Republican National Convention 2020: Trump's White House speech & other unusual plans

Watch as Eurasia Group's Jon Lieber previews the RNC 2020:

The Republicans are meeting this week for their convention, a mostly virtual affair, because the 336 delegates are still going to get together in Charlotte, North Carolina, to do all the convention business, including the roll call of states that will officially nominate the president. This is happening because the convention rules didn't allow changes that would require it to go all virtual like the Democrats did.

Other highlights of the week are going to be President Trump's speech from the White House lawn, which has raised both ethical and legal concerns that the White House seems unconcerned about. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is giving an address from a business trip in Jerusalem, which has been unusual. And you've got a couple from Missouri who's being accused of a felony for pointing guns at protesters walking by their property a couple weeks ago. This gets at one of the themes of the convention, which is going to have a strong focus on Democratic policies that the Republicans are going to argue undermine American greatness, cater to the radical left, and are going to reverse all the progress that's been made under President Trump.

One other unusual thing is that there's no party platform this year. Usually the party's wonks get together every four years to put together a statement of what the party stands for and what they're going to win, should they take back the White House. Usually this is routinely ignored by politicians. And so this year, the Republicans decided to just get rid of the convention altogether and recycle the old platform from 2016. The president is bringing in a couple of reality TV producers, including one that worked with him on The Celebrity Apprentice, to help make this a really good show. It's going for half an hour longer than the Democrats did in primetime. And the president's hoping that he can get some kind of approval rating bounce. Right now, he's at the bottom of his range between 40% and 42%. And his approval right now, there was an Ispos poll released over the weekend that suggested Biden got about a five-point bounce to his favorability rating coming out of his convention, and that's kind of thing the president is looking for here.

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Political division, disinformation and, frankly, stupidity are costing lives. It is not authoritarian to mandate vaccines in America. In fact, there is historical precedent. Making vaccine uptake a requirement will save tens of thousands of lives and maybe many more than that. There really aren't two sides to this argument, there is just the science.

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here. Hope you're having a good week. I wanted to kick it off by talking about vaccines. We all know the recent spike in cases and even hospitalizations that we have experienced in this country over the past couple of weeks. It looks like that's going to continue. It is overwhelmingly because of Delta variant. The hospitalizations and deaths are overwhelmingly because too many people are un-vaccinated.

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7,100: As a third COVID wave ravages Myanmar, the death toll has now risen above 7,100, a gross undercount because that total includes only those who died in hospitals. Myanmar, which has one of the weakest healthcare systems in Asia, is also dealing with a vaccine hesitancy problem: people are rejecting shots because they see vaccination as validation of the military, which overthrew the democratically elected government earlier this year.

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Tunisia, the only country that emerged a democracy from the Arab Spring, is now in the middle of its worst political crisis since it got rid of former autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali over a decade ago.

On Sunday, the 64th anniversary of the country's independence from France, President Kais Saied responded to widespread protests over the ailing economy and COVID by firing embattled Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and suspending parliament for 30 days. Troops have surrounded the legislature, where rival crowds faced off on Monday, with one side chanting in support of the move and the other denouncing it as a coup.

How did we get here, do we even know who's really in charge, and what might come next?

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This time last year, world health experts were speculating about why Africa appeared to have escaped the worst of the global pandemic. Younger populations? Natural immunity created by exposure to past viruses? Something else?

They can stop wondering. Africa is now in the grip of a COVID emergency.

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"We've been dealing with pandemics from the earliest recorded history. Thucydides writes about a pandemic in the history of the Peloponnesian War. So the last thing 2020 was, was unprecedented," Stanford historian Niall Ferguson told Ian Bremmer on GZERO World. Ferguson, whose new book, "Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe," believes that the world should have been better prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic based on the numerous health crises of the 20th century, from the 1918 Spanish flu to influenza and HIV/AIDS. He provides perspective on how the COVID crisis stacks up compared to other pandemics throughout history.

Watch the episode: Predictable disaster and the surprising history of shocks

COVID-19 was a global catastrophe that blindsided the world's wealthiest nations, and it's far from over. But as disasters go, it was hardly unprecedented. Humanity has a long history of failing to prepare for the worst, from volcanic eruptions to earthquakes to famines to shipwrecks to airplane crashes to financial depressions. But how do we get better at preventing such calamities from happening, and how many seemingly unavoidable "natural" disasters are actually caused by humans? On GZERO World, Ian Bremmer talks about all that and more with Stanford historian Niall Ferguson, who is just out with the perfect book for the topic, "Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe." Plus, a look at how one young Ugandan activist was literally cropped out of the global climate fight.

Listen: Stanford historian Niall Ferguson joins Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World podcast to talk about the geopolitics of disaster. Throughout human history we seem to be unable to adequately prepare for catastrophes (natural or human-caused) before they strike. Why is that? And as we emerge from the greatest calamity of our lifetimes in the COVID-19 pandemic and look to the plethora of crises that climate change has and will cause, what can we do to lessen the blow?

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