What to Watch For: The Night Trump Has Been Waiting For

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[Watch the convention live with real-time analysis and fact-checking from our reporters.]

President Trump will finally take the stage on Thursday evening, as the final night of the Republican National Convention concludes with his acceptance speech.

He is expected to reprise some of the themes of the past week: the need to maintain what his allies cast as an economy on the rebound, an alternative version of the coronavirus pandemic where the Trump administration has the virus under control and the dystopian future that could await Americans should they elect Democrats.

He’s also expected to deliver a blistering denunciation of Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic presidential nominee, attacking the former vice president’s positions and record on issues like policing and the economy.

Thursday night’s lineup features a varied mix of speakers, including Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, and Dana White, the president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and a friend of the president’s. As in 2016, Mr. Trump will be introduced by his daughter Ivanka, who plans to cast her father as the “people’s president” — part of a weeklong effort to soften his image.

Also speaking tonight are Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, considered to be a potential presidential prospect in 2024, and Representative Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, a former Democrat who voted against Mr. Trump’s impeachment before becoming a Republican. He now faces a tough re-election race.

Already, Mr. Trump’s convention has been criticized for crossing the traditional boundaries between politicking and the work of government. His speech tonight is likely to escalate those critiques.

In an unprecedented appearance, he will deliver his campaign remarks from a platform built on the South Lawn of the White House, using a taxpayer-funded setting for a political event. Mr. Trump plans to speak before an audience of more than 1,000 people, flouting local rules restricting gatherings to 50 people to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

With the authorities expecting protests tonight in the wake of the police killing of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis., additional fencing has been installed around the White House complex.

[Join Times reporters for a live discussion about the Republican National Convention and the events of the week on Friday at 11 a.m. ET. RSVP here for a reminder.]

The convention this week has offered little guidance as to what Mr. Trump plans to do, if elected to a second term. Instead, much of the messaging has focused on portraying a country on the road to recovery from a deadly pandemic and delivering dark warnings of the chaos a Democratic-led administration would bring.

This version of reality seems unlikely to square with the economic, education and health struggles many voters still face as a result of the coronavirus outbreak in this country, the worst of any wealthy nation.

Just this week, a series of new crises are buffeting the country, with a deadly hurricane bearing down on the Gulf Coast and continued unrest in Wisconsin, after the police shooting of a Black man and the killing of two protesters. Will Mr. Trump take this moment of national crisis into account in his remarks and does he attempt to provide any solutions?

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