Republican National Convention shows stark contrast between optimism and fear

Kimberly Guilfoyle, the National Chair of the "Trump Victory Finance Committee" and girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr., delivers a pre-recorded speech to the largely virtual 2020 Republican National Convention, from Washington, U.S., August 24, 2020. Credit: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque.

During Monday night’s Republican National Convention, a different version of America was on display, where COVID-19 was under control, the economy was booming, and systemic racism didn’t permeate the culture. The night also showcased a battle for the future of the Republican Party without Donald Trump in office.

Kimberly Guilfoyle, a key campaign staffer in President Trump’s reelection bid and the ex-wife of Governor Gavin Newsom, screamed and waved her arms as she delivered an amped up speech. 

“Stand for an American president who is fearless, who believes in you, and who loves this country and will fight for her,” Guilfoyle said. “President Trump is the leader who will rebuild the promise of America and ensure that every citizen can realize their American Dream. Ladies and gentlemen, leaders and fighters for freedom and liberty and the American Dream, the best is yet to come!” 

The Atlantic writer Adam Harris tells KCRW, “What we saw last night was kind of the Trumpification of the Republican Party, that this kind of embrace of Trump and his style of politics is in many ways complete. If you look at the speakers who steered him to these stark warnings about what they call Marxism on the left and civil disorder, from Charlie Kirk to the speech by the McCloskeys, the St. Louis couple who were waving guns at Black Lives Matter protesters, to Kimberly Guilfoyle and Donald Trump Jr.”

He continues, “And then you also saw speeches by people like Nikki Haley and Tim Scott that kind of reflected a Republican Party of 2004, 2008 and 2012. But the interesting thing was that they were speaking to the fringes of the party rather than the base.” 

Credits

Guest:
Adam Harris - The Atlantic; author of “The State Must Provide”

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Michell Eloy, Amy Ta, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Angie Perrin, Kathryn Barnes, Nihar Patel