Day 2 of the Greatest Reality Show on Earth didn’t disappoint. From start to finish, Donald Trump’s convention team once again unveiled a smart program that skillfully stitched together people, policies and politics.
Every good convention needs to tell a story and the Trumpers know what their story is and how they want to tell it. They have segued smoothly from offense to defense, using both the president’s record and even his rough-around-the-edges personality to great effect.
The script is guided by an upbeat, optimistic, America-First spirit. There are lots of mentions of faith in God and patriotism and frequent broadsides against Joe Biden, his party and policies.
Although the conclusion of the story is inevitable — that Trump’s policies are the right policies and that he is the right man for these troubled times — it’s how you get there that makes the story a success or not. Each night so far has been nearly flawless in getting to the desired destination.
Trump, of course, is the star of the show, but he could overwhelm it if he were always on camera. Instead, other people sing his praises, including First Lady Melania Trump, who delivered a strong performance to close out Tuesday. She expressed sympathy for the death and suffering caused by the coronavirus and assured the nation that her husband would not rest until treatment and a vaccine were available to all.
Her testimonial of Trump’s tireless work habits, his passion and “heart for America” erase forever the scurrilous rumors that somehow she is a secret dissenter. She’s with him, believes in him and wants four more years for him to finish what he has started.
She further proved by taking several shots at the media for its biased coverage. “We need him more than ever,” she concluded.
Over the two nights, the president has appeared in four main segments, and they are similar in that they are intimate affairs with a handful of Americans.
On Monday, he met with six hostages his administration had rescued and seven workers celebrated for their roles in the pandemic.
Tuesday’s first segment of the kind involved a former bank robber-turned inspiration for helping prisoners restart their lives and the former FBI agent who arrested him and became a best friend.
Their heartwarming stories told, Trump surprised the former inmate, Jon Ponder, by pardoning him on the spot. He pulled out the official order and signed it as Ponder fought back tears. It was an only-in-Donald Trump’s- America moment.
Later, the president helped preside over a naturalization ceremony held in the White House, where he welcomed five new citizens to what he called “The greatest nation on the face of God’s earth.” He then took pictures with each of the five as they held their citizenship certificates and small American flags.
These events are carefully designed to showcase a policy, a feature of the president that may or may not be well known or to counter a negative public perception of him.
Thus, the welcoming of the new citizens aimed to counter the left’s mantra that he is anti-immigrant. It didn’t hurt that two of the five were from Africa and likely Muslims.
Similarly, his pardon of the former bank robber was a reminder of Trump’s Second Chance Act, a prison reform bill that even congressional Democrats were proud to support. It is one of the president’s proudest accomplishments and we will likely hear more about it because the whole idea counters the argument that he is mean and a racist.
To that point, black Americans once again played prominent roles in several of the sequences. In terms of politics, Daniel Cameron, the first black attorney general in Kentucky, gave a stirring defense of Trump and the Republican party and laced into Joe Biden.
Recounting some of Biden’s racial controversies, including one where he said a black radio host “ain’t black” if he was considering voting for Trump, Cameron declared to Biden: “Look at me — you can’t tell me how to vote based on the color of my skin.”
Another star was Nicholas Sandmann, the high schooler defamed for wearing his MAGA hat near the Lincoln Memorial after a pro-life march. He’s settled lawsuits with the Washington Post and CNN, and others are outstanding.
Sandmann gave a smart statement, on tape, recounting the fact and saying he realized that he had been “canceled” by the media. “I would not be canceled,” he vowed and concluded his remarks by putting on a MAGA hat.
It was that kind of night.