Trump May Deliver Convention Speech From the Gettysburg Battlefield

President Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up to members of the media as he walks across the South Lawn as he arrives at the White House in Washington, Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020, after returning from Morristown, N.J. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

By Kimberly Lawson

August 10, 2020

Trump last visited Gettysburg in 2016 to lay out his plan for his first 100 days in office.

President Donald Trump said Monday he may deliver his acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination from either the White House or the Gettysburg battlefield in Pennsylvania.

As plans for the Republican National Convention have steadily been drawn back because of the coronavirus pandemic—President Trump canceled nearly all of the in-person events in Jacksonville, Florida last month—his campaign has considered alternatives that would allow him to recreate at least some of the pomp of the event, the Associated Press reports.

“We have narrowed the Presidential Nomination Acceptance Speech, to be delivered on the final night of the Convention (Thursday), to two locations – The Great Battlefield of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and the White House, Washington, D.C.,” Trump tweeted Monday.

He added that a decision on the location of the Aug. 27 speech will be made soon.

Critics say there are legal and ethical concerns regarding both sites, as the Hatch Act prohibits using federal property for political activity.

If Trump does decide to deliver his speech from Gettysburg, it will be the second time he’s used the location to advance his presidential campaign. In 2016, Trump visited Gettysburg to lay out his plan for his first 100 days in office.

“It’s my privilege to be here in Gettysburg, hallowed ground where so many lives were given in service for freedom,” Trump began his speech then. “Amazing place.”

The irony of choosing this Pennsylvania borough, though, is that the president has repeatedly defended monuments to heroes of the Confederacy. The Battle of Gettysburg was the deadliest battle of the Civil War and is often described as the turning point of the war between the Union and the Confederacy.

He also recently promised to veto any legislation that aimed to rename military bases for Gen. Robert E. Lee or other military leaders of the Confederacy.

The Republican National Convention was initially slated for Charlotte, North Carolina, before Trump moved it to Jacksonville, Florida, in June, in hopes the Republican-led state would be more amenable to his aim of having thousands of mask-less supporters cheering his renomination.

Now almost the entirety of the convention will be conducted virtually, except for a formal renomination vote on Aug. 24 in Charlotte by just a few hundred delegates casting proxy votes for those unable to assemble in person.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.




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