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by Elizabeth Nolan Brown
Scenes inside and outside the White House gates last night presented a stark and jarring contrast. On one side, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence used the place—and, later, the Washington Monument—as a backdrop for their 2020 presidential campaign, bright with billboards and fireworks and filled with an unmasked crowd of the conservative political elite. Holding part of the Republican National Convention (RNC) on the White House lawn is unprecedented in American history; if it’s not illegal under rules meant to separate politics from governing, it is at least an unnerving display of a sort more familiar in autocratic regimes than in countries holding free elections.