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The elephant in the room, I have to say, I'm very happy with that title, good title. I liked it. I in case people don't know what the back story there is, the elephant, of course, the symbol, the logo of the Republican Party. It was all over North Carolina this week where I was for the convention and had the elephant in the room. But it was mighty beasts and giant animals of a different kind that got mentioned during the week.
Yeah, because the Loch Ness Monster fanclub who even knew they existed.
Yes. Like the monster itself. And randomly the Loch Ness Monster got mentioned this week by Donald Trump Jr. in his speech when he was talking about Joe Biden saying he is the Loch Ness monster of the swamp. To me, it sounded like an episode of Scooby Doo Doo, Scooby Doo, that cartoon, Joe Biden is basically the Loch Ness monster of the swamp.
For the past half century, he's been lurking around in there. He sticks his head up every now and then to run for president. Then he disappears and doesn't do much in between.
Yeah, because I saw in a paper called the Northern Times in the UK, they found people who took issue with those comments from Donald Trump Jr., the guys from the Loch Ness Monster Fanclub who said that Nesse has been on the go since 565 A.D. and has survived everything thrown her way, including numerous plagues, two world wars. And during that time, she has never hurt anyone. So they said that what Donald Trump Jr has actually done is compliment Joe Biden by comparing him to NECI and.
Well, Brian, that sent me down a rabbit hole of Internet searching.
And they have a website, would you believe, where it seems they have a live stream of the lock and guides to Nessy spotting. Excellent.
I like that we have a new segment on the show, Mythical Creatures. We could do Bigfoot maybe next week. Abominable Snowman. I think we should go and start with your Encino.
From or TV news, this is states of mind, this American carnage being fired up with rubber bullets stops right here and stops right now.
I do not believe we're the dark, angry nation that Donald Trump sees in his tweets in the middle of the night, your US Election 2020 podcast with Brian O'Donovan in Washington and Jackie Fox in Dublin today.
This election will decide whether we will defend the American way of life or whether we will allow a radical movement to completely dismantle and destroy it. You won't be safe in Joe Biden's America.
America is not a racist country. Dad, I love you very much. Leaders and fighters for freedom and liberty and the American Dream. The best is yet to come.
The five F's faith, family feelings, fear and future.
I think that's how the Republican National Convention can be summed up.
But before we go into our five FS, how was it in North Carolina while you were there, Brian? How did the vibe compare to last week at the DNC?
Another freaking hot hosting in North Carolina during the week? Very, very, very hot day. Interesting to see.
We spoke last week about how had met a lot of Democrat supporters in Joe Biden's heartland of Wilmington, Delaware, and kind of a mixed sort of.
Yeah, he'll do. We're going to vote for him. Absolutely. We want Donald Trump out of power. We don't love Joe Biden, but he'll do. When I met Donald Trump supporters in North Carolina this week, it was a very different vibe, far more enthusiastic. They absolutely love him. I went to a campaign event, probably a stretch to call it a rally, because it was a mini rally. It was at a farm produce packaging facility in rural North Carolina around two hours from Charlotte, North Carolina, where the Republican convention was taking place.
As I say, it was a very hot day. All these people to line up in the sun, they then got their temperatures checked for covid. They were then brought through. Donald Trump was then two hours late. He decided to make an impromptu stop at the convention center in Charlotte to thank the Republican delegates for formally nominating him. So we're sitting there in the sweltering sun. He's two hours late. He arrives, he speaks for 20 minutes and leaves.
So it was a long day for those people just to hear him speak for 20 minutes. But they did not mind a bit. They were delighted to see him. They spoke about how they will definitely be backing him, how he has done wonderful things for the country for the last four years. I spoke to a woman called Lendee, Joe Retek. She said that he has the finger on the pulse of America. And, yes, he's outspoken and controversial, but that's a good thing.
He says what's on his mind. He says, what's on my mind? And he speaks for me. There was another guy by the name of Michael Lumis. He was wearing a blue Trump Pence T-shirt, and he praised the president's response to the recent wave of racial unrest and protests. He said that he will keep law and order in America, whereas we have a real crisis with the Democrats. He claimed they were letting the cities burn. And that was one of the big themes of the Republican convention this week, Law and Order.
