GOP gearing up for RNC with rising stars, culture war lightning rods

President Trump on Saturday laced into the Democrats for failing to visit Milwaukee — where the party once planned a grand convention before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Biden and the Democrats have greatly disrespected the Great State of Wisconsin by not even paying a small visit to Milwaukee, the designated site of the DNC. The State & City worked very hard to make sure things would be good. Not nice. Vote Trump Wisconsin!,” Trump said. 

The Dems meanwhile, are taking a page from Trump’s 2020 campaign playbook — with their own slate of counter-programming next week during the Republican National Convention.

The Dems will roll out a new digital and television attack ad and have lined up a blizzard of press conferences from party luminaries like former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

During the DNC, Trump hit the road to campaign, even stopping outside Biden’s hometown of Scranton, Pa., prompting some Dems to complain about the unorthodox approach. It’s unclear yet if Biden will also hit the road.

The RNC kicks off Monday, promising a professionally produced show of strength as the party gears up to nominate President Trump for a second term.

“It’s going to look a lot more like a regular convention than the Democrat convention,” said one GOP insider familiar with the planning.

“It won’t look like a cross between an infomercial and a CNN segment. They’re not doing Zoom. Everything will be professionally shot.”

While Democrats last week opted for an entirely virtual affair, the GOP aims for some semblance of the in-person blowout that had been planned for Charlottesville, N.C., before the pandemic altered what could be done safely.

Things begin with a gathering of some 336 party officials at the Charlotte Convention Center. President Trump is expected to be in the Tar Heel state that day for an unrelated event, but it’s unclear if he’ll make an appearance or deliver remarks at the site.

The convention then moves to the government-owned Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, a regal, 750-seat venue in Washington just a five-minute walk from the president’s Trump International Hotel — and will zip around other locations.

They include Fort McHenry in Baltimore, where Vice President Pence is expected to deliver his acceptance speech on Wednesday, and the White House, where Trump will address supporters from the South Lawn.

A special event honoring first responders is also on the schedule, with Trump being featured there and in some form every day of the convention.

GOP bigwigs expect him to highlight differences between himself and his opponent, former vice president Joe Biden.

“For me, I am obviously going to look for the contrast,” former White House press secretary Sean Spicer told The Post.

“The Biden campaign wasn’t really talking at all about policy. They were talking a lot about personality and I think the president is going to talk a lot about his record and what he’s been able to accomplish.”

First lady Melania Trump and Donald Trump Jr. will speak to viewers from the White House on Tuesday, followed by an array of possible future stars of the party. Among them: Trump’s former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott — the chamber’s only black Republican.

Also on deck will be Nick Sandmann, a former Covington Catholic High School student who recently settled a defamation lawsuit with CNN and The Washington Post, and Patricia and Mark McCloskey, a Missouri couple who became famous for brandishing weapons at a mob of Black Lives Matter protesters outside their St. Louis mansion.

Lights and staging stand on the South Lawn of the White House yesterday.
Lights and staging stand on the South Lawn of the White House yesterday.Patrick Semansky/AP

Spicer thinks Trump was coming on strong even before the RNC.

“I think that the Democrats — between Harris and the convention — should have had a major bump and they didn’t get it. The president has got to be feeling good going into this week.”

He added: “I think he is in really good shape. You are seeing the poll number start to tighten, particularly in those battleground states.”

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