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With each night of the Republican National Convention building on the previous evening, Wednesday came in hot. Television ratings – particularly livestream options – have been high each night, with First Lady Melania Trump providing the biggest ratings bump so far.
The theme for Wednesday was “Land of Heroes,” featuring stories of veterans and everyday heroes across the country. It was a night of celebrating ordinary people achieving extraordinary things.
For a third night in a row, the speaker lineup was stellar, including keynote Vice President Mike Pence and several groundbreaking women: Sen. Marsha Blackburn, Sen. Joni Ernst, Gov. Kristi Noem, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and the retiring Kellyanne Conway. Other notables were Rep. Dan Crenshaw, Burgess Owens, Second Lady Karen Pence, and the President’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump.
As Hurricane Laura barreled toward Texas and Louisiana, many speakers offered thoughts and prayers to those in her path. The President is poised to offer federal assistance to the communities impacted by the violent storm; stories of heroes will likely emerge from its destruction.
Noem and Blackburn focused on the everyday heroes among us, segueing into speeches from American heroes Crenshaw and Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg (Ret.), National Security Adviser to Mike Pence.
Crenshaw, a former Navy Seal who lost an eye in an IED explosion in Afghanistan, made one of the evening’s best statements when he said, “Heroism is grace, not perpetual outrage.”
The RNC took time to educate viewers about women’s suffrage, legalized exactly one hundred years ago. Just last week, President Trump pardoned Susan B. Anthony for voting before it was legal, and earlier this week, the First Lady celebrated the occasion by opening an art exhibit with the child artists in attendance.
McEnany spoke not as a White House employee, but as a woman with a pre-existing condition, having had a preventative mastectomy two years ago because she carries the BRCA gene. She gave viewers a glimpse into the personal thoughtfulness of the President, a side voters don’t often see.
Karen Pence paid tribute to military spouses and families, the unsung heroes on the home front. Throughout the night, Trump’s dedication to our veterans and military was on full display.
Conway, the first woman to lead a presidential campaign to victory, touched on Trump’s unique ability to comfort grieving families and his work against the opioid epidemic that impacts millions of Americans.
Only in America
Sister Deirdre Byrne, MD, a retired U.S. Army Colonel (possibly the only person who could claim all three titles) spoke powerfully about being not just pro-life, but pro-eternal life. She underscored the value of the unborn by reminding viewers that we first met Jesus when God placed Him in his mother’s womb.
Chen Guangcheng read his speech in Braille, but his method wasn’t the most incredible part. A Chinese dissident and human rights activist, he spoke out against the Chinese Communist Party and paid a heavy price: he was persecuted, beaten and arrested. He called them “the enemy of humanity.”
Madison Cawthorn, a congressional candidate in North Carolina, provided one of the evening’s most incredible moments when he stood for America. The 25-year-old Cawthorn is partially paralyzed and wheelchair-bound.
Jack Brewer, a lifelong Democrat and former NFL player, openly supports Trump and praised what the President has done for the black community.
Lara Trump, who grew up a middle-class Southerner, made a strong case for her famous father-in-law and reminded viewers of the crossroads at which America finds herself: it is socialism or liberty, not Democrat or Republican.
A 79-year-old man who participated in the Woolworth lunch counter sit-ins in the 1960s, Clarence Henderson, said, “Politicians are a dime a dozen, but leaders are priceless; Donald Trump is a leader and he loves America.”
Cleverly contrasting Trump’s foreign policy with Obama/Biden’s, former Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell highlighted a middle of the night trip to Iran: not with a plane full of cash, but to carry out a successful mission to eliminate Qasem Solmeani.
The Vice President took the stage with – as always – his beloved wife at his side. Speaking at Fort McHenry, the site that inspired our national anthem, Pence accepted the nomination for a second term as VP. Pence introduced his family, including his elderly mother; he joked that he’s actually his mother’s second favorite person on the ticket. One of the few speeches with a live audience, the crowd –filled with veterans – cheered and stood in appreciation throughout.
Pence laid out many of the accomplishments of the Trump administration, then shifted to honoring frontline workers and denouncing the violence plaguing American cities. He vowed to support law enforcement and provide law and order for all Americans. He ended his remarks with a stirring call to action, eyes fixed upon God, with a promise to keep fighting for America.
As Pence’s speech ended, “Hail to the Chief” began its herald, introducing the evening’s biggest surprise: the President and First Lady. Country singer Trace Adkins sang “The Star-Spangled Banner,” a fitting end to an evening of American heroism and greatness.
The convention wraps tonight with Trump’s acceptance speech.