President Donald Trump
Donald Trump has accepted the Republican presidential nomination with a speech which swung between a list of his “achievements” and an attack on what he called the “radicalism” of Joe Biden.
During his 70-minute long speech to a pandemic-defying 1,500 people on the White House lawn, the US president said the upcoming election would “decide whether we save the American Dream, or whether we allow a socialist agenda to demolish our cherished destiny”.
“It will decide whether we rapidly create millions of high paying jobs, or whether we crush our industries and send millions of these jobs overseas, as has foolishly been done for many decades,” Mr Trump said.
“Your vote will decide whether we protect law-abiding Americans, or whether we give free reign to violent anarchists, agitators, and criminals who threaten our citizens.
“And this election will decide whether we will defend the American way of life, or whether we allow a radical movement to completely dismantle and destroy it.”
The speech was designed to paint a picture of Republican respect for law and order and country where there is “violence and danger in the streets of many Democrat-run cities”.
He said the Republican Party “condemns the rioting, looting, arson and violence we have seen in Democrat-run cities like Kenosha, Minneapolis, Portland, Chicago, and New York”.
Kenosha is the place where black man Jacob Blake was shot seven times by police last weekend, while George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis after a police officer knelt on his neck. Both incidents triggered protests – some of which turned violent.
He said he would never allow “mob rule” and made a point of supporting the police insisting that “we have to give law enforcement, our police, back their power”.
He described his Democratic challenger Mr Biden as a “Trojan horse for socialism”, while promising to create millions of jobs, cut taxes and hire more police.
Mr Trump repeatedly attacked Mr Biden in an attempt to mark him as a dangerous threat to the American people.
The president claimed that he had “done more in three years for the black community than Joe Biden has done in 47 years”, adding he had done more to help the black community than any other president since Abraham Lincoln.
It was a bold claim, given that Black Lives Matter protesters marched across Washington DC against Mr Trump during his speech.
However, it was not just Mr Biden that the president took to task, with China, cancel culture and immigration all forming part of his appeal to voters.
He reaffirmed that the blame for the coronavirus outbreak lies with China, while saying that the US has had one of the best responses in the world to the pandemic, despite having the highest recorded death toll across the globe.
Mr Trump said: “The United States has among the lowest case fatality rates of any major country in the world. The European Union’s case fatality rate is nearly three times higher than ours. Altogether, the nations of Europe have experienced a 30% greater increase in excess mortality than the United States.”
He went on to say: “Unfortunately, from the beginning, our opponents have shown themselves capable of nothing but a partisan ability to criticise. When I took bold action to issue a travel ban on China, Joe Biden called it hysterical and xenophobic. If we had listened to Joe, hundreds of thousands more Americans would have died.”
The coronavirus pandemic has slashed support for Mr Trump, but he sought to improve his chances in his speech by declaring there will be a vaccine before the end of 2020 – despite virulent disagreement from epidemiologists.
Appeasing his wide supporter base, he rallied against “the left’s repressive mandates”, saying that Democrats want to control what people say with a list of “approved words and phrases”.
“The goal of cancel culture is to make decent Americans live in fear of being fired, expelled, shamed, humiliated, and driven from society as we know it,” he said.
“The far-left wants to coerce you into saying what you know to be false, and scare you out of saying what you know to be true.”
He later added he wanted to defend free speech on university campuses.
Setting out his plans for a second term in office, he included commitments on lowering health care costs, creating 10 million jobs, reaffirming the right to life and winning the race on 5G.