RNC chair on election: We are on track to win the White House

Republican National Committee (RNC) Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel expressed confidence that President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Pelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick ‘threatens’ Affordable Care Act MORE will win reelection this year as a tight race brews in the final sprint to Election Day.

“We’re on track to reelect the president and keep the Senate and win back to the House. Everything has been turning in our direction. We have a ground game. The energy is there,” she said Sunday on John Catsimatidis’s radio show on WABC 770 AM.

“We’re not taking our foot off the gas.”

McDaniel also said she thinks Trump will be able to handle former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Joe Biden should enact critical government reforms if he wins MORE, the Democratic presidential nominee, in next week’s debate in Ohio.

“His team is trying to figure out how he’s going to handle the president, who is a tough debater. Of course, Joe Biden has had 47 years. He’s been in politics his whole life. He’s done well on one-on-one debates with Bernie SandersBernie SandersTrump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Sanders tells Maher ‘there will be a number of plans’ to remove Trump if he loses Sirota reacts to report of harassment, doxing by Harris supporters MORE and Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanKenosha will be a good bellwether in 2020 At indoor rally, Pence says election runs through Wisconsin Juan Williams: Breaking down the debates MORE and Sarah Palin,” she said, referring to the 2008 and 2012 GOP vice presidential nominees.

McDaniel pointed to Biden’s policies on energy, taxes and more, adding, “he’s going to have to answer for some of these stances that … have taken him so far left.”

The confidence from McDaniel comes as polls show Trump trailing Biden nationally and in crucial swing states, albeit by narrowing margins.

The first presidential debated is slated to take place on Tuesday. 

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Trump campaign mulls return to White House, despite backlash over RNC event

WASHINGTON — Trump campaign aides are weighing another event on White House grounds around Election Day, despite criticism over the venue’s use as a political prop during the Republican convention.

There have been serious discussions about the logistics of pulling off an political event there in the closing days or hours of the race, following President Donald Trump’s satisfaction with his convention address on the White House South Lawn, according to two people familiar with the planning.

During the Republican convention, the president was criticized for using the White House as the backdrop for a purely political event, with several former government ethics officials saying it represented a misuse of public resources for personal gain. Throughout the election cycle, Trump has repeatedly blurred the lines between where the office of the president ends and the campaign begins, using official remarks and trips to attack his fall rival, Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

Convention events held at the White House involved the construction of a large stage and the placement of 1,500 chairs on the grounds, resulting in extensive sod damage. The Trump campaign has said it is paying for repairs.

No final decision has been made and plans could still change, the people said. The Trump campaign declined to comment.

Several scenarios are being discussed, according to the sources. One possibility under consideration would be for Trump to hold an election night victory party there with supporters, similar to the sort of event that a candidate might hold in a hotel ballroom, said one person. Another option being considered is a rally-style event at the White House on the eve of the election, said a second person.

Organizers see two big potential obstacles to holding another event at the White House weather and protests.

An outdoor crowd of hundreds of people in early November may not encounter ideal seasonal conditions, though the White House does occasionally host cold-weather outdoor events in the vicinity, such as the annual Christmas tree lighting.

Even if the weather cooperated, the president’s opponents might not: Following Trump’s convention speech, protestors loudly confronted attendees such as Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky as they exited the White House gates.

The number of demonstrators in Washington is expected to be even greater around the election, creating a concern for organizers about how to pull off a seamless entrance and exit for attendees, said one of the people involved in the planning.

Other suggested Trump election night locations being considered include the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, site of most of the convention speeches, and Trump’s own Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, the person said.

President Barack Obama delivered his re-election night victory speech in 2012 from his hometown of Chicago, and President George W. Bush spoke from the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington in 2004. In 2016, Trump watched the results from his Manhattan apartment and gave a speech to a relatively small gathering at a Hilton hotel down the street.

With a larger number of votes

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South Lawn, Rose Garden at White House needs repairs after RNC

The Rose Garden repairs come just weeks after the White House completed a major and controversial renovation of the garden intended, in part, to improve drainage.

WASHINGTON — Editor’s Note: The video above is Melania Trump’s RNC speech from the White House Rose Garden on Aug. 25, 2020.

The Rose Garden has been a muddy mess and the South Lawn marred by brown patches since President Donald Trump used them as backdrops for last month’s Republican National Convention.

Both are undergoing extensive re-sodding as crews work to repair the damage, which was clearly visible this week and last. The Rose Garden repairs come just weeks after the White House completed a major renovation of the garden intended, in part, to improve drainage issues.

“The sod is being replaced at no cost to taxpayers. Additionally, there has been other planned infrastructure work taking place on the south grounds,” said White House spokesman Judd Deere. He added that the work is expected to be completed by early Wednesday or Thursday, barring more bad weather.

The president’s reelection campaign is paying for the work.

The damage comes after Trump upended long-held norms separating campaigning and governance by using the White House grounds as the stage for a partisan political event.

First lady Melania Trump delivered her convention speech in the newly-refurbished Rose Garden and the president formally accepted his party’s nomination on the South Lawn in front of more than a thousand people seated in rows of closely-packed white chairs, despite the ongoing pandemic.

The Republican National Committee and officials in the East Wing of the White House, which oversaw the Rose Garden renovation, did not respond to questions about the damage.

RELATED: Spruced-up White House Rose Garden set for First Lady Melania Trump’s RNC speech

RELATED: Melania Trump announces Rose Garden ‘renewal’ project

The White House noted that some sod replacement is not unusual after major events, including the annual Easter Egg Roll and major state visits, especially if heavy foot traffic follows heavy rain. And since the sod is already being replaced, some other upgrades are being done as well.

