Duped Speakers and Conspiracy Theorists: Who Took Part in the Chaotic RNC?

The Republican National Convention was based on one principle: chaos. Speakers had to be swapped out at the last minute after their fringe views were exposed, while others remained invited despite holding similar extreme beliefs. And when Republicans couldn’t find actual Trump supporters to speak, they duped people into appearing.

Neither the White House nor the RNC told immigrants their naturalization ceremony would be used in a video for the convention. 

Wall Street Journal: “Sudha Narayanan and Neimat Awadelseid looked forward to Tuesday—the day, after a yearslong process, they would become U.S. citizens. They found out only minutes before the ceremony that President Trump would attend, and they didn’t know it would be aired during the Republican convention that night.”

In New York City, public housing residents were tricked into appearing in a politicized convention video by staffers from the Trump administration. 

New York Times: “Four tenants soon assembled in front of a video camera and were interviewed for more than four hours by Ms. Patton herself. Three of the tenants were never told that their interviews would be edited into a two-minute video clip that would air prominently on Thursday night at the Republican National Convention and be used to bash Mayor Bill de Blasio, the three tenants said in interviews on Friday. ‘I am not a Trump supporter,’ said one of the tenants, Claudia Perez. ‘I am not a supporter of his racist policies on immigration. I am a first-generation Honduran. It was my people he was sending back.’”

On Tuesday, the RNC had to abruptly cancel an appearance by a speaker who tweeted an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. 

CNN: “A speaker who was scheduled to deliver remarks at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday was abruptly removed from the program after she retweeted a thread promoting an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory with ties to the fringe conspiracy theory, QAnon. … Mendoza had tweeted, ‘Do yourself a favor and read this thread’ in reference to a string of conspiratorial tweets about a Jewish plan to control the world.”

Yet they allowed a speaker to participate who has expressed support for policies that bar women and people of color from voting. 

The 19th*: “Anti-abortion activist Abby Johnson, who will speak on Tuesday during the second night of the Republican National Convention, has advocated in recent months for a head-of-household voting system that has historically barred women and people of color from casting ballots. ‘What is the most controversial thing you believe?’ Johnson asked on Twitter in early May. ‘I would support bringing back household voting,’ Johnson replied to her tweet. ‘How anti-feminist of me.’”

And they invited a QAnon conspiracy theorist to attend Trump’s speech at the White House. 

Business Insider: “President Donald Trump has invited a supporter of the QAnon conspiracy theory to attend his speech for the Republican National Convention, a move that comes the same day that a bipartisan congressional resolution was introduced condemning the deranged hoax. ‘I’m honored and thrilled to be invited to attend President Trump’s acceptance speech Thursday evening at the White House,’ Marjorie Taylor Greene, a congressional candidate in Georgia, tweeted on Tuesday.”

Leonard Cohen’s estate made it clear to the RNC they did not have permission to play his song, “Hallelujah,” yet they did anyway. 

Vulture: “In fact, they specifically told the RNC they couldn’t use ‘Hallelujah,’ but they did anyway. Twice. Now, the estate says, they plan on ‘exploring our legal options.’ ‘We are surprised and dismayed that the RNC would proceed knowing that the Cohen Estate had specifically declined the RNC’s use request, and their rather brazen attempt to politicize and exploit in such an egregious manner ‘Hallelujah,’ one of the most important songs in the Cohen song catalogue,’ Michelle L. Rice, the legal rep for the Leonard Cohen estate said in a statement Friday. ‘We are exploring our legal options.’”