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What to expect as Trump accepts GOP nomination — from the White House

The Republican National Convention concludes Thursday night with President Trump accepting his party’s nomination for a second term. In an unprecedented move, his speech will take place at the White House -- usually kept separate from political campaigning. Meanwhile, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris made their own vocal appearances. Yamiche Alcindor and Lisa Desjardins join Judy Woodruff to discuss.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    Here now to help us understand all of this ahead of the president's speech tonight, our Yamiche Alcindor, joining us from the White House, and our Lisa Desjardins.

    Hello to both of you.

    Yamiche, let me start with you. We heard in Amna's report the emphasis last night on law and order, President Trump speaking about it again today.

    What are you learning about the impact that may be having on his prospects for reelection?

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Well, the president came out and the White House came out pretty strongly against protests, both the protests that we're seeing play out on the streets with everyday Americans, as well as the protests carried out by athletes in tennis and baseball and, of course, in the NBA.

    You heard a number of White House officials really come out against that protest. A couple of people spoke out. There was Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law.

    Also, Marc Short, the vice president's chief of staff, he called by the protest by the NBA absurd and silly. Kellyanne Conway came out and said that the chaos and anarchy and violence that we're seeing will be working to President Trump's benefit, saying that, really, it will make the distinction between President Trump and Joe Biden clear.

    And, as a result, we heard Joe Biden, of course, say that President Trump is now rooting for more violence, not less violence. And because of that, we really want to look at the political implications of all of this.

    To do that, I want to pull up a poll that was conducted by Marquette Law School. It found that there was a drop in approval rating for Black Lives Matter among independents in particular in Wisconsin. This was a poll that was conducted after George Floyd's death, but before Jacob Blake's death.

    It found that, in June, 63 percent of independents in Wisconsin approved of the Black Lives Matter protests. In August, only 48 percent of independents approved.

    So, interestingly, we also saw a drop in approval rating among Democrats and among Republicans. So, what it — what that tells us is, that as these protests continue, as we see, of course, peaceful protesting, but also, apart from that, looting and violence, people's opinions of the protests are definitely starting to change, with most people starting to drop their approval rating for these protests.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    So, Lisa, we also heard from the Democratic ticket today, as we just heard Joe Biden, Kamala Harris.

    We know you were there in person for her remarks, and we know that she did speak about the coronavirus.

    What can you tell us about what she said, though, about this set of issues, about the racial unrest, about Kenosha?

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Her remarks were sharp and very intentional on this subject.

    Talking to the Biden campaign, they say they always had planned for Kamala Harris to come out with a strong and clear prebuttal to the president. They say they expect the president to tell lies about their campaign tonight. They wanted Harris to come out first.

    But it's clear that, in the last couple of days, they have moved to more talking about this particular issue. Judy, she repeated again and again that Jacob Blake — she repeated twice that Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times. Shot in the back seven times, she repeated.

    She's stressed he's still fighting for his life. It shouldn't be that way. And then she broadened this theme, Judy, saying things like, it's clear the reality is that the life of a black person in this America — in America has never been treated as fully human.

    She also went on to say — to address Republicans' challenge to them. She said, we do not confuse violence looting with peaceful protests. She says, that's what Republicans are doing, not Democrats.

    And, instead, she called on America to act now when it comes to racial injustice. She also said it's a reality that Republicans are ignoring. In fact, she said Republicans are ignoring the very name of people mistreated, including Jacob Blake.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    So, Lisa, staying with you, we see the Trump campaign bringing up policing and the Biden ticket's position that.

    What are you seeing about what the Trump camp is saying and how the Biden people, the Biden campaign is responding?

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Right.

    This is important too, because while we knew that we were going to hear from Kamala Harris today, we did not know that the vice — that Vice President Joe Biden was going to be speaking as well.

    He went on several cable television outlets for lengthy interviews, talking a lot about this topic. And it seemed like he was really defending his record on this issue.

    Let's look at a particular kind of fact-check in context about something that Vice President Pence said last night during the — during his speech.

    Pence said yesterday — he asked whether he'd support cutting funding to police. Biden replied, "Yes, absolutely." Those were Pence's words last night.

    But in, fact, Judy, when you look at what Biden has said, Biden, just this past Sunday, said: "I don't want to defund police departments. I think they need more help."

    Biden has said that he thinks some money could be shifted to other things, for example, mental health programs. But he has never said that he wants to cut overall police funding.

    And, instead, today, he also went on the air and said that he has denounced violence, and he does think that there are community solutions. He's long been for community policing, is what Biden said today.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    All right, finally and just quickly back to Yamiche.

    Yamiche, tell us a little about what we should expect to hear from the president tonight.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Well, first, I want to set the scene.

    The White House has really been transformed into a campaign rally site on the South Lawn, where I'm standing. The lines have never been more blurred between the White House and the Trump campaign.

    The president is expected to speak between — before between 1,000 and 1,500 people. I was not COVID-tested before I came out here. It's unclear whether or not the people who are gathering who are going to be sitting very close together, whether or not they have been tested. There's no mask mandate.

    And I want to also pull up the fact that the president is going to be really delivering some harsh words toward Joe Biden. I want to pull up some of the parts of the speech that we now know of.

    He's expected to say: "At no time before have voters faced a clearer choice between two parties, two visions, two philosophies or two agendas."

    He will also say: "We have spent the last four years reversing the damage Joe Biden inflicted over the last 47 years."

    Also, the president is expected to announce a deal for rapid COVID-19 testing. It's supposed to be a $750 million deal for 150 million tests to go out across the country.

    The president is hoping that that announcement will really give life to the idea that he is trying his best to really protect Americans from this pandemic.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Yamiche Alcindor, Lisa Desjardins, we will be talking to both of you throughout the night.

    Thank you.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Thanks.

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