Donald Trump will clamp down on the lawlessness and the chaos. If you elect Joe Biden, it will be anarchy and a lot of fans there.
That's definitely our sixth F off the podcast.
And we're only a couple of minutes in. But this was a long time coming, especially for North Carolina. It was on, then off again and then on again. So let's go talk to somebody who was on the ground there, Brian, working behind the scenes and see how they got on.
Yeah, it'll be interesting to hear from someone on the ground. My own take on the Charlotte element of this is that, yes, a bit of it happened in Charlotte, but I was struck by how short that bit was. As I mentioned, Donald Trump visited the delegates on the Monday. We were down outside the convention center on the Tuesday and they're already clearing the place out. Jackie, they were removing all the banners, removing all the elephant signs that I spoke about.
The only thing that was left behind when I was there was an elephant branded Republican Party hand sanitizer station, which, of course, I would have stolen as a souvenir, rather it was a little bit large, I'm afraid, to fit in the back of the car.
But that's what struck me, that everything was cleared out very quickly.
It was very much just a one day event in Charlotte. And then all the focus switched to Washington, D.C., where the bulk of the convention speeches were made. But we're going to hear now from somebody who was on the ground in Charlotte and involved in that element of the event. Hey, this is Tim. Hey, Tim, can you hear me? It's Jackie here. Yes. Oh, great. You should be able to hear my colleague Brian O'Donovan as well.
Hi, Tim. Thanks for joining us on the point. I appreciate it. I'm happy to do it.
We're joined now on the line by Tim Wigginton, North Carolina GOP press secretary. So, Tim, you're with the Republican Party. You're in North Carolina. You were involved in this convention in Charlotte. Talk to us about the background here, I suppose. What was it like organizing a convention in this very changed times in this virtual world we now live in?
Yeah, I mean, we were you know, we were originally planning on having the full RNC convention here in Charlotte, and we played a big role in making sure that the RNC came to Charlotte because North Korea is a big, important state for this election cycle. But as you know, as the coronavirus came in, we had to make a lot of adjustments. We were able to do that. So the convention staff was able to, you know, implement a lot of covid safety requirements and make sure everyone got tested.
They have additional safeguards. People are wearing masks. Obviously, I was great undertaking, but I think we were able to pull it off of that success and really show the contrast between the Republicans this election cycle, which are pushing a pro America message against the Democrats pro socialist measures.
I was in Charlotte for the convention and I was commenting earlier that as I passed the convention center, all the signage had been cleared away. Everything had been removed except for the GOP branded hand sanitizing stations, which I wanted to steal one. Unfortunately, they were gone. So maybe you could send one our way. A good a good souvenir, I think. Yeah. I mean, let's talk about that online TV element, if you will. I will say I thought it looked really well.
It was very slickly produced each night. Yeah. It went off without a hitch. Were you guys pleased when you look back on the week that everything went according to plan?
Yeah, I think we were I think it blew away my expectations for what I thought we could do, especially since the Democrats set such a low bar for us to hop over. So I think, you know, I was also really proud to see some North Carolinians being featured in the convention on Wednesday night. You have or Trump, who has deep North Carolina ties. He had Madison Kawthar. He's going to be the youngest member of Congress ever. And they also have Clarence Henderson.
He's a civil rights hero who participated in the civil rights movement in North Carolina during the 1960s. And he was able to go on stage and talk about the great things that President Trump has done for the black community.
What was it like on the ground to, you know, this is a long time coming?
I mean, I think the biggest thing that a lot of people that have, like on the ground in Charlotte is just disappointment. Like, I don't think most people were necessarily nervous because we've gone through we've planned everything out. Security was very tight and very well thought out. We take an additional covid protection measures. I just think most people were disappointed because instead of having your full convention or see all your friends, you get to go out. You get to really enjoy being a Republican.
We have this much more scaled down event and that basically empty city.
What was your highlight of the week? I think the highlight of the week was I've always been a big Mike Pence fan and I really liked it when he was at Fort McHenry speaking. I thought that was a great venue for him to show how the Republican Party stands behind the heroes of America and what's the relevance of that for people who might not know what that is?
