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World News

Factbox: Who is speaking at the Republican National Convention, and why

(Reuters) - Next week’s Republican National Convention will be a four-day celebration of President Donald Trump, featuring a younger generation who may be hoping for a shot at the White House in 2024, as well as a St. Louis couple who brandished guns at anti-racism protesters.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a Trump re-election campaign event at Mariotti Building Products in Old Forge, Pennsylvania, U.S., August 20, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

Here is a look at speakers featured in a mix of live and virtual programming starting on Monday.

GREAT AMERICAN STORY

The theme of the nominating convention will be “Honoring the Great American Story”, and will culminate in a live acceptance speech from Trump on Thursday night on the South Lawn of the White House.

The White House grounds will also be used on Tuesday night, when First Lady Melania Trump and Trump’s adult children will speak from the Rose Garden.

Trump will be the central focus and will make appearances on most days, according to campaign sources, including one event when he will honor doctors, nurses and other workers on the front line of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vice President Mike Pence will be the main speaker on Wednesday, delivering his remarks from Baltimore’s Fort McHenry, made famous in the War of 1812 when it was successfully defended against an attack by the British navy, inspiring the poem that became the lyrics for The Star-Spangled Banner.

Some government ethics experts have expressed concern over the use of federal properties as stages for partisan political speeches, but a law prohibiting the use of federal funds for campaign appearances excludes the president and vice president. In 1940, Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt accepted his party’s nomination from the White House via radio.

On Monday, the convention theme will be the “Land of Promise,” Tuesday’s will be the “Land of Opportunity,” Wednesday will focus on the “Land of Heroes” and events culminate in the “Land of Greatness” on Thursday.

TRUMP CHANGED MY LIFE

Trump has been criticized for his response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 170,000 Americans and triggered a severe economic downturn, as well as his reaction to nationwide protests over racial injustice and police brutality against Black Americans.

To counter those criticisms, the convention will also feature everyday Americans who will testify that Trump has changed their lives in positive ways, according to a member of Trump’s campaign.

They will also sound the alarm over the dangers of a victory for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Among them will be Mark and Patricia McCloskey, a St. Louis couple who brandished their guns in front of Black Lives Matter protesters who marched through their gated community in July. They were charged with felony weapons offenses, which Trump has called a “disgrace.” Their attorney, Joel Schwartz, said their appearance has now been confirmed by Republican organizers.

Other citizen speakers will include police Sergeant Ann Dorn, whose husband, retired police captain David Dorn, was killed during violent protests in St. Louis in June; Tanya Weinreis, who will say her Montana coffee shop and employees’ livelihoods were saved by a loan from the federal coronavirus relief Paycheck Protection Program, and the parents of Kayla Mueller, a humanitarian worker murdered by Islamic State.

Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow was killed in the 2018 Parkland, Florida, school massacre, will also speak. He is an advocate for enhanced school safety measures, including armed guards.

2024 HOPEFULS

The convention will also feature Republicans considered prospective 2024 presidential hopefuls. They include Nikki Haley, Trump’s former ambassador to the United Nations; South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem; South Carolina U.S. Senator Tim Scott; and the president’s son Donald Trump Jr., who some party members want to see continue the Trump legacy.

Reporting by Tim Reid; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall

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