TENNESSEAN: Trump taps Tennessee US Sen. Marsha Blackburn as Republican National Convention speaker

By Sandy Mazza

August 23, 2020

President Donald Trump tapped Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn to speak at the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, this week, his campaign announced Sunday. 

This will be the fourth RNC appearance for Blackburn, who became the first woman from Tennessee elected to the U.S. Senate in 2018. She previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the Tennessee State Senate. 

“It’s an honor to say the least,” Blackburn said in an interview with The Tennessean on Sunday. “I think that, after the Democratic convention, many people felt it had been very negative. They spent all their time talking about what they don’t like about Donald Trump.”

The four-day 2020 RNC, themed “Honoring the Great American Story,” begins Monday.

“President Trump’s 2020 Convention will honor the great American story, the American people that have written it, and how President Donald J. Trump’s Make America Great Again agenda has empowered them to succeed,” Trump’s campaign said.

Marsha Blackburn gestures toward President Donald Trump at a Nashville rally during her U.S. Senate campaign in 2018. Sen. Blackburn will speak at the 2020 Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Blackburn spoke at the party’s conventions in 2008 and 2012, and also in 2016 after she was considered as a potential vice presidential candidate for Trump. 

She is slated to speak on Wednesday, along with Vice President Mike Pence, Kellyanne Conway, Lara Trump, U.S. representatives from Texas and New York, and Iowa U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, among others. The detailed schedule with times has not yet been announced.

Trump’s decision to include her in the event highlights her as one of the party’s most prominent representatives. 

Blackburn’s political positions include promoting anti-abortion policies, reducing federal spending, increasing border security and combating the opioid epidemic. 

She said America’s “heroes” will be the theme of her speech Wednesday, and that she will include personal stories of some Tennesseans.

“We are the Volunteer State and I’m so grateful for ordinary people who have just shown up throughout the tornadoes and COVID-19 to help,”  Blackburn said. “I’m thrilled to be able to honor them and our nation’s healthcare heroes, our military, our law enforcement. 

“It’s important for us all to remember freedom and freedom’s cause. This country has become great and a protector of freedom around the globe because of the people and the work they do.”

Blackburn said the convention will also focus on specific policy issues, which she said were largely absent from the Democratic National Convention.

“(Trump) has kept his word. He’s done exactly what he said he was going to do and I talk to Tennesseans every day who appreciate that,” she said. “He’s secured the southern border and made certain the healthcare options are better for us. We’re having jobs growth, manufacturing, dealing with China. Even with the blow we’ve been dealt with COVID-19, the federal agencies were moving slowly so he called in the private sector.”

The convention will stream live all week on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Twitch and Amazon Prime.

In June, Republican Party officials announced that they would move the convention to Jacksonville, Florida, over a dispute with Charlotte officials over health and safety protocols.

The move came after several cities, including Nashville, were considered to host the event.

But those plans were canceled in July amid a spike in Florida’s coronavirus cases.

Now the event will be held mostly virtually, like the Democratic National Convention.

Here is a full list of speakers by day:


  • Sen. Tim Scott (SC)
  • House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (LA)
  • Rep. Matt Gaetz (FL)
  • Rep. Jim Jordan (OH)
  • Former Ambassador Nikki Haley
  • Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel
  • Georgia state Rep. Vernon Jones
  • Amy Johnson Ford
  • Kimberly Guilfoyle
  • Natalie Harp
  • Charlie Kirk
  • Kim Klacik
  • Mark and Patricia McCloskey
  • Sean Parnell
  • Andrew Pollack
  • Donald Trump Jr.
  • Tanya Weinreis


  • First Lady Melania Trump
  • Mike Pompeo
  • Sen. Rand Paul (KY)
  • Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds
  • Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez
  • Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron
  • Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi
  • Abby Johnson
  • Jason Joyce
  • Myron Lizer
  • Mary Ann Mendoza
  • Megan Pauley
  • Cris Peterson
  • John Peterson
  • Nicholas Sandmann
  • Eric Trump
  • Tiffany Trump


  • Vice President Mike Pence
  • Second lady Karen Pence
  • Sen. Marsha Blackburn (TN)
  • Sen. Joni Ernst (IA)
  • South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem
  • Rep. Dan Crenshaw (TX)
  • Rep. Elise Stefanik (NY)
  • Rep. Lee Zeldin (NY)
  • Former Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell
  • Kellyanne Conway
  • Keith Kellogg
  • Jack Brewer
  • Sister Dede Byrne
  • Madison Cawthorn
  • Scott Dane
  • Clarence Henderson
  • Ryan Holets
  • Michael McHale
  • Burgess Owens
  • Lara Trump


  • President Donald J. Trump
  • Ben Carson
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY)
  • Sen. Tom Cotton (AR)
  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA)
  • Rep.Jeff Van Drew (NJ)
  • Ivanka Trump
  • Ja’Ron Smith
  • Ann Dorn
  • Debbie Flood
  • Rudy Giuliani
  • Franklin Graham
  • Alice Johnson
  • Wade Mayfield
  • Carl and Marsha Mueller
  • Dana White

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