Yeah, that's a great point.
So Fort McHenry is the is the fort from Baltimore. So during the War of 1812, the war we don't like to talk about, when the British after they were done burning Washington, D.C., most of the fighter or the American forces that fled to Baltimore and Fort McHenry was the fort where that was able to hold off the British naval engagement.
And that's what inspired the Star Spangled Banner as one of the American sailors saw, the British were attacking the fort, but the Star Spangled Banner was still flying. And now that song became our national anthem. So it's a very historic place for the American people.
To Donald Trump had said after the Democratic convention that it was all doom and gloom and his would be far more positive and optimistic.
But it was pretty doom and gloom, I thought, from Donald Trump as well this week, warning about the anarchy, the chaos, the lawlessness that would come if Joe Biden is elected. Do you think the message was a little bit too negative from the Republicans this week?
I think it's important, first of all, to drive the contrast between what is a Donald Trump administration look like and what is a Joe Biden administration look like.
And I think, Ed, Joe, Joe Biden, it like the president's administration is like we're just trying to keep America American free and prosperous in the Joe Biden administration. He's an empty vessel for socialist forces to take over more anarchy. So I think the president hit the right tone.
I want to be able to show the American people that we have a clear contrast this election cycle between two very different sides.
Can you give us an insight into how much work goes into pushing something like this together?
I mean, we've we. You. Like, I know they're the original, like a normal convention, you have like a six, 50, 70 million dollar budget that goes into just printing on a normal convention.
And you have staff on the ground years ahead planning out every detail, building it out. And that's part of the reason why this whole convention could have happened, Charlotte, and why that stuff was happening in June is that there's a huge build out that's associated with the convention, too. So there's millions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of man hours that go into these conventions.
And my hats off to our convention team because they were able to pull off a convention unlike any other in circumstances that were really challenging.
Did that mean more money? I don't know the answer to that right now. I don't suspect so because you had a lot less logistics to worry about. But I do know that there's a significant economic loss to the city of Charlotte. Instead of having the 200 million economic boost to the city, you have a you know, you have barely an impact at all, like drops in a bucket in an empty bucket.
So, Tim Wigginton, North Carolina GOP press secretary, thank you so much for joining us.
No problem. Thanks, Bob. Take care. Bye bye. Let's go through our five FS now, which can break up the messages and themes of the Republican National Convention for 2020, the first F Bob Woodward put it perfectly in his book about the Trump administration fear.
While this convention was cast as one that was supposed to be of hope and a promise of better days, there was a lot of fear, fear of theft and a socialist state, fear of angry mobs, fear of who will be living next to you, a fear of Joe Biden being elected president of the United States in November.
Yeah, and we heard this from speaker after speaker after speaker, one of the more high profile speakers, Donald Trump Jr., the president's son.
It's almost like this election is shaping up to be church work and school versus rioting, looting and vandalism or in the words of Biden and the Democrats, peaceful protesting Donald Trump.
Junior's girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle also spoke no. She is also a senior member of the Trump campaign team. Her speech absolutely went viral. And one of the most standout moments, I think she was sort of a victim of the fact that she was delivering this speech to an empty room. And that was the reality because of covid-19. It was loud, it was shouting, but she was shouting it into an empty room and she didn't get any response.
President Trump is the leader who will rebuild the promise of America and ensure that every citizen can realize their American dream. Ladies and gentlemen, leaders and fighters for freedom and liberty and the American dream. The best is yet to come.
And Kimberly Guilfoyle, a woman with Irish roots, her dad from a.. That's right.
Her daughters from Ennis County Clare. She referenced that in her speech. She said she was the daughter of an immigrant. And I was thinking about this, the big shout. It reminded me of the dean scream that we spoke about in last week's podcast.
I think this will be a big shouting moment. I was thinking, what could we call this one with a clear route?
Well, there's really only one suggestion, isn't there? But Jerome's remarks and both of you will hear the from. She definitely gave a good roar for the Bonnar anyways, and another person to talk about his Irish roots was Vice President Mike Pence.
