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The Hill’s Convention Report: GOP convention heads into second night | How Night One was received | NRCC chair predicts GOP will flip the House

Welcome to The Hill’s Convention Report, your daily rundown on all the latest news during the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. Did someone forward this to you? Click here to subscribe.

We’re Julia Manchester, Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley. Here’s what we’re watching today on the convention front. 

LEADING THE DAY: 

Republicans are gearing up for Night Two of the Republican National Convention with President Trump’s family stepping into the spotlight after the gathering kicked-off with dark warnings about what the U.S. would look like under Democratic control from Monday night’s speakers. 

Here’s who’s on tap for this evening: 

  • First lady Melania Trump
  • Eric Trump
  • Tiffany Trump
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
  • Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul
  • Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi 
  • Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez 
  • Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron 
  • Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer 
  • Covington Catholic High School graduate Nicholas Sandmann
  • Mary Ann Mendoza, whose son was killed by an undocumented immigrant who was driving drunk 
  • Anti-abortion rights activist Abby Johnson 
  • Maine lobsterman Jason Joyce 

The first night of programming got mixed reviews from GOP lawmakers, who argued the tone was too dark and lacked policy focus. 

Tonight’s speakers could home in on more personal ways to make the case for reelecting Trump. 

Melania, Eric and Tiffany Trump have the opportunity to showcase a more intimate side of the president, one that is more paternal and personal. A number of tonight’s speakers are also women, a sign the party is looking to reverse Trump’s poor poll numbers of with women voters — in particular, white, suburban women. 

But it’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech that is falling under the most scrutiny in the lead-up to tonight’s program. 

Pompeo will be giving his address from Jerusalem, where he traveled to as part of a diplomatic trip, prompting Democrats and critics to say he’s using an official trip to make a political statement. 

A House Democrat announced Tuesday that he is launching an investigation, raising concerns that the move is an illegal violation of the Hatch Act and a breach of State Department regulations. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs panel’s subcommittee on oversight and investigations, raised his concerns in a letter to Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun.

Critics have also accused Pompeo of exploiting the city, which is central to three of the world’s largest faiths, for political gain. 

“Secretary Pompeo’s decision to address the Republican Convention from Jerusalem isn’t just an abuse of taxpayer dollars, it undermines the critical work being done by the State Department,” said Kate Bedingfield, deputy campaign manager and communications director for Biden’s campaign.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is also hitting Pompeo, calling the move “appalling.”

“We have not seen this by anyone, as you have said, as records show, Democratic or Republican, who would have the secretary of state engaged, and, as the secretary himself cautioned employees at the State Department, that they should not be engaged in any partisan activities, because they work for the State Department,” Pelosi told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell. 

The State Department said Pompeo was delivering remarks in his personal capacity and that no department resources would be used in the process.

The Hill’s Laura Kelly has more on Pompeo’s upcoming address. 

 

Republicans weigh in on Night One: GOP lawmakers and strategists are hoping to see more substance at the convention on Tuesday night, arguing that Trump and his allies need to lay out a more cohesive vision for a second term in office rather. 

“The lack of a clear platform is disconcerting,” one GOP lawmaker told The Hill’s Scott Wong and Juliegrace Brufke. “What do Republicans stand for and believe — not just DJT!”

The first night of the convention wasn’t all bad, some Republicans said, pointing to speeches from former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), which took a more conciliatory tone and sought to highlight diversity within the party. But there’s still a general sense that Trump needs to expand his base and simply stoking the grievances of his most loyal supporters won’t cut it.

“We’ve seen that the Trump base has been largely at 42, 44 percent of approval ratings for the president; he hasn’t moved. So he needs to reach in to that a little bit,” said Ron Bonjean, a former veteran spokesperson on Capitol Hill. “There needs to be a little bit more there for President Trump to bring it across the finish line.”

“And by contrasting Joe Biden as somebody that is, you know, that is part of the failed, tired policies that have not solved their country’s problems,” he added, “I think it’s gonna go a long way.”

Scott and Juliegrace have more on how the first night of the convention was received by Republicans here.

RATINGS: 

The first night of the GOP convention drew 15.9 million viewers, fewer than the 18.7 million who tuned in for the first night of the Democratic convention. 

RACE FOR THE HOUSE:

Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, told The Hill’s Bob Cusack on Tuesday that the GOP will take back the House in November, despite polls and political handicappers suggesting the House majority will remain safely in Democratic hands.

Emmer said Democrats are going to lose because they have “failed to keep the promises they made to votes in 2018” when they won the House majority.

“They’ve done none of the things that they promised to do — this time, rather than just run on a resume, run on a biography, they have to run on their record,” Emmer said. “That record is not good and they are going to lose their majority because of it.”

Elsewhere, The Hill’s Jonathan Easley went to Trump International Hotel to interview Donald Trump Jr., who is putting his political muscle behind an effort to elect the next generation of anti-establishment conservatives. Trump Jr. believes his father needs “new blood” in the House willing to defend him from Democratic attacks and take on the news media. Read about the candidates he’s backing HERE.

CONDEMNING QANON

Two lawmakers are asking Congress to formally condemn the QAnon conspiracy at a time when several GOP congressional candidates have voiced support for the theory. 

The resolution from Reps. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.) and Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.) outlines several examples of criminal activity and violence tied to supporters of the conspiracy theory, which holds that Trump is working to expose a cabal of elites who control U.S. politics and run child trafficking rings. The FBI has already identified the QAnon community as a potential domestic terrorist threat.

While several GOP lawmakers have already come out against QAnon — including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (D-Wyo.) — the conspiracy theory has been boosted by a few Republican congressional candidates, mostly notably Marjorie Taylor Green, who’s running to represent Georgia’s 14th District and is virtually guaranteed to win the seat in November.

The Hill’s Juliegrace Brufke and Chris Mills Rodrigo have more on the resolution here

Tags 2020 conventions 2020 elections 2020 republican convention Bob Cusack Campaign Report Denver Riggleman Donald Trump Eric Trump Joaquin Castro Joe Biden Liz Cheney Melania Trump Mike Pompeo Nancy Pelosi Nikki Haley Rand Paul Tim Scott Tom Emmer Tom Malinowski

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