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)

Who’s in power? Convention lineup has clues to Trump’s favour

‘Land of Greatness’ was the closing theme of the convention

WASHINGTON — If speaking time at the Republican convention is a measure of President Donald Trump’s favour, his family wins by a mile. They’re followed by a slate of Cabinet members and aides who serve at Trump’s pleasure. “Everyday Americans” who support the president come next.

But the story of presidential campaigns is often illuminated by who is absent. Not placing at all: luminaries of the Republican establishment, including former President George W. Bush, either because they weren’t invited or wanted no part of it.

That seems to be just as well for all involved, given the president’s insistence on loyalty, the GOP elders’ refusal to give it and the fact that in 2020, the party adopted no policy platform beyond Trump’s “America first” worldview.

“Land of Greatness” was the closing theme of the convention, the message the candidate wants voters to remember. The slate of speakers, the campaign says, “will honour America’s long history of greatness, how President Trump restored that greatness, and how he will keep it going.”

It’s all pretty vague for those in the GOP’s old guard, many of whom are staying silent if they’re not endorsing Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. On Thursday, hundreds more did just that. A few hours before Trump’s acceptance speech, alumni of the Bush administration, Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign and John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign announced their support for the former vice-president.

Trump’s feeling toward the old guard is mutual. He’ll never forgive Romney, for example, for voting to convict him on one charge of impeachment earlier this year. McCain’s famous thumbs-down that sank Trump’s effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act irked Trump long after the Arizona senator died of brain cancer in 2018. And there are no warm feelings for Republican Colin Powell, the retired four-star general who was Bush’s secretary of state and has endorsed Biden.

Instead, the 2020 Republican convention is an exhibit of a party Trump has remade as a largely family-led enterprise. Over four nights, the Trumps were set to speak — or in Trump’s case, appear as a “surprise” — for nearly 150 minutes, enough for a full night of programming.

Among the family, the hierarchy generally is suggested by the amount of speaking time granted. First lady Melania Trump spoke for 16 minutes. The president’s elder daughter and adviser, Ivanka Trump, was expected to spend at least 15 minutes Thursday on remarks introducing her father for his acceptance speech.

Other family members who spoke included the president’s sons Donald Jr. (five minutes) and Eric (eight minutes) and daughter Tiffany (six minutes). Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara, spoke for six minutes, the same amount of time given to Kimberly Guilfoyle, a senior adviser and Donald Jr.’s girlfriend.

One anomaly is the absence from the speaking podium of Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner, who is ubiquitous in the administration on everything from the coronavirus pandemic to Mideast affairs.

Time slots were doled out, as well, to people who work for Trump: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Housing Secretary Ben Carson, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and departing senior counsellor Kellyanne Conway each spoke for about four minutes.

Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor and onetime Trump attorney, got twice that much.

And Vice-President Mike Pence put to rest relentless rumours that Trump might dump him with a 24-minute address at stately Fort McHenry in Baltimore on Wednesday night. The speech solidified his standing as the leading Republican presidential hopeful in 2024.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Central Alberta woman receives North American award for leading Red Deer Regional Health Foundation

Manon Therriault at the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation has always embraced… Continue reading

Families displaced after Red Deer fire Sunday

A structure fire displaced two families in north Red Deer Sunday morning.… Continue reading

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

In its place is employment insurance, which the government says the majority of people will go on

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Sept. 27

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00… Continue reading

WE Charity controversy prompts examination of group’s overseas footprint

On Sept. 9, WE Charity said it would wind down its Canadian operations

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

Nearly 1M who died of COVID-19 also illuminated treatment

The nearly 1 million people around the world who have lost their… Continue reading

Toronto health officer closes 3 restaurants as result of COVID contact tracing

Toronto’s top public health official has ordered the closure of three downtown… Continue reading

Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists

CALGARY — Canadian ski resort operators planning for a season that begins… Continue reading

Tenille Townes, Dean Brody and Brett Kissel top nominees at tonight’s CCMA Awards

OTTAWA — Tenille Townes could be lined up for some major wins… Continue reading

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

TERRACE, B.C. — Health care in the era of COVID-19 took centre… Continue reading

Watchdog to investigate fatal Winnipeg crash that sent two kids to hospital

Winnipeg police say a woman has died and five others — including… Continue reading

The ‘relentless underdog’: Green Leader Sonia Furstenau ready for uphill battle

Green Leader Sonia Furstenau was driving Monday when she turned on the… Continue reading

Mi’kmaq power, inside and beyond Ottawa, stronger than in past fishery battles

HALIFAX — When Jaime Battiste was in his early 20s, cable news… Continue reading

Most Read