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Sen. Tim Scott was the night's headliner. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The opening night of the Republican National Convention delighted President Trump's base with an alternative narrative where he masterfully deflected COVID, he's popular with Black Americans, and Joe Biden is a menacing leftist.

Why it matters: Although CNN and MSNBC cut away for fact checks, this week's convention gives the Trump campaign hour upon hour to show millions of viewers an America as Trump sees it.

It's relatively rare for a Trump production to include empathy testimonials, but last night's did.

  • For so much of his political career, Trump has depicted himself as an antihero, telling people that the world is a zero-sum battle, where only brutal tactics can defeat brutal enemies.
  • Two Trump friends, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and former football star Herschel Walker, both testified to what they described as his private empathy.
  • Walker described a 37-year friendship and Jordan recounted a family tragedy in which the president took time out of his day to console Jordan's grieving relatives.

The night's star was Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), the only Black Republican senator, and the first Black senator from the South since Reconstruction:

My grandfather’s 99th birthday would have been tomorrow. Growing up, he had to cross the street if a white person was coming. He suffered the indignity of being forced out of school as a third grader to pick cotton, and never learned to read or write.
Yet, he lived to see his grandson become the first African American to be elected to both the United States House and Senate.
Our family went from Cotton to Congress in one lifetime.
Don Jr. speaks in the cavernous Mellon Auditorium. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Donald Trump Jr., who called Biden "basically the Loch Ness Monster of the swamp," made a populist appeal for his father's re-election:

  • "[W]e are not going to tear down monuments and forget the people who built our great nation. Instead, we will learn from our past so we don't repeat any mistakes."
  • "It all starts by rejecting the radicals who want to drag us into the dark, and embracing the man who represents a bright and beautiful future for all."
Nikki Haley speaks. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Nikki Haley, who was Trump's ambassador to the UN, after serving as South Carolina governor: "In much of the Democratic Party, it’s now fashionable to say that America is racist. That is a lie. America is not a racist country."

  • "This is personal for me. I am the proud daughter of Indian immigrants. They came to America and settled in a small southern town."
  • "My father wore a turban. My mother wore a sari. I was a brown girl in a black and white world."

Axios' David Nather, Margaret Talev, Alayna Treene and Hans Nichols contributed reporting.

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Go deeper

Harris breaks through multiple barriers as VP-elect

Credit: Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senator Kamala Harris of California will become the first woman, Black American and Indian American to serve as vice president.

The big picture: No woman has served as U.S. president, but Harris' ascent will put a woman first in the line of succession for the first time in history, in a year marking the 100th anniversary of women obtaining the constitutional right to vote.

Biden: "This is the time to heal in America"

Biden gives his victory speech in Wilmington, Del. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden said "this is the time to heal in America" and called on the nation to come together to get the coronavirus under control, address systemic racism, confront climate change and "restore decency."

Driving the news: Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris addressed the nation Saturday night at a drive-in style rally in Wilmington, Del., hours after news networks projected Biden as the winner of the U.S. presidential election.

Updated Nov 7, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Joe Biden elected president, AP projects

Biden in Los Angeles in March. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The Associated Press projects Joe Biden has been elected the 46th president of the United States, ousting President Trump after a single term marked by impeachment, constant battles, a disastrous response to the deadly coronavirus pandemic and an unexpectedly close election.

Kamala Harris will join him as the first woman and first female person of color to be elected vice president — a historic breakthrough largely overshadowed by the turmoil surrounding the election. The news drew cheering crowds to the White House, while Biden made plans to address the nation at 8 pm Eastern.