The Note: Trump uses diversity as shield and weapon at convention

"I know what racism is, and it isn't Donald Trump," Herschel Walker said.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

President Donald Trump's campaign has reached from the top rungs into lesser-known tiers of the GOP to showcase convention speakers who do not necessarily reflect where the party is or the challenges in where it will have to go in reaching voters of color.

All talked at least in passing about their racial identities -- and several offered implicit or explicit defenses of a president who has long been accused of outright racism.

"America is not a racist country," Haley said.

"I know what racism is, and it isn't Donald Trump," Walker said.

Tuesday's speakers will include a Latina lieutenant governor, Jeannette Nunez of Florida, and a Black attorney general, Daniel Cameron of Kentucky. Lineups for later in the week include Housing and Urban Affairs Secretary Ben Carson, the only Black member of Trump's Cabinet, and Burgess Owens, a Black former NFL player who is running for Congress in Utah.

It's been suggested that Trump highlights the support he has among people of color not necessarily to garner more Black and Latino votes, but to make his white supporters more comfortable about supporting him.

Regardless of the intent, in this moment -- with Sen. Kamala Harris' placement on the ticket making history and tensions rising in Wisconsin after another incident with a police officer killing a Black man -- the faces that Republicans put before voters this week matter.

ABC News Live will kick off primetime coverage each day at 7 p.m. ET on the network's streaming news channel and primetime coverage will air from 10-11 p.m. ET each night of the convention on the ABC Television Network.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

Melania Trump will headline the GOP convention program Tuesday night. It's a lot of pressure for the first lady.

Her convention speech four years ago was widely teased after it appeared parts were perhaps plagiarized from an older speech by Michelle Obama, and since taking office Melania Trump has seemed to struggle to connect with a wide-range of voters across party lines, compared to her predecessors.

This week, has already been tough for Melania Trump. Monday, news broke that a former friend was reportedly planning to recount times she spoke ill of the president's older children in a new book. And over the weekend, the first lady's team faced criticism for celebrating their recent renovation of the Rose Garden at the White House.

With the coronavirus pandemic still taking American lives and livelihoods each day, the optics of time spent on an outdoor remodel were less than ideal. More, the garden revamp was a reminder that Melania Trump planned to give her remarks this week from that very spot. Regardless of the cosmetics, the location choice has raised serious ethical concerns.

Of course, the first lady is not alone, the president and others are also set to give their political, convention speeches from the White House this week, although it is a government building paid for and maintained by taxpayers.

The TIP with Quinn Scanlan

On the heels of a convention that was criticized for heavily featuring members of the Democratic Party's "Old Guard," Republicans are showcasing a slate of candidates hoping to unseat Democratic incumbents this November to join the halls of Congress as a part of a new generation of GOPers. Regardless of whether Trump wins reelection, some of these candidates delivered Trumpian messages on the first night of the RNC -- underscoring just how likely it is that Trumpism might outlast the president himself.

"Joe Biden believes we can't think for ourselves, that the color of someone's skin dictates their political views," said Kim Klacik, a Black 38-year-old Republican running in Maryland's majority Black 7th Congressional District. In a campaign ad that went viral thanks to a retweet from Trump, Klacik walks past abandoned buildings in Baltimore's inner city, delivering a similar message to the one she gave during Monday night's programming, that Democrats have failed Black Americans.

"We're not buying the lies anymore. You and your party have neglected us for far too long," she said in a video message from a federal opportunity zone in West Baltimore.

Sean Parnell, a decorated Army combat veteran running in Pennsylvania's 17th Congressional District, spoke about being attacked and wounded by the Taliban while serving in Afghanistan before railing against the Democratic Party, saying, "I look across the aisle and I do not see a party that wants you to pursue your dreams. ... I don't see a party that wants you to be free. I see a party that wants to chain you to conformity and will destroy anyone they deem a heretic."

On Wednesday, 25-year-old real estate investor Madison Cawthorn and Super Bowl champion Burgess Owens will speak. After winning his primary in North Carolina's solidly Republican 10th Congressional District, Cawthorn -- who was paralyzed in a nearly fatal car accident in 2014 -- is likely to become the youngest member of Congress. Owens is hoping to bring Utah's 4th Congressional District back into Republican control after the party narrowly lost in 2018. He told the Deseret News that he plans to talk about growing up Black in the segregated South, and convey that he is part of a "party of hope" that recognizes "how far we've come as, 'We the people.'"

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Tuesday morning's episode features Republican strategist and ABC News contributor Sara Fagen, who tells us how the party is framing their message as the Republican National Convention gets underway. ABC News' Alex Perez joins us from Kenosha, Wisconsin, where a curfew is in effect following the police shooting of an unarmed black man. And, we check in with Florida school teacher Meghan Hanrahan as the state grapples with how to safely reopen schools http://apple.co/2HPocUL

ABC News' "Powerhouse Politics" Podcast. Pollster Frank Luntz joins ABC News Political Director Rick Klein and Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl after the first day of the Republican National Convention. On Monday, former New Jersey Governor and ABC News Contributor Chris Christie told the hosts that he hopes that President Donald Trump lays out an agenda at the Republican National Convention because he believes that has been the biggest failing of the Trump campaign so far. https://bit.ly/2w091jE

FiveThirtyEight's Politics Podcast. Joe Biden took center stage on the final night of the Democratic National Convention to accept his party's nomination for president. In a late-night taping, the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast crew discusses his positioning as a "good guy" who can appeal to a broad cross-section of Americans. Will the left reject him? And will former Republicans trust him? https://53eig.ht/2E06IDH

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • Former Ambassador to the United Nations and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley joins ABC's "Good Morning America."
  • President Donald Trump attends the first lady's remarks to the Republican National Convention at 10:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday's RNC speakers include first lady Melania Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, Eric Trump and Tiffany Trump.
  • Download the ABC News app and select "The Note" as an item of interest to receive the day's sharpest political analysis.

    The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.

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