The Republican National Convention has kicked off with a roll call formally nominating Donald Trump to run in the 3 November election.

How will the four-day event unfold?

Let's back up first.

There's an obvious question...

What is the Republican National Convention?

OK, good question.

Party conventions take place once every four years - they are the ceremonial crowning of the party's presidential candidate as they prepare for the final phase of campaigning.

Last time around, we saw the Trump family take centre stage to a backdrop of fireworks and a sea of red, white and blue balloons.

It's also where party officials wrap up other less-glamorous business, like unveiling the political platform and adopting rules. This time - for the first time - no new platform is being adopted - the party will continue to support Mr Trump's 2016 manifesto.

As the sitting president, Mr Trump is the de facto nominee. But the convention has formally nominated him with a roll call, nonetheless.

On Thursday, the president will formally accept the nomination with a big speech.

How will the Republican National Convention work this year?

Even Republicans have been trying to figure this out.

The conventions of years past have been glitzy affairs, bringing together thousands of delegates, party leaders, activists and celebrities for receptions, speeches and general hyping up of the presidential candidate.

But the pandemic has upended all that.

Unlike its Democratic counterpart, the Republican Convention still plans on hosting some in-person business.

But people will need to wear masks and social distance. Those attending will also be given a self-swab Covid-19 test before travelling and entering their hotels.

OK, so where will Trump be?

He will accept the nomination in a "real speech on Thursday", live from the White House.

This hasn't been entirely well-received - with critics arguing using federal property for a campaign speech is unethical.

Who are the other speakers this year?

The headliners, apart from Mr Trump himself, will be First Lady Melania Trump on Tuesday, followed by Vice-President Mike Pence on Wednesday.


  • First Lady Melania Trump
  • Eric Trump
  • Tiffany Trump
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
  • Senator Rand Paul
  • Nicholas Sandmann, who featured in a viral video last year in front of the Lincoln Memorial in the nation's capital


  • Vice-President Mike Pence and wife Karen
  • Eric Trump's wife Lara
  • White House adviser Kellyanne Conway


  • President Trump
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
  • Ivanka Trump
  • Alice Johnson, a criminal justice reform advocate whose life sentence was commuted by the president after a campaign led by Kim Kardashian
  • Parents of Kayla Mueller, an American aid worker who was taken hostage and killed in Syria

Mr Pence will accept his running mate role from Fort McHenry in Baltimore. It's a place heavy with historical significance, because it is where US soldiers withstood the might of the British in 1814, inspiring Francis Scott Key to write the poem that became the national anthem.

Like its Democratic counterpart, the Republican programme will also be a mix of pre-recorded and live speeches, based in Washington DC.

Each day will follow themes of America as the land of promise, opportunity, heroes and - in a nod to Trump's slogan - greatness.

What time is the Republican National Convention?

The convention is expected to last 2.5 hours each night, Monday to Thursday, from 20:30 EST (00:30 GMT) to 23:00 EST (03:00 GMT).

You can follow the latest news, including live pages on the two biggest nights Wednesday and Thursday, at

And you can watch on the Republican National Convention website.

Few incumbent presidents of the modern era have faced a challenge as great as the one before Donald Trump in the final months of their re-election campaign. He has consistently trailed Joe Biden in the polls by a modest but significant margin for months. The Republican Convention is one of his last, best opportunities to turn the tide.

The coronavirus pandemic has made a traditional convention format impractical, but it appears the Republicans will try to come close to replicating the feel of one. Unlike the Democrats, they will have audiences for many of their speeches, including Donald Trump's Thursday night address, which will be held from the South Lawn of the White House.

That speech will be a good guide for how the Republicans hope to conduct their campaign over the final months. Will he focus on tearing down Joe Biden or on accomplishments from early in his presidency? Or will he try to convince the public that the worst days of the pandemic are over?

The Democrats during their convention turned to voices from "ordinary" Americans - immigrants, workers and minorities - who said they had been harmed by the president's policies. The Republicans will counter with ones who will recount how they've been helped - or who are worried about what the Democrats would do in power. Will they make a compelling case?

The rest of the week will be filled with Republican officeholders of various levels. Some, including Vice-President Mike Pence, will be vying for position to lead the party once Trump leaves office - either next year or in 2024.

Four years ago, Trump defied conventional practices and wisdom to win the presidency. He's remade the Republican Party in his image, with an emphasis on conservative populism and sometimes brash rhetoric. That new party, his party, will be on full display this week

If the battle to be Trump's political heirs is one potential theme of the convention, another will be the dynamic among his actual heirs. The president's wife, along with three of his children - Eric, Don Jr and Tiffany - are all scheduled set to speak.

The Trump family has had more than its share of drama - most recently with secret recordings of sister Maryanne Barry disparaging the president. Will this week be more like the Brady Bunch or King Lear?

How does the voting work?

There's a roll call when delegates from states and territories across the US say which candidate they are backing. This time, that's the president.

State delegates vote in line with the results of their state primary results - and in the case of Republicans, they are bound to do so. There are also unpledged delegates who can vote freely - these are two national committee members and the party chairperson from each state.

With Trump as the incumbent, some states opted out of hosting primary elections this year and automatically gave their delegates to him.

If you need a refresher on all things primary and caucus, check out our explainer here.

What happens next?

Now we watch as campaigning heats up before the general election on 3 November.

Be sure to set a reminder for the debates too, where we'll see Biden and Trump battle to win over voters. The first presidential debate is scheduled for 29 September with two more in October.