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Douglas Andrews / Aug. 26, 2020

RNC Day Two: A Couple of Compelling Kentuckians

Nick Sandmann took the media to task. Daniel Cameron did the same to Biden.

Opening Night was a tough act to follow. How does one top Herschel Walker’s takedown of the “Trump is a racist!” canard, or Cuban immigrant Maximo Alvarez’s moving tribute to the blessings of American Liberty?

Yet there was plenty to see on the second night, including an older, wiser, and wealthier Catholic kid, a rising young star in Republican politics, and an elegant first lady who unintentionally drew a sharp contrast between herself and her predecessor.

Let’s start with Nick Sandmann, the young man whose cardinal sin was having worn a “Make America Great Again” hat during his Covington Catholic School trip to our nation’s capital last year for the annual March for Life.

“My life changed forever in that one moment,” he said, recalling the mob-mentality reporting that defamed and vilified him as having harassed a Native American agitator named Nathan Phillips, when in fact Phillips had instigated the encounter with Sandmann by confronting him and beating a drum mere inches from his face. “The full war machine of the mainstream media revved up into attack mode,” Sandmann said. “They did so without ever researching the full video of the incident, without ever investigating Mr. Phillips’s motives, or without ever asking me for my side of the story.”

“And do you know why?” he asked. “Because the truth was not important. Advancing their anti-Christian, anti-conservative, anti-Donald Trump narrative was all that mattered. And if advancing their narrative ruined the reputation and future of a teenager from Covington, Kentucky, well so be it. That would teach him not to wear a MAGA hat.”

Sandmann, who has since settled multimillion-dollar defamation suits against the likes of CNN and The Washington Post, also spoke about the toxic, media-driven nature of the cancel culture. “But I wouldn’t be canceled,” he said. “I fought back hard to expose the media for what they did to me and won a personal victory. While much more must be done, I look forward to the day that the media returns to providing balanced, responsible, and accountable news coverage.”

A young man can dream, of course, but Sandmann may never see the day when the media becomes “balanced, responsible, and accountable” — not when stooges like CNN analyst and former Clinton press secretary Joe Lockhart are still on the air. Lockhart, a rotten human being if ever there was one, remarked during Sandmann’s address, “I’m watching tonight because it’s important. But I don’t have to watch this snot-nosed entitled kid from Kentucky.” Maybe he didn’t get the CNN settlement memo.

Day Two was a good one for the Bluegrass State. In addition to Sandmann, Daniel Cameron, Kentucky’s 34-year-old attorney general and the state’s first black man to hold that office, also spoke, and he did so with the ease and charisma of a young man with a bright political future. He spoke hopefully about our nation and he strongly endorsed President Trump. But his most memorable moment was a devastating rebuke of Joe Biden for his history of demeaning, condescending, and stereotypical comments about blacks.

“Mr. Vice President,” he said, “look at me. I am black. We are not all the same, sir. I am not in chains. My mind is my own. And you can’t tell me how to vote because of the color of my skin.”

Last night’s final speaker was First Lady Melania Trump, who spoke to a White House audience in the revamped Rose Garden. As Amanda Prestigiacomo writes, “Mrs. Trump repeatedly praised our nation, thanked the American people for stepping up during the pandemic and putting country first, and challenged us to recognize differing perspectives to find unity. The speech ran in stark contrast with former First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention.”

Obama, recall, departed radically from the traditional role of a first lady by dismissing President Trump as “in over his head” and warning, “If you think things cannot possibly get worse, trust me they can; and they will, if we don’t make a change in this election.”

Compare those words with Melania Trump’s humble reflection on becoming an American citizen: “It was one of the proudest moments of my life,” she said.

What a difference. What an upgrade.

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