A Bizarre Convention

The Republicans are putting on quite a show.

I watched not a minute of the virtual Democratic convention and am on track to tie that record with its ongoing Republican counterpart. Two elections in a row where policy is an afterthought and the only thing that matters is keeping/getting a lunatic out of the Oval Office is a bit much.

Still, just reading the accounts, the two events could not be more different.

The Democrats took advantage of the pre-recorded nature of the event to produce a solid showcase, with appearances from ordinary Americans speeches from the Obamas and nominee Joe Biden that even the hosts of Fox News thought were excellent.

The GOP, by contrast, is doubling down on bizarre, showcasing conspiracy theorists and weirdos. And a President doubling down on corruption, leveraging the tools of his office as political spectacle.

President Donald Trump staged a norm-busting show on the second night of the Republican National Convention, pardoning a convicted bank robber, hosting a naturalization ceremony, and providing a primetime platform to Americans with a history of incendiary social media posts.

Trump also blurred the line between the presidency and electoral politics. First lady Melania Trump delivered her speech from the Rose Garden, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offered a taped message from Jerusalem, an unusually partisan move for the nation’s top diplomat.

Having the sitting Secretary of State participate in a partisan display was unseemly enough. Doing it from a foreign land? And, seriously, a presidential pardon as campaign stunt?

An RNC speaker retweeted an anti-Semitic screed on Tuesday morning, the same day she was slated to take the stage to praise President Donald Trump’s hard-line immigration policies.

A person familiar with the matter confirmed to POLITICO on Tuesday evening that Mary Ann Mendoza was no longer speaking at the RNC.

Mendoza, who was teed up to talk about her police officer son who was killed in a car crash, shared the Twitter messages, writing, “Do yourself a favor and read this thread.” The thread portrays a Jewish cabal set on taking over American government. It includes a link to “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” an infamous fabrication from Tsarist Russia that was popular in Nazi Germany.

On Tuesday evening, an hour before the televised portion of the convention was to begin, the tweet disappeared from Mendoza’s Twitter account. She later wrote on Twitter that she retweeted the thread without reading “every post within the thread.”

“My apologies for not paying attention to the intent of the whole message,” she wrote. “That does not reflect my feelings or personal thoughts whatsoever.”

Sigh.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, Donald Trump, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I watched not a minute of the virtual Democratic convention and am on track to tie that record with its ongoing Republican counterpart.

    You and me both, tho in my case it is simply my base aversion to these types of spectacles to begin with.

    5
  2. sam says:

    David Simon on Twitter:

    I just got up, poured coffee, tried to watch some moments from the national nominating convention of one of the two major American political parties. My god. Leni Riefenstahl and a Netflix production budget couldn’t make that work.

    And re “An RNC speaker retweeted an anti-Semitic screed on Tuesday morning, the same day she was slated to take the stage to praise President Donald Trump’s hard-line immigration policies.”:

    I thought we were only supposed to control all the banks and media. Nobody said shit about slavery. Did I miss a fucking lodge meeting? I did, didn’t I? I’ll bet they had the chocolate rugelach this time, too. Fuck.

    15
  3. Argon says:

    I guess the new normal of the RNC is that no one there is normal. One might say ‘exceptional, in a bad way’.

    5
  4. senyordave says:

    Just think, there is virtually no way that Trump gets less than 43% of Americans to vote for him in November.
    I’ve been wondering lately, is there a world leader less qualified than Trump?

    6
  5. MarkedMan says:

    What kind of a person, politician or voter, wants to align themselves with such a sh*t show? This is the modern Republican Party?

    10
  6. Jen says:

    One of the women who spoke yesterday is apparently an advocate of “head of household” voting.

    I’m not sure what it’s going to take to convince people that the Republican party has well and truly jumped the shark, but to trot that particular ideology out on the 100-year anniversary of women getting the right to vote is really something else.

    18
  7. Monala says:

    @Jen: this same woman said that while her 5yo adopted biracial son is cute now, he’s going to grow up to be a big, intimidating brown man (in contrast to her biological sons, who will grow up to be nerdy white guys). So it will be smart for police to profile him, since he’s statistically more likely to commit crimes than her white sons.

    19
  8. Sleeping Dog says:

    That several observers have mentioned Leni Riefenstahl is all you need to know about today’s R party.

    @Monala:

    …smart for police to profile him, since he’s statistically more likely to commit crimes than her white sons.

    The sad thing is that her attitude toward the child will damage him to the extent that it increases the odds that he does have behavioral issues later in life. Some one should file a child endangerment complaint against her.

    16
  9. CSK says:

    A reaction to the Republican convention to one of the members of Cult45 over at Lucianne.com:

    “Finally something to look forward to on tv! What a great and informative convention this is…beautiful people telling the truth! We have a wonderful president (and family) and must give him four more years…”

    All the reactions are similar.