The person who shaped my life the most is also with us tonight, my mom, Nancy.
She is the daughter of an Irish immigrant 87 years young.
And he was also another person to project that fear that people will not be safe in Joe Biden's America if he doubled down on the very policies that are leading to what he calls unsafe streets and violence in America's cities.
Joe Biden says that America is systemically racist. And that law enforcement in America. He says, and I quote, an implicit bias. Against minorities. When asked whether he'd support cutting funding to law enforcement, Joe Biden replied, Yes, absolutely. Joe Biden would double down on the very policies that are leading. To violence in America's cities. The hard truth is. You won't be safe in Joe Biden's America. It was a focus on the violence, Brian, rather than the issue at the heart of this race, but that issue of race was treated very differently, not one of fear, but denial that it even exists in the United States.
Yeah, one of the big speakers of the week, Nikki Haley, the former US ambassador to the UN, someone who's seen as a potential possible future candidate for president for the Republican Party in the years to come. She gave a very strong speech and then she touched on the issue of racism. She spoke about her own personal experience being the daughter of Indian immigrants.
America is not a racist country. This is personal for me. I am the proud daughter of Indian immigrants. They came to America and settled in a small southern town. My father wore a turban. My mother wore sorry. I was a brown girl in a black and white world. We faced discrimination and hardship, but my parents never gave in to grievance and hate.
We also had a lot of African-American speakers throughout the course of the four night delegation. I was struck by how many of them there were, and a lot of those African-American speakers spoke about how the fact that they been let down by by the Democratic Party in the past and how they didn't like this assumption that just because you're black, you're going to vote for Joe Biden. And they highlighted achievements of Donald Trump's for the African-American community and they pointed out his criminal justice reform and they pointed out the fact that he has funded historically black colleges.
And this is all with the shooting of Jacob Blak going on in the background, Brian.
Yes. So we had the unrest, racial unrest ramping up again this week. We saw it in the city of Kenosha, Wisconsin. For people who aren't familiar with the back story here, on Sunday, there was a police shooting of a black man, Jacob Blake, that led to days of protests. But then on Tuesday night, two of those protesters were shot dead. The man arrested for it, this sort of 17 year old type of vigilante type young man who they believe was out there armed, protecting businesses.
According to his social media feed, he was obsessed with weapons. He was obsessed with police, and he was also a Donald Trump supporter. So everybody was watching to see how that issue of race would be addressed. And I think what we saw sometimes throughout this convention is, yes, make reference to the racial unrest, but then take the very, very negative elements of it, the rioting, the looting, the burning down of the buildings and showed from that perspective and showed from the perspective of people who were hurt by it.
The business owner whose shop was burned down, the young child that was killed in the crossfire, the police officer that died doing their duty while these protests were going underway. And one of the more powerful speeches we heard was from a woman by the name of Anderson. She is the widow of David Dorn, a retired police captain who died when he was shot by looters during rioting in June.
Looters were ransacking the shop. They shot and killed David in cold blood and then live streamed his execution and his last moments on Earth.
David's grandson was watching the video on Facebook in real time, not realizing he was watching his own grandfather dying on the sidewalk.
Amid the fear. There was a lot of family and feelings, and we're going to group these two together for good reason. Throughout his tenure, Donald Trump is not someone who has actively shown empathy and compassion. Never mind. During the current pandemic, during the DNC, speakers tried to highlight Joe Biden's ability to do that, a leader with compassion and the ability to show his feelings. It was an attempt to show that compassion and character are all on the ballot.
The RNC attempted to challenge that narrative about Donald Trump through his family and other contributors.
Yeah, and usually the family speeches about, oh, dad is warm and caring. Dad is this dad is that we did see a huge amount that Donald Trump Jr. barely referred to his dad at all. He just more talk about policies. And, you know, there was no personal there to other children. Tiffany and Eric Trump did refer to dad and how they missed him and how they loved him and how they wished him well, of course, in the upcoming election.
Dad, let's make Uncle Robert very proud this week. Let's go get another four years. I love you very much. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.
