Convention Lineup Highlights Trump Bid for Black Support

The speaking lineup for the Convention included a fairly standard mix of elected officials, candidates, current and former members of the administration, law enforcement representatives, former sports figures, young political stars, regular citizens, albeit often from battleground states., and, of course, members of the Trump family.  Family members can help to humanize a candidate by telling personal stories.  Also of note, three of the speakers were seen as possible 2024 candidates (Pence, Haley and Cotton).

Night One
Night Two
Night Three
Night Four
Elected Officials
Trump Family
Total Speakers

Does not include opening prayer and pledge of allegiance. 
Elected officials are those currently holding office; does not include the President and Vice President (they are at a higher level).
Trump family includes Donald Trump Jr. girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle and Trump himself.

What stands out most looking at the convention lineup is the large number of Black speakers—12 of the 88 total speakers or 13.6%.  By contrast, the program incuded just a handful of Latinos.  Also of note, zero of the 56 people who spoke during  the RNC roll call of the states and territories on Monday were Black.

The Trump campaign is clearly trying to blunt the charges of racism that have been leveled against him.  More broadly the effort is part of the calculus of reassuring white swing voters in the suburbs that Trump is not racist.  The effort is not new; the 2016 Trump campaign made concerted if awkward Black outreach efforts.  On Nov. 8, 2019 President Trump launched his 2020 campaign's Black Voices for Trump coaliition at an Atanta rally.  Clearly Trump will not win the black vote, but it does not need to.  The campaign is making the effort and chipping away at Black support for Biden.  Another part of this is Republicans' underwriting of rapper/producer Kanye West's presidential campaign; West will be on the ballot in at least eight states. 

Some of the twelve Black speakers were quite effective, highlighting actions President Trump has taken to help the Black community including the strong pre-COVID economy, criminal justice reform, HBCU funding, and opportunity zones as well as his support for school choice.  Many of the Black speakers referenced Biden gaffes, particularly his since retracted remark that "if you have problem figuring out whether you'for me of for Trump then you ain't Black" made during an interview with Charlamagne tha God on "The Breakfast Club."(May 22).  Biden's work on the 1994 crime bill has also been criticized.  The campaign's underlying argument is that Democrats have taken the Black vote for granted.

  Biographies below reprinted as received from the campaign unless otherwise noted.

Monday, August 24 — Day One: Land of Promise
Kim Klacik
Kimberly Klacik is a wife, mother, nonprofit founder and currently elected to the Baltimore County Republican Central Committee. Kimberly grew up in Accokeek, Maryland, once known as the home of the Beretta Gun Manufacturer. In 2010, she moved to Baltimore once becoming engaged to her husband. In 2013, Kimberly founded “Potential Me” to assist underserved women with workforce development. She is now running for election to the U.S. House of Representatives to represent Maryland's 7th District.

Herschel Walker
Herschel Walker was appointed to serve as Co-Chair of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition. Walker is President and Chief Executive Officer of H. Walker Enterprises, LLC (HWE) and Renaissance Man Food Services, LLC (RMFS), a certified minority business enterprise that supplies poultry, pork, and bakery products to the food service and retail marketplace. Walker was a NFL player for fifteen years, competed in mixed martial arts competitions, and participated in the 1992 United States Olympic bobsled team.

Georgia State Representative Vernon Jones
Vernon Jones is a Democratic politician from the state of Georgia. Jones was chief executive officer of Dekalb County, Georgia from 2001 until 2009 and in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1993 to 2001. He ran for the U.S. Senate in 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives (2010), and DeKalb County Sheriff (2014). Jones was elected to the Georgia House in 2016, and in April 2020, Jones announced his endorsement of President Trump for reelection.

Senator Tim Scott (R-SC)
Since joining the Senate in 2013, Senator Scott has been a national leader in efforts to bring opportunity to every American family. His signature legislation creating Opportunity Zones was passed as part of the 2017 tax reform package and has the potential to bring billions of dollars of private investment into distressed communities across the country. As he continues to lead on the implementation of the Opportunity Zones initiative, Senator Scott also plays a critical role in issues regarding workforce development, education, and diversity. Whether it’s tackling the skills gap, making sure children have access to the educational environment best suited for them, or working to bring everyone to the table to find solutions, Senator Scott will keep fighting for South Carolinians every single day he serves in the U.S. Senate.

