Who and what to expect at the Republican National Convention

The Republican National Convention — typically an opportunity for party unity — will showcase an increasingly radicalized and Trump-centric party, casting the former president’s disloyal opponents out. 

The Milwaukee, Wisconsin event, in which Donald Trump will formally receive his third nomination for president, will begin on Sunday, days after reports that the party’s official platform would give states the right to promote fetal personhood, allowing for more widespread abortion prosecution. And the guest list is a who’s who of MAGA elite and wannabe elite. 

Despite initially seeing no slotted speaking time, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis will reportedly make remarks to attendees at the RNC after a schedule change.

“We have been told for a while we had a speaking slot and have never been told we do not,” a source close to DeSantis told NBC News, quelling speculation after the former candidate’s notable absence from a previously published schedule.

DeSantis was among numerous challengers to the former president in a primary race but was more effective than others in mending his relationship with Trump, whose age, numerous criminal proceedings, and role in the January 6 riots won him a more serious primary challenge than his opponent, Joe Biden

Absent from the convention will be former South Carolina Governor and once-presidential hopeful Nikki Haley, whose past criticism of Trump as dangerous and chaotic didn’t stop her from releasing her delegates to vote for him.

The former president — once rebuking converted donors and voters who previously supported Haley — is not quite ready to welcome his former U.N. ambassador back into the fold, it would seem.

“She’s fine with that,” Haley spokesperson Chaney Denton told Politico of the snub. “Trump deserves the convention he wants. She’s made it clear she’s voting for him and wishes him the best.”

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On the official agenda are policy forums from the Heritage Foundation, the group behind the far-reaching Project 2025, despite Trump’s baseless claims that he had no affiliation to the 922-page manifesto that calls for government worker purges, a national porn ban, and other far-right policy goals.

Delegates will be able to engage in a policy symposium put on by the think tank — whose leader promised violence if the left pushed back on his “revolution” — and learn about the group’s proposal to upend the federal government.

Per the group’s website, the event will outline the foundation’s “plan to target the moral and foundational challenges America faces in this moment of history,” paralleling the language used in the foreword to Project 2025’s manifesto.

But the Heritage Foundation is hardly the only far-right organization that the party will champion at its official flagship event.

Moms for Liberty — a group that pushes fervorous anti-transgender and anti-critical race theory rhetoric, has been named an extremist group by civil rights watchdog the Southern Poverty Law Center, and got caught quoting Adolf Hitler — will host its own Tuesday panel.

Another likely attendee, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, is Kyle Rittenhouse, who killed two demonstrators in a protest against police violence, mirroring a 2020 RNC guest spot from a St. Louis couple who waved guns at passing Black Lives Matter protestors.

The convention is also set to include speeches and appearances from reality TV personality Amber Rose, Ultimate Fighting Championship executive Dana White, and other C-listers.

Despite the cacophony of far-right voices, Milwaukee business owners have noted the stunning lack of events and economic impact from the convention as compared to past Republican Party gatherings.

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