinari (N.Y.) are among the speakers scheduled Monday evening as part of Democrats’ virtual programming, organizers announced. 

Meg Whitman, the former CEO of Hewlett Packard, will also speak during the programming, as will former Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), whom the DNC had previously announced as a speaker.

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The Republicans will appear on the first night of the convention, crossing party lines to back presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenAzar in departure letter says Capitol riot threatens to 'tarnish' administration's accomplishments House Democrats introduce measures to oppose Trump's bomb sale to Saudis On The Money: Retail sales drop in latest sign of weakening economy | Fast-food workers strike for minimum wage | US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits MORE in his bid to push President TrumpDonald TrumpCIA chief threatened to resign over push to install Trump loyalist as deputy: report Azar in departure letter says Capitol riot threatens to 'tarnish' administration's accomplishments Justice Dept. argues Trump should get immunity from rape accuser's lawsuit MORE out of office. 

Christine Whitman has long criticized Trump, at one point last year comparing him to Adolf Hitler in a since-deleted tweet. 

Kasich has defended his decision to speak at the Democratic convention. While he openly did not support Trump in 2016, he did not go so far as to back Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMillennials and the great reckoning on race Biden chooses Amanda Gorman as youngest known inaugural poet Can Biden encompass the opposition he embodied? MORE. He recently told CNN he decided to speak at the convention this year after watching Trump serve as a “divider” in office for the last 3 1/2 years. 

As Democrats look to boost Biden with the convention, Trump has events scheduled in several battleground states this week, including Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Arizona.

--This report was updated at 1:40 p.m.