WASHINGTON - “Land of Opportunity” was Tuesday night's theme as speakers touted President Donald Trump’s criminal justice reform, a strong economy, and religious freedom. The convention kicked off with a focus on faith.
“To all houses of worship and to all people of faith stripped of religious freedom and religious liberties my father will fight for you,” said Eric Trump.
“We believe that each person is made by God for a purpose,” President Trump said.
Trump said that’s one reason he pushed for criminal justice reform and pardoned Jon Ponder. Ponder, a convicted bank robber turned his life around and founded a non-profit organization that helps former inmates.
“And as I laid on that stainless steel cell, shackles on my hands and my feet, I heard God utter into my spirit, 'I honored what you asked me to do.' He said, 'Never forget the promise you made to me,'” Ponder said.
Rev. Billy Graham’s granddaughter made a surprise appearance to thank the president for his continued fight for religious freedom.
“Our founders did not envision a quiet hidden faith, they fought to ensure that the voices of faith were always welcome, not silenced, no bullied,” said Cassie Graham Lynch.
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Nicolas Sandman says he was bullied by news outlets for their coverage of a confrontation between him and a Native American man at the Lincoln Memorial. Abby Johnson pushed back on Planned Parenthood and quit as a clinic director to become one of America’s most outspoken pro-life activists.
“I’ve been the perpetrator to these babies, to these women, and I now support President Trump because he has done more for the unborn than any other president,” Johnson said.
Trump hosted a naturalization ceremony for five people to highlight legal immigration.
“You followed the rules, you obeyed the laws, you learned your history and embraced our values and proved yourselves to be men and women of the highest integrity,” President Trump said. “It’s not so easy, you went through a lot and we appreciate you being here today,”
And Secretary of State Mike Pompeo broke tradition with a personal convention appearance from Jerusalem.
“The President too moved the US embassy to this very city of Jerusalem, the rightful capital of the Jewish homeland. And just two weeks ago, the president brokered a historic peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates,” said Pompeo.
First Lady Melania Trump wrapped up the night from the renovated Rose Garden.
“The past three and a half years have been unforgettable, there are no words to describe how honored, humbled and fortunate I am to serve our nation as your First Lady,” said Melania Trump.
In addition to expressing compassion for COVID-19 victims and calling for greater attention to opioid addiction, she spoke on racial division and the spike in violence nationwide.
“I also ask people to stop the violence and looting being done in the name of justice and never make assumptions on the color of a person's skin,” Melania said.
Looking ahead, Vice President Mike Pence will highlight night 3 of the RNC Convention.
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