By Arul Louis
New York, Aug 24 (IANS) The Republican National Convention started on Monday by unanimously renominating Vice President Mike Pence for the office in the November elections at a scaled-back convention in Charlotte because of the Covid-19 pandemic without his presence.
The convention’s Permanent Chair Kevin McCarthy, who is the Republican leader in the House of Representatives, declared Pence’s election after a voice vote.
Unlike at the Democratic Party convention, when the nomination of Kamala Harris as its vice-presidential candidate was done with digital fanfare at a night time session, the Republicans took up the nomination as the first substantial order of business at their convention’s start on Monday morning in a matter of fact manner.
President Donald Trump’s renomination is scheduled to be taken up later.
Pence, who is a former Governor of Indiana, was picked by Trump to be his running mate in the 2016 elections that they won against the odds.
After Pence’s election was announced, Convention Chair Ronna McDaniel blasted the Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Harris, training on them the usual party ammunition that their election would lead to higher taxes, open borders and a breakdown in law and order.
Tongue-in-cheek, she quoted Hillary Clinton’s remarks at the Democratic convention that everyone should “vote like our lives and our country depend on it”, and said that was why they had to turn out in support of Trump.
The Republican convention follows a more traditional format with day-long sessions, while holding the main events at night featuring star speakers. Trump, in a departure from tradition, is scheduled to speak on all four nights of the convention.
The Democratic Party’s convention that was held last week entirely virtually was a digital virtuoso performance that the Republicans will have to match.
Unlike the Democrats, the Republicans are holding a hybrid convention with 336 delegates present physically at the convention site representing the 2,551 who were elected at the party primaries across the US, while others will be participating remotely.
The holding of the convention was marred by controversy because North Carolina’s Democrat Governor Roy Cooper turned down Trump’s demand to hold a full convention, with several thousands participating without full Covid-19 precautions.
Trump said the convention would be moved to Jacksonville, Florida, but had to abandon that plan and return to Charlotte and agree to the Covid-19 restrictions.
The convention began with a Catholic prayer that included an anti-abortion statement.
(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @arulouis)