    6
  10. EddieInCA says:

    When half the Prime Time speakers have the last name of Trump, it’s all you need to know about the current GOP. WTF is Tiffany Trump doing giving a national speech? Seriously! WTF??

    13
  11. Bill says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    You and me both, tho in my case it is simply my base aversion to these types of spectacles to begin with.

    The last convention I was watched was in 1984. In 1988 I was overseas. By 1992 I had been married almost 3 years and the wish to stay up in order to watch preordained events was next to nil.

    1
  12. CSK says:

    @EddieInCA:
    Well, given that Trump has to scrape the bottom of the barrel to get anyone halfway human willing to speak, what did you expect?

    Has Tiffany lost any weight? I had read that Trump was embarrassed to be photographed with her because she’d gotten heavy. Given that he’s morbidly obese, I can only laugh sourly.

    5
  13. KM says:

    @Jen:
    Well, it looks like the wimminfolk aren’t buying the whole comin’-for-suburbia BS he’s been peddling so they need to advocate something to keep them in-line. What better then a “Christian” method to let them not worry their pretty lil’ heads about things like voting for a pandemic-promoting POTUS that might get their family killed? Just let the man decide – that way, when he picks Trump and it all goes to hell, it’s not your fault!

    Meanwhile the only one who seems to get things aren’t going great is Donald Trump Jr . When he’s the “bright” one picking up on these dumb ideas and conspiracy theories are gonna cost them, well…..

    3
  14. Teve says:

    @Monala:

    @Jen: this same woman said that while her 5yo adopted biracial son is cute now, he’s going to grow up to be a big, intimidating brown man (in contrast to her biological sons, who will grow up to be nerdy white guys). So it will be smart for police to profile him, since he’s statistically more likely to commit crimes than her white sons.

    That was the moment when two large men, one on each side, should have hooked an elbow under her armpit and swiftly maneuvered her from the premises

    7
  15. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    I would have paid to watch that.

    2
  16. Christopher Osborne says:

    How about Pam Bondi skewering Biden for nepotism…? They just have no bottom.

    11
  17. Kathy says:

    I don’t usually watch the conventions, but I had the TV playing CNN last week when the Democratic convention was on.

    This week, I’m making damn sure not to tune CNN at all. If I wanted to watch a host of fringe morons praise the bigger moron while whitewashing his misdeeds, there’d be something terribly wrong with me.

    1
  18. Teve says:

    @Christopher Osborne: there’s a great image of i think cnn with Bondi ”decrying nepotism” and at the bottom of the screen ‘next up Melania Trump coming up Eric Trump later Tiffany Trump’ 😀

    6
  19. CSK says:

    I just watched about 60 second of Melania’s speech. Is it me, or has her accent gotten even heavier? She speaks publicly so infrequently it’s hard to tell. In any event, she probably doesn’t get much practice with English. I doubt she speaks any more to her husband than absolutely necessary, and probably speaks Slovenian with her parents and son. Barron is said to be fluent in it.

    5
  20. CSK says:

    And why did she wear a quasi-military uniform jacket?

    3
  21. Scott F. says:

    Regarding apparent violations of the Hatch Act:

    Meadows said. “We take it on well beyond the original intent of the Hatch Act. Nobody outside of the Beltway really cares. They expect that Donald Trump is going to promote Republican values and they would expect that Barack Obama, when he was in office, that he would do the same for Democrats,” he continued. “So listen, this is a lot of hoopla that’s being made about things, mainly because the convention has been so unbelievably successful.”

    Today’s lesson in Above the Law from the Chief of Staff of the White House. “Nobody outside of this appliance store really cares if I walk away with this TV. People would expect that I would want to watch TV and they would expect to watch TV themselves.”

    Tell me again how decent grass roots Republicans can associate themselves by vote with endemic lawlessness and still be considered reasonable, decent people?

    10
  22. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK:

    Has Tiffany lost any weight?

    Your question piqued my curiosity enough to watch about a minute of her speech (bringing my convention watching total to almost 5 minutes this year). In answer to your query, it doesn’t seem to me that she has, and I’m not qualified to comment at all about whether she should or needs to.

    @CSK: Because her handlers at the RNC have no fashion sense whatsoever, and since this is politics, she has neither the power nor the desire to overrule their judgements?

    2
  23. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    If she hasn’t, I’m surprised her father permitted her to take the stage, given what he said about her. She was extremely fortunate to have been raised 3000 miles away from him.

    She should maintain that distance.

    3
  24. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:

    I was surprised to read that Tiff did take part it this charade. She’s avoided the circus to this point with her mother sitting behind her with that Cheshire cat smile.

    3
  25. senyordave says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I was surprised to read that Tiff did take part it this charade.

    Most people have a price. I guess they found hers.

    2
  26. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Yes; I was a bit disappointed that she’d speak at the convention. Maybe, like Melania, she charges for everything she does on his behalf.

