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Trump’s family members, conservative allies dominate GOP convention lineup

Donald Trump Jr. speaks at Dream City Church in Phoenix on June 23.
Donald Trump Jr. speaks at Dream City Church in Phoenix on June 23. (Evan Vucci/AP)
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The Republican National Convention will be heavy on members of President Trump’s family, as well as conservative congressional allies of the president, senior administration officials and viral stars who have gained fame and a following on the right.

The lineup of speakers, released by the president’s campaign Sunday, will feature at least one person from Trump’s family — many of whom work either at the White House or on his reelection efforts — on each of the four nights of the convention. Trump himself speaks Thursday night.

“Over four nights, President Trump’s 2020 Convention will honor the great American story, the American people that have written it, and how President Donald J. Trump's Make America Great Again agenda has empowered them to succeed,” the campaign said in a statement announcing the list.

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Ivanka Trump, a senior adviser to the president, will be introducing her father before his formal acceptance address Thursday, according to a White House official. The White House said Ivanka Trump’s appearance at the RNC will be in her personal capacity and thus does not violate federal law barring government workers from political actions.

“Like all government employees, she is free to engage in political activity in her personal capacity,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said. “The White House worked with the Office of Special Counsel to ensure that her appearance was in full compliance with the Hatch Act.”

Unlike the Democratic National Convention, which concluded on Thursday, none of the GOP’s living former presidents or presidential nominees are scheduled to appear at the RNC. Former president George W. Bush is missing from the list, as is 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, now a senator from Utah who was the sole Senate Republican to convict Trump on one article of impeachment in February.

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Also absent from the lineup released Sunday are a handful of Republican senators locked in competitive races, including Susan Collins (Maine), Cory Gardner (Colo.), Martha McSally (Ariz.) and Thom Tillis (N.C.). Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), who also faces a tough reelection campaign, will be speaking Wednesday evening.

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Several governors will be speaking, including female Republican Govs. Kristi L. Noem of South Dakota and Kim Reynolds of Iowa, but a handful of other GOP governors who have been the strongest defenders of Trump as they are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic in their states — Brian Kemp of Georgia, Ron DeSantis of Florida and Greg Abbott of Texas — are not scheduled to appear, according to Sunday’s list.

Some Trump Cabinet members, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, also will address the convention in a move critics argue further blurs the lines between the presidential campaign and official business.

The appearance of Pompeo, who will speak at the RNC as he is traveling abroad, has drawn particular criticism because of his role as the nation’s chief diplomat. On CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel declined to say whether the federal government would be reimbursed for Pompeo’s appearance at a political event.

“I’m not confirming anything having to do with Secretary Pompeo’s trip,” McDaniel said. “I am just saying the programming, the staging, everything that we’re doing will be paid for by the Republican National Committee and the campaign.”

Also scheduled to speak are Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the St. Louis couple who made headlines in June when they stood outside their mansion in a gated community and pointed guns at protesters marching past them. The McCloskeys were each charged last month with one felony count of unlawful use of a weapon.

St. Louis couple who aimed guns at protesters charged with felony weapons count

On Monday night, Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. and his partner, Kimberly Guilfoyle, are scheduled to speak. Other speakers include the McCloskeys, McDaniel, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), former ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Andrew Pollack, whose daughter, Meadow, was killed in the Parkland, Fla., shooting in 2018 and has advocated for school safety measures while defending gun rights.

Tuesday’s lineup includes first lady Melania Trump and the president’s children Eric and Tiffany Trump, as well as Pompeo, Reynolds, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi (R). Bondi was tapped by the White House to work on defending Trump during his impeachment trial.

On Wednesday, Eric Trump’s wife, Lara Trump, will speak, as will Vice President Pence and his wife, Karen. White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Ernst and Noem are among the other speakers.

Aside from the president, other speakers on Thursday include Carson, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-N.J.), who left the Democratic Party last year to join the GOP amid the Democrats’ impeachment effort.

Another featured speaker on Thursday will be Alice Johnson, whose life sentence for federal drug and money-laundering charges was commuted by Trump in 2018 after personal urging and lobbying from reality television star Kim Kardashian West.