The Republican National Convention is handling things a little differently this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Most speakers are either addressing viewers from remote locations at home, or they did pre-recorded (and in some cases live) speeches from one location in Washington, D.C.
Most Speeches Are Taking Place at the Mellon Auditorium
Many of the speeches that you are seeing tonight, and over the next few days, were recorded at The Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. The stage was set up with American flags in the background, and many delivered pre-recorded speeches from there, The New York Times reported.
The Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium is close to the Trump International Hotel, Politico reported, and is the central location for the convention speeches. Here’s a map of where it’s located:
The auditorium was originally called the Departmental Auditorium, and it connects the wings of the William Jefferson Clinton Federal Building. It was originally built as part of the Federal Triangle development, and the cornerstones were laid by President Hoover in 1932.
The auditorium has been the site of some major historical moments, including President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s announcement that he was re-instituting the draft in 1940 and the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty that established NATO in 1949. President Bill Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994 at the auditorium, and the 9/11 Commission released its findings there in 2004.
Here’s a video of the 1994 NAFTA signing at the auditorium:
Some Speakers Will Be at Different Locations
Charlotte, North Carolina is the host city for the convention, but speakers aren’t addressing the public from there. In fact, NBC News reported that the city seemed mostly deserted as the convention kicked off.
At one point, President Donald Trump decided to move the convention to Jacksonville, Florida, but then dropped those plans as the pandemic got worse. The procedural portion was ultimately held in Charlotte, but the major speeches are taking place in D.C. The event in Charlotte was even closed to press, CNN reported. Many delegates didn’t even go to Charlotte in person, but instead only one for every six delegates took part in voting (for a total of 336 out of almost 2,500, NPR reported.)
Masks and temperature checks were required of delegates who attended in person in Charlotte.
A few speakers will be addressing viewers from a different location. Some are speaking from home or other remote locations.
First Lady Melania Trump is expected to speak from the newly renovated Rose Garden at the White House. Her renovation has gotten some controversy, but some of the facts about it were wrong too. Crabapple trees were removed, not cherry trees, and the trees weren’t chopped down — they are being replanted on a different location on the White House grounds, USA Today reported. Former First Lady Nancy Reagan first discussed removing the crabapple trees, thinking they had grown too large and were shading other plants too much.
And President Donald Trump is expected to give his acceptance speech on Thursday from the White House.