The version of the Republican National Convention that came to Charlotte on Monday was significantly smaller than the extravagant celebration originally planned.
But the abbreviated convention still created a few interesting moments and surprises as 336 delegates re-nominated Donald Trump as the Republican candidate for president. The president and vice president made unannounced trips to Charlotte on Monday to address the small crowd gathered in a ballroom at the Charlotte Convention Center. Among that crowd were prominent figures in the Republican Party, some with ties to North Carolina.
[Related Agenda story: An unconventional convention: Finally, the RNC is in Charlotte. Kind of.]
Here are 10 more interesting tidbits from Charlotte’s portion of the RNC:
(1) President Trump spoke for 52 minutes and 30 seconds.
“I felt an obligation to be here,” Trump said. “You have a governor who is in a total shutdown mood.” His surprise speech touched on a range of topics, from the stock market to poll numbers to the post office to vaccines. Multiple times, he claimed that the only way his opponent would win is if there is a “rigged election” in November. He also incorrectly referred to coronavirus as the “China virus” multiple times.
(2) Without explicitly naming him, Trump praised Madison Cawthorn, who is running for North Carolina’s 11th congressional district.
“He’s going to be a real star in the party,” Trump said. Cawthorn, 25, won his primary in June and lives in Hendersonville, near Asheville.
(3) Masks were required during the convention, but many in attendance didn’t wear one.
After Trump’s speech delegates without face coverings could be seen on a live stream crowding the stage. Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris reached out to the RNC about the lack of adherence to pandemic guidelines, the Charlotte Observer reported.
(4) The convention’s roll call of states included a number of prominent Republican Trump supporters.
Among the Republicans who spoke during the convention were Michael Lindell, CEO of My Pillow, of Minnesota; South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster; former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. At one point, McMaster proudly boasted that he and his wife are proud owners of two of Michael Lindell’s pillows.
Several Republicans with North Carolina ties will speak later in the convention including: Cawthorn, Franklin Graham, Lara Trump, and Clarence Henderson.
(5) Hoopbus riders “dunked” on the president.
The decommissioned school bus, outfitted with a basketball hoop outside it and NBA legend, Black Lives Matter, and Breonna Taylor posters inside, allowed passersby to play ball. Just under the bus’s hoop is a mini Donald Trump balloon wearing a white diaper.
Founded by Nico Ansom, the bus has been traveling around the country to protest racial injustice by inviting people to hoop this summer. The Charlotte stop makes “over 60 protests,” Ansom told the Agenda. “We hoop for justice. We dunk on racism.”
(6) The goodie bags looked pretty cool.
Delegates received cookies, snacks, and Cheerwine when they landed at Charlotte-Douglas Airport on Sunday. Delegates also received goodies at their hotel rooms and at the convention center. Think RNC-branded items like face masks, water bottles, stickers, and pins.
(7) Singer/actress Mary Millben sang a longer version of the National Anthem to open the convention.
The extended Star Spangled Banner drew both praise and head-scratching over social media. It’s not exactly clear which version she was singing, but some have pointed to one by Christian singer Sandi Patty, who sang it at a rededication of the Statue of Liberty in 1986.
(8) Despite the condensed convention, delegates still got to see parts of Charlotte with a couple weekend field trips.
Buses took guests to popular spots like Hoppin’ and TopGolf, according to WSOC’s Joe Bruno. Another group of delegates headed to Fleming’s Steakhouse.
(9) Politicians on both sides of the aisle dig Midwood Smokehouse.
In 2016, President Barack Obama and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton visited the Plaza Midwood barbecue restaurant. On Sunday afternoon, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and his crew dined there, quietly arriving in a line of SUVs with at least two Secret Service agents. No word on what they ordered, but we enjoyed mimosas and queso.
[Related Agenda guide: 5 best barbecue spots in Charlotte]
(10) One person was arrested during the convention Monday morning for trespassing.
CMPD arrested someone for hopping over a 4-foot fence along the light rail, which was closed for a stretch during the RNC, according to convention officials. The fence was part of the security area, but it wasn’t where any of the convention activity was taking place.