In a speech accepting the Republican nomination for a second term, US President Donald Trump said, this election will decide whether we save the American Dream. Joe Biden is not a savior of America’s soul. He’s the destroyer of America’s jobs and given the chance, he’ll be the destroyer of American greatness, Trump said.
Trump spoke from the White House’s South Lawn, which he had transformed into a flashy event center for the final night of the Republican convention. Trampling over long-running presidential custom to separate the executive mansion from political campaigning, Trump had some 1,500