Tuesday, August 25 — Day Two: Land of Opportunity
Myron Lizner   |   Jon Ponder and Rich Beasley   |   U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (KY)   |   Jason Joyce   |   Cris Peterson   |   Larry Kudlow   |   John Peterson   |   Cissie Graham Lynch   |  Mayor Robert Vlaisavljevich   |   Abby Johnson  |   Mary Ann Mendoza   |   Nicholas Sandmann   |   Pam Bondi   |  Tiffany Trump   |   Gov. Kim Reynolds (IA)   |   Ryan Holets   |   Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez   |  Eric Trump   |  Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron   |   Secretary of State Mike Pompeo   |   Melania Trump

Jon Ponder
Jon D. Ponder is the founder and CEO of HOPE for Prisoners, Inc. He oversees all aspects of the programs and services provided by HOPE for Prisoners, including a comprehensive array of program components designed to assist individuals to successfully reintegrate into society. Ponder's personal experience with the judicial system gives him the expertise to provide training for offender populations in correctional settings as he has for 15 years.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron
Daniel Jay Cameron serves as the 51st Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. He is the first African American elected to a standalone statewide office in Kentucky’s history and the first Republican elected to the Attorney General’s office since 1948. As Attorney General, Cameron is committed to defending the laws of the Commonwealth and protecting Kentuckians. His commitment to working with law enforcement was further acknowledged by the endorsement of the Kentucky Fraternal Order of Police.

Wednesday, August 26 — Day Three: Land of Heroes
Gov. Kristi Noem (SD)   |   Scott Dane   |   U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (TN)   |   U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (TX-2)   |   Keith Kellogg   |  Tera Myers   |  Kayleigh McEnany   |  Second Lady Karen Pence    |   Kellyanne Conway  |   Sister Dede Byrne   |   Lou Holtz   |   Michael McHale   |   U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (NY-21)   |   Madison Cawthorn   |  Jack Brewer Chen Guangcheng​   |  U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (NY-1)   |   Sen. Joni Ernst (IA)   |   Burgess Owens   |   Lara Trump   |  Sam Vigil   |  Clarence Henderson   |   Richard Grenell   |   Vice President Mike Pence
Jack Brewer
Wikipedia: Jack Brewer (born January 8, 1979) is a former American football safety who played professionally in the National Football League (NFL) for the Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, and the Arizona Cardinals. He attended Grapevine High School in Grapevine, Texas where he competed in football and track.

Burgess Owens
Burgess Owens was one of the first three Black Americans to be offered a football scholarship to the University of Miami where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Chemistry. He was a New York Jets first round draft choice and was the 13th overall pick and a Super Bowl Champion with the Oakland Raiders. Presently, he is running against first term Representative Ben McAdams (D) in Utah's 4th Congressional District. He is the author of bestselling book "Liberalism or How to Turn Good Men Into Whiners, Weenies, and Wimps," and "Why I Stand: From Freedom to the Killing Fields of Socialism."

Clarence Henderson
Mr. Henderson is a champion for freedom and conservative values. He participated in the Greensboro Woolworth lunch counter sit-in and was a strong advocate for civil rights and equality.  In 2000, Mr. Henderson was the recipient of the 40th Anniversary Sit-In Participant Award, and in 2013, he was appointed by Governor Pat McCrory to the Chairman seat on the North Carolina Martin Luther King Jr. Commission.

Thursday, August 27 — Day Four: Land of Heroes
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23)   |   Ja'Ron Smith   |   U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew (NJ-2)   |   Stacia Brightmon  |   Dan Scavino   |   Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY)   |   Dana White   |  Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes   |   Debbie Flood   |   Ann Dorn    |   HUD Secretary Ben Carson  |   Patrick Lynch   |   Rudy Giuliani   |   U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (AR)   |   Carl and Marsha Mueller   |   Alice Johnson   |   Ivanka Trump   |   President Donald J. Trump
The Honorable Ja’Ron Smith
Ja’Ron Smith is a native of Cleveland, Ohio and a proud graduate of Howard University. Ja’Ron began his career interning for Representative J.C. Watts, later working for Senator Tim Scott and Representative Mike Pence before taking his current position.
ed. Smith is the highest ranking Black official in the White House; he serves as a Deputy Assistant to the President (from Apr. 2019) and previously served as Director of Urban Affairs and Revitalization in the EOP (from Jan. 2017).  Earlier he worked as director of external affairs for Generation Opportunity, Oct. 2015-Jan. 2017.

Stacia Brightmon
Stacia Brightmon is a Marine Corp veteran from Houston, Texas and a single mother of two boys. Following her career in the Marine Corp, Stacia found herself unemployed working several day-to-day jobs to make ends meet. In search of a more steady career, Stacia joined an “earn-while-you-learn” apprenticeship program for women and military veterans. Stacia went from unemployed to earning $16 an hour during the intensive 4-month apprenticeship training program. And on graduation, then certified as a pipefitter assistant, she was guaranteed full-time employment, earning $28 an hour.

The Honorable Ben Carson
Secretary Ben Carson currently serves as the Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. For nearly 30 years, Dr. Carson served as Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, a position he assumed when he was just 33 years old, becoming the youngest major division director in the hospital’s history. Dr. Carson received dozens of honors and awards in recognition of his achievements including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
Alice Johnson
Alice Johnson is a criminal justice reform advocate and former federal prisoner who has become a major supporter of President Trump’s criminal justice reform legislation.