(Reuters) – Vice President Mike Pence will deliver remarks from historic Fort McHenry in Maryland during the Republican National Convention, a campaign official said on Friday, while President Donald Trump said he will likely give his address from the White House.
The plans for the convention, which starts on Aug. 24, have already drawn criticism from Democrats and ethics experts, who have raised concerns about the use of federal property for partisan advantage.
Meanwhile, Democrats will showcase some musical star power at their own convention next week, with the likes of John Legend, Common, Billie Eilish and the Chicks – formerly the Dixie Chicks – all set to perform during the four-night event that starts on Monday, officials said on Friday.
Both conventions, which are typically raucous affairs inside packed arenas, have been turned almost entirely into virtual affairs due to the coronavirus pandemic. The two events kick off what will be a frenetic two months of campaigning ahead of the Nov. 3 election between Trump and Democrat Joe Biden.
Biden, the former vice president, and Senator Kamala Harris of California will formally accept the Democratic nominations for president and vice president at next week’s convention, while Trump and Pence will be nominated for a second four-year term a week later.
Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, one of only two African-American Republicans in Congress, will be a featured speaker, as well as former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, first lady Melania Trump and Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa, according to a Trump campaign official.
By tradition, Trump will speak on Aug. 27, the convention’s final night. He told the New York Post on Thursday he planned to deliver his acceptance speech from the South Lawn of the White House after also considering the Civil War battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Pence will make his acceptance speech on Aug. 26 from another historic site: the Fort McHenry National Monument and Shrine in Baltimore. An unsuccessful British attack on the fort was the inspiration for the national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Democrats have lined up the party’s leading lights for their convention, including former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, and 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
Billionaire former presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, a late addition, will speak on one of the nights, though the schedule has not yet been finalized, according to a source familiar with the programming who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The former New York City mayor, who spent $1 billion of his own money on his abbreviated campaign, has vowed to spend heavily to defeat Trump, though he has not yet announced any specific plans.
Several other former contenders for the nomination will also appear, as the party seeks to present a unified front ahead of the Nov. 3 election. The list includes Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Cory Booker of New Jersey and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Biden will speak from his home state of Delaware on Thursday, the convention’s final night, while Harris will do so on Wednesday.
In an effort to counterprogram the Democratic convention, Trump will travel to the key battleground states of Minnesota, Arizona and Wisconsin on Monday and Tuesday and give speeches attacking Biden, the campaign said.
Preparations were also being made for a possible Trump visit to Charlotte, North Carolina, on Aug. 24, a campaign adviser said, the day that a small number of Republican delegates will gather there to formally nominate Trump.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax and Steve Holland; editing by Jonathan Oatis)