Aug 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy

GOP plans "nightly surprise" for revamped convention

President Trump giving a thumbs up at the 2016 Republican National Convention. Photo: Bill Clark/Getty Images
President Trump at the 2016 Republican National Convention. Photo: Bill Clark/Getty Images

The reworked Republican National Convention will be a four-night spectacle including still-under-wraps venues, a 10 p.m. "nightly surprise" and guests and themes playing to "the forgotten men and women of America," two senior Trump campaign officials involved tell Axios.

Driving the news: The messaging will focus heavily on "very granular details" of what a second term for President Trump would look like — answering a question Trump left hanging in a Fox News event earlier this summer — and attack cancel culture, "radical elements" of society and threats to public safety.

Details: Trump is to be formally renominated by delegates in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Monday, Aug. 24.

  • But the aspects that most Americans associate with a convention — big speakers and special events — will be held from 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. in and around a "central hub" in another metro area that officials so far have declined to make public.
  • The programming will be a hybrid that mixes in-person and virtual speakers, live and taped appearances. Trump will deliver his acceptance speech live on the fourth and final night of the convention.

What they're saying: "Let the Democrats have their Hollywood A-listers and their political elite class and social elite class," said one of the officials, while the GOP contrasts itself as "the party of real, hardworking Americans."

  • Monday night will focus on America as "a land of heroes."
  • Tuesday: "Land of promise."
  • Wednesday: "Land of opportunity."
  • Thursday: "Land of greatness" and Trump's plan to lead voters to "the great American comeback."

The highest-profile guests will appear between 10-11 p.m. each night during a time slot organizers have set aside for a "nightly surprise factor," when they expect television networks to carry the convention live.

Behind the scenes: Organizers studied the 2012 and 2016 conventions to analyze which speakers made the biggest splashes and how — hoping to create new influencers who can generate breakout coverage through Labor Day and beyond.

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