The president delivered his televised acceptance speech the final night of the convention in front of an audience of about 1,500 people, according to organizers. The event featured a large stage, giant screens and other equipment set on the South Lawn, in front of the majestic Washington Monument, and was capped by an elaborate fireworks show.

The first lady held her event earlier in the week in the Rose Garden following extensive renovations that included the removal of crab apple trees, the addition of a 3-foot (0.91-meter)-wide limestone walking path, as well as what had been described as improvements to the garden’s drainage and broadcasting infrastructure. That work was paid for with private donations and approved by the Committee for the Preservation of the White House.

Officials noted that setup for the event began just after the renovation and after a span of heavy rain, and suggested that the new sod

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WH South Lawn, Rose Garden being re-sodded following RNC speeches

The White House South Lawn and Rose Garden are being re-sodded following damage to the greenery after the Republican National Convention was held there two weeks ago, ABC News has confirmed with White House and campaign officials.



a group of people walking in front of a crowd: A crowd of supporters waits for President Donald Trump to deliver his acceptance speech during the final event of the 2020 Republican National Convention on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Aug. 27, 2020.


© Carlos Barria/Reuters, FILE
A crowd of supporters waits for President Donald Trump to deliver his acceptance speech during the final event of the 2020 Republican National Convention on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Aug. 27, 2020.

“The sod is being replaced at no cost to taxpayers,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said in a statement. “Additionally, there has been other planned infrastructure work taking place on the south grounds.”

The president’s reelection campaign is footing the bill for the sod work, a senior Trump campaign official said.

MORE: White House tries to walk back Trump attack on Pentagon chiefs as beholden to arms dealers

In an unprecedented move in August, the White House became the site of the RNC amid the coronavirus pandemic. The move was criticized by many who saw the use of government property for a political event as unethical, and Democrats have accused RNC participants of violating the Hatch Act, a law that bars some government employees of engaging in political activity while acting in their official capacities.

MORE: What you should know about the 1939 law the RNC is accused of violating

It took almost all summer for the RNC to settle on a final location for the convention. Originally, the RNC was set to be held entirely in Charlotte, North Carolina. But in May, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said the convention should be scaled down due to the pandemic.



a group of people standing in front of a crowd: President Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech for the Republican Party nomination for reelection during the final day of the Republican National Convention from the South Lawn of the White House on Aug. 27, 2020, in Washington.


© Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images, FILE
President Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech for the Republican Party nomination for reelection during the final day of the Republican National Convention from the South Lawn of the White House on Aug. 27, 2020, in Washington.

In early June, it was announced that the main convention’s location was moved to Jacksonville, Florida. But by the end of July, coronavirus cases in Florida were spiking. On July 23, about a month out from when the convention would begin, President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that the events in Jacksonville had been canceled. It wasn’t until Aug. 14 that the convention’s main location, the nation’s capital, was finalized.

MORE: Trump steps up using White House as RNC backdrop despite ethical, legal concerns

On the final night of the convention, Aug. 27, Trump formally accepted the Republican nomination from the South Lawn of the White House. The speech was delivered to an audience of nearly 1,500, according to estimates. The crowd was not socially distanced, and masks were few and far between. The president spoke on a massive stage built in front of the South Portico, while the audience filled the South Lawn.

First lady Melania Trump also delivered her convention speech from the White House. She spoke to a small crowd — also not

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Trump campaign paying to repair damage to White House grounds from RNC events

The Trump campaign is footing the bill for sod replacement needed on the White House grounds after various Republican National Convention events held there last month damaged parts of the South Lawn and Rose Garden, a senior campaign official told NBC News on Tuesday.

The amount to repair the landscape is unknown, but a White House official said it is not completely uncommon across administrations after major events take place on the complex lawns for repairs to be done.

The White House also confirmed the payment in a statement.

“The sod is being replaced at no cost to taxpayers. Additionally, there has been other planned infrastructure work taking place on the south grounds,” White House spokesman Judd Deere told NBC News.

However, the campaign paying the costs could draw the ire of ethics officials, who previously raised serious objections to a political convention featuring several government officials, including the president and vice president, being held at the White House. Under a federal law known as the Hatch Act, government employees are prohibited from engaging in certain political activities and using government resources for political campaigning.

The Rose Garden underwent extensive renovations just prior to first lady Melania Trump’s speech. The first lady worked for months with historians, horticulturists, and others to restore the Rose Garden to its original 1962 design for her speech.

There were more than 1,500 people gathered on the White House grounds during President Donald Trump’s nomination acceptance speech, which required heavy equipment for large-scale production, including staging and lights.

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Trump Campaign Paying to Repair RNC Damages to White House

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White House Rose Garden, South Lawn under repair following damages sustained during RNC

Crews have been hard at work at the White House to replace sod on the South Lawn and in the Rose Garden that was damaged during the Republican National Convention last month.

The Washington Post reports that President Trump’s re-election campaign is paying for the repairs, and White House spokesman Judd Deere confirmed the “sod is being replaced at no cost to taxpayers. Additionally, there has been other planned infrastructure work taking place on the south grounds.”

On Aug. 25, first lady Melania Trump spoke before a crowd of supporters in the Rose Garden, and a White House official told the Post crews tried to protect the grass by placing turf on top of it. Two nights later, the president formally accepted the GOP nomination from a massive stage on the South Lawn, in front of 1,500 seated supporters. The area was also filled with giant television screens and large spotlights, which was brought in on heavy equipment.

Typically, outdoor news conferences are held in the Rose Garden, but on Monday, Trump addressed reporters from the North Portico of the White House, to keep journalists away from seeing one of the areas being worked on, the Post reports. Officials have not said how much the repairs will cost.

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