Ja'Ron Smith, deputy assistant to the president, testified to President Trump's commitment to Black communities at the Republican National Convention Thursday, saying: "I have seen his true conscience."

Why it matters: Smith is the highest-ranking Black official in the White House. Trump has taken to calling him "my star" in meetings, according to a New York Times profile.

What he's saying: "Growing up, I’d never really known a Republican—I believed all the stereotypes. It took meeting Republicans who shared my values to show me I was wrong," Smith said.

  • "Donald Trump knows that in the work of revitalizing communities, America’s strength is America’s people. And I can tell you—he really cares. But, more importantly, he takes action."
  • "Every issue important to Black communities has been a priority for him: prison reform, re-building broken families, bringing jobs back to America—jobs in Cleveland, jobs in Detroit, jobs in Milwaukee. Jobs for the future and jobs right here, right now."
  • "And, in the wake of the murder of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and LeGend Taliferro—a moment of national racial consciousness—I have seen his true conscience. I just wish every American could see the deep empathy he showed to families whose loved ones were killed in senseless violence."

The bottom line: "For a New Yorker, he's got a lot of Cleveland heart," Smith, who was raised in Cleveland, concluded. "And I'm proud to say that he's my president."

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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said last week that he cannot support President Trump's re-election.

Why it matters: Hogan, a moderate governor in a blue state, joins other prominent Republicans who have publicly said they will either not vote for Trump's re-election this November or will back Biden.

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In photos: Coronavirus restrictions grow across Europe

A skeleton is placed at a restaurant table in Rome to protest Italy's restrictions that'll see gyms, movie theaters and pools close and bars and restaurants required to shut by 6 p.m. until at least Nov. 24. Photo: Antonio Masiello/Getty Images

Restrictions are returning across much of Europe as the continent faces a second coronavirus wave.

The big picture: Spain and France each surpassed 1 million cases last week, and both countries have implemented further restrictions on citizens. Italian officials announced strict new measures, effective Monday, to combat another cases spike. From Denmark to Romania, take a look at what steps countries have been taking, in photos.