We also had other people speaking about the support of compassionate, nice side of Donald Trump trying to portray him as this warm figure. Congressman Jim Jordan spoke of how Donald Trump had offered sympathies when a relative died. Kayleigh McEnany, actually, the White House press secretary who we used to seeing on the podium every day in the White House press briefing room spoke very personally about how she had undergone a preventative mastectomy and how Donald Trump had called her to offer his support.
As I came out of anesthesia, one of the first calls I received was from Ivanka Trump. As I recovered, my phone rang again. It was President Trump calling to check on me. I was blown away. Here was the leader of the free world caring about my circumstance.
And then, of course, we had the first lady, Melania Trump, delivered a very strong speech, was widely praised by everybody, and again showed herself as the calm half of the relationship and indicated that, yes, my husband may be out there, but that's just who he is.
I'm here because we need my husband to be our president and commander in chief for four more years. He's what is best for our country. We all know Donald Trump makes no secrets about how he feels about things. Total honesty is what we as citizens deserve from our president. Whether you like it or not, you always know what he's thinking. And that is because he's an authentic person who loves this country and its people and wants to continue to make it better.
The future is always a staple of any convention, no matter what political party it is anywhere in the world. It's a chance for the party to show what they will look like if they are in power or they get to stay in power. The first aspect of future is that the future of the Republican Party and that's not in any way clearer because during the conventions this is the time for a party to push forward its ideas, principles and vision. What the Republican Party chose not to have any emotions this year.
Instead, it said it was fully behind Donald Trump's America first agenda.
Yeah, it was the Donald Trump show. It was not the Republican convention. It was the Donald Trump convention. It was all about Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump. No real mentions of the Republican Party. We speak about how it is a chance to showcase the new up and comers. I spoke about it earlier. We had some very strong African-American speakers, in particular guest Senator Tim Scott, senator for the Republican Party, African-American, very strong speaker.
He delivered a good speech, again, seen as a potential rising star within the Republican Party. We mentioned Nikki Haley again, seen as someone that maybe someday Donald Trump Jr often gets spoken about as somebody himself who might run for office someday.
So I suppose we did see the new crop of people coming up, the possible future leaders, but they were all speaking in the realm of Donald Trump. It was very, very much the Donald Trump show, and it was all about him.
Finally, faith, many efforts to solidify the faith vote. I saw one political writer describe moments during the RNC as catnip for white Christians.
Yeah, that's right. We had lots of people speaking about pro-life, anti-abortion activists, lots of references to religion, references to the president pardoning convicted felons. Joe Biden is a Catholic. And he sort of came out on the religion issue during the week saying, you know, Donald Trump doesn't know anything about religion and, you know, Donald Trump doesn't go to church regularly, is not a particularly religious person. But he certainly has latched on to that whole image of religion and the importance of it and that evangelical vote that helped get him elected back in 2016.
He needs it again in 2020. And he was certainly reaching out to that part of his base over the last four nights.
Well, to the man himself and his big speech on Thursday night, he mostly stuck to fear and future.
This election will decide whether we will defend the American way of life or whether we will allow a radical movement. To completely dismantle and destroy it at the Democratic National Convention, Joe Biden and his party repeatedly assailed America as a land of racial, economic and social injustice.
So tonight, I ask you a simple question, how can the Democrat Party ask the lead our country when it spends so much time tearing down our country?
Absolutely. And mostly stuck to the script. My take on the Trump speech, first things first, it was far too long. It went on for 70 minutes, as usual.
Yeah. And it just it got rambling at times. He, as I say, stuck to the script, but that meant he stuck to the autocue. And when Donald Trump reads off the autocue or the teleprompter, sometimes he's reading these words, Jackie, like it's the first time he's seeing them. He's sort of squinting up his eyes. It loses its energy. It loses its fire. Donald Trump wanted this audience and he got an audience. They packed 1500 people into the South Lawn of the White House.
No social distancing, hardly any masks being worn of the White House insisted that teams were there to do screening and to ensure that everything was safe from a Colvard perspective. He got his audience and he wanted his audience because he wanted to be energized and give that rally style speech. But he didn't because he stuck to the script and he read off the autocue. I thought it was lackluster. It lacked energy. But yes, as you say, the main points that he hit on were fear warning about Joe Biden.