    1
  27. flat earth luddite says:

    having watched a few clips (and noted the striking similarity to the Evil Overlord in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and being generally gobsmacked, I looked for overseas opinions. I can’t get past the Telegraph’s wall this morning for some reason, but I’m enjoying the snark from Marina Hyde at The Guardian

    After all, nothing says “hope” like being asked to believe in a second Trump administration by a man whose beard can’t even make you believe in his jawline.

    or

    Though it never achieved the heights of basic coherence, Don Jr’s speech rose to an aspirational passage about Americans’ desire for “a perfect family”. And you know, his own family really is a fairytale. Grimm.

    Obviously she paid way more attention then I could. I took one look at Don Jr. looking like a frat boy trying to explain the toilet in the front yard of the house that I had to turn off and find MMPR reruns.

    2
  28. flat earth luddite says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Oh lord, go on, take the money and run, yeah (yeah)
    Hoo-hoo-hoo, go on, take the money and run, oh lord

    Only reason I can think of for her being there. OTOH, at least she doesn’t have to worry about Big Orangeade humping her leg on live tv.

  29. flat earth luddite says:

    @CSK:
    Was I the only one who heard Madonna singing “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” playing in the background?

    3
  30. CSK says:

    @flat earth luddite:
    A little number by the dancers from “Springtime for Hitler” would have been a nice touch.

    4
  31. flat earth luddite says:

    @CSK:
    Well, she DID clear out the Rose Garden runway for just such a number, didn’t she?

  32. CSK says:

    @flat earth luddite:
    Why, yes. Yes, she did. I think that kickline would have been just lovely prancing around behind her, don’t you?

    2
  33. Monala says:

    @Teve: she didn’t make those comments during the RNC, but in an earlier video.

    2
  34. Sleeping Dog says:

    @senyordave:
    @CSK:

    My guess is that she was told that she’d be written out of his will if she refused to read the speech they gave her.

    1
  35. senyordave says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Is it possible to have a will where the benificiaries owe money? if Trump loses and loans start coming due i wonder what his actual financial positions will be?

    1
  36. wr says:

    What struck me about Eric’s speech was that he recited quote after quote from Reagan about how your freedom will be taken away from you, but never bothered to mention that this all came from this recorded speech explaining how America would fall to Communism if congress passed… Medicare.

    7
  37. Kathy says:

    @senyordave:

    I don’t think so. as far as I know, you don’t have to take in any money, property, or other bequests made in a will, so surely not any debts passed on to you.

    You can inherit a debt if you were part of it, say in partnership, or if you guaranteed a loan or co-signed it, I suppose.

    Now, bank loans, excluding credit cards, I’ve taken include a life insurance policy, to pay the bank in case the borrower dies before they are paid up. This strikes me as sensible.

    I suppose if you die with debt, the creditors can sue the estate to recover what they’re owed, or the heirs if the estate has been parceled out already. At least such things would make logical sense.

  38. al Ameda says:

    I tuned in just in time for the first few minutes of Melania’s hostage speech.
    So, what stood out?
    She was wearing a Russian Military uniform for god’s sake.

    3
  39. Lynn says:

    And we learned that Guilfoyle is first-generation American as her mother is an immigrant from Puerto Rico.

    4
  40. Mister Bluster says:

    @Lynn:..And we learned that Guilfoyle is first-generation American as her mother is an immigrant from Puerto Rico.
    I must have missed something.
    Who said that???

  41. flat earth luddite says:

    second response also marked as spam, we’ll see if this one works:

    I’m afraid she did, her own self:

    As a first-generation American, I know how dangerous their Socialist agenda is. My mother, Mercedes, was a special education teacher from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

    Yep, apparently she wasn’t paying attention in K-12, university, OR law school when the topic of what the 50 states and U.S. Territories that make up this nation are. Sigh. Ah well, ignorance IS bliss.

    4
  42. Sleeping Dog says:

    @senyordave:

    Any debt of a deceased would pass to the estate, the claimant could sue the estate, but needs to act before the estate clears probate and any assets are disbursed. Not sure how things like trusts and assignment of beneficiaries are effected.

  43. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @senyordave: I was going to ask something similar. That’s what I get for being gone all day. 🙁

    Though I suppose that the threat to cut Tiffany out of the will might have more force considering that she doesn’t live with/near the family and may have no idea how leveraged up he is, unlike Don, Jr., Ivanka, and Eric who must know (well… maybe Eric doesn’t, possibly Don, Jr., but Ivanka seems both smarter and more aware than the other two–I’m sure she knows).

  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: I was the personal representative of my mom’s estate. I had to pay any outstanding claims (or show that they should be dismissed) before ANYONE got anything as an heir.

    ETA: Usually, creditors do not have to sue to get paid as they are first in line and the representative of the estate has to show that they were either paid or that the estate ran out of money (an odds on bet regarding Trump’s estate, IMHO).