WHAT TO WATCH: Melania, Pompeo and Trump at GOP convention

Donald Trump Jr., speaks as he tapes his speech for the first day of the Republican National Convention from the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) (Susan Walsh, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

LAS VEGAS – Tuesday's program at the Republican National Convention is likely to wade into familiar waters, with a lineup expected to speak on divisive issues like abortion and “cancel culture,” while lambasting Democratic rival Joe Biden and the Democrats' progressive wing.

Unlike Democrats, who shifted their convention to an all-virtual affair, Republicans kept a scaled-down, in-person gathering in Charlotte, North Carolina. Several hundred delegates gathered there Monday voted to renominate President Donald Trump, but there are no in-person meetings for delegates scheduled the rest of the week.

What to watch at the convention Tuesday:


Trump appeared frequently during the first day of his party’s convention. While he is expected to make an appearance during prime-time Tuesday night, details haven’t been released. With Biden’s proposals already cast as “socialist” and “radical," the president is likely to revive those criticisms in any remarks.


First lady Melania Trump is set to give the marquee address from the Rose Garden. She has focused on anti-bullying initiatives during her tenure in the White House, so she may offer one of the convention’s most positive addresses. Her speech at the 2016 GOP convention, the night she introduced herself to voters, was well-received but was later found to have included lines that were very close to what former first lady Michelle Obama said in her 2008 speech at the Democratic convention. A speechwriter for the Trump Organization took the blame.


The program includes Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, another Republican who is being closely watched for signs of future political aspirations. His decision to speak at the convention comes while the country’s top diplomat has drawn condemnation from some for breaking decades of precedent keeping secretaries of state from partaking in overtly partisan politics. The State Department counters that Pompeo will be speaking in his personal capacity, not as a U.S. official.

Pompeo is expected to praise the Trump administration’s foreign policy record, including the recent U.S.-brokered deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, in an address recorded while he’s in Jerusalem on government business.


The theme for the evening is “Land of Opportunity,” with speakers planning to highlight Trump’s policies on trade, abortion and the opioid crisis. Two of the president’s children, Eric Trump and Tiffany Trump, are scheduled, along with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez, former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer.

Other speakers include anti-abortion activist Abby Johnson; Maine lobsterman Jason Joyce; Mary Ann Mendoza, an Arizona woman whose police officer son was killed in an accident caused by a man in the country illegally; and Nicholas Sandmann, a Kentucky teenager who gained attention last year for a widely shared video of his interaction with a Native American man, Nathan Phillips, during demonstrations in Washington. Sandmann and Phillips later said they were trying to defuse tensions among conflicting groups at the Lincoln Memorial.


Unlike Trump, who planned events to counter the Democratic convention, the Biden campaign has not scheduled its candidate to make appearances during the GOP gathering. The Biden campaign says his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, will be making some public appearances this week. She’s expected to make the case for the Democratic ticket and against Trump's reelection.


The program starts at 8:30 p.m. ET (a half-hour earlier than the DNC convention) and runs through 11 p.m. ET. It’s available on the GOP convention’s social media channels and AT&T U-VERSE, Direct TV, Twitch, Youtube and Amazon Prime TV. CNN, C-SPAN, MSNBC and PBS will air the full prime-time presentation while ABC, CBS, Fox News Channel and NBC will air the final hour, from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.