And he spoke about how if you back me, you'll be back in the American dream. But that's a dream that Joe Biden is trying to destroy.
If Joe Biden doesn't have the strength to stand up to wild eyed Marxists like Bernie Sanders and his fellow radicals, and there are many there are many, many wish him all the times incredible, actually, then how is he ever going to stand up for you? He's not.
Brian, you mentioned a packed crowd. We can't forget that we're in the middle of a pandemic.
And that's the reason why these conventions in the first place have been mostly online and very different compared to times gone by.
Yeah, absolutely. And there was references to the coronaviruses, Donald Trump's speech. He spoke about his shutting down of borders and travel early. He spoke about the manufacturing of ventilator's. He defended his handling of the coronavirus, insisting that they have done the best job possible. He spoke about how he was hopeful of a vaccine by the end of the year or maybe sooner. He also attacked Joe Biden's plan. Joe Biden spoke last week, you recall, about either plan on day one to tackle the coronavirus.
Donald Trump said that all that plan will involve shutting down the economy again, shutting down America again, which he said would do huge damage to the country. And he said it would be a case of Joe Biden surrendering to the virus.
It doesn't really come into our five F's, but Donald Trump is a TV man. Do you think he pulled off a good show? What do you make at all?
I loved the fireworks spelling out Trump 2020 in the sky.
The fireworks capped off what I thought was a very impressive virtual convention. It looked very slick. It was probably slicker than the Democrats. The Democrats, if you'll recall, had quite a bit of zoom and Skype and that sort of pixilated intensity look to a lot of it. And that was fine, because that's what it was. It was virtual. And they made no apologies about that. Far, far less of that throughout the Trump convention, the Republican convention over the last week, everything was, I thought, shot and high quality cameras.
You had these big booming soundtracks, American flags, Statue of Liberty, White House sweeping camera shots, very impressive, very well put together. Donald Trump, as we know, brought in some of his television producer friends from his apprentice days to help him make this show. And that's what it was. It was a four night TV show, which I have to say of the four nights, that low point was that Trump speech. I thought it was, as I say, far too long, far too rambling, lacking in energy.
The big question now, Jack, is will it move the dial? Will it make a difference? We've spoken to pollsters on this podcast before, and they will tell you that typically after a convention, a candidate will get a bounce. The bounce may not be short, may be short lived. It may not carry them through to Election Day, but they should get a bounce in the polls. The Democrats may be worried by a Reuters poll that came out this week.
Joe Biden did not get a post convention bounce in the polls, despite what was regarded by most as a pretty good convention performance. The gap between Donald Trump and Joe Biden has narrowed a little. Donald Trump would be hoping that he will get this post convention boost for his performance and that would narrow the gap even further.
Well, the man himself has literally just tweeted while you were chatting there, Brian, great ratings and reviews last night. Thank you.
And that's all about the ratings. And actually, interestingly, earlier in the week, the Republican convention had not been getting the same ratings as the Democrats. We've spoken of this before, although I think people can overplay TV ratings in this modern era. A lot of people don't watch television in the traditional way. It's about the online streams and about getting the message out. Does this mean we are officially technically underway with election 2020? Brian, we're going to have to update our montage intro at this stage.
I think we need a new montage, and I think it should include some of the banner raw music. And Kimberly, that would be the best way to do it. Yeah, this is the starting gun has been fired. It is the end of convention season now, which means we have this 10 week run into the election on November 3rd. It feels, of course, like this election campaign has been under way since it became clear Joe Biden was the candidate much, much earlier on this year.
But in theory, technically now was when the election gets underway, Donald Trump already hitting the campaign stage. He hadn't really stopped anyway, but he's ramping up the rallies over the coming days and weeks. And interestingly, Joe Biden has said that from the start of next month, early September, he is going to start doing campaign events as well. So he's got to leave the basement. He's going to come out on a boat and he is going to start some traditional campaigning.
So, yes, it will most definitely start to feel like an election campaign over the coming weeks, as you said before. Game on. Absolutely, Jacki.
Game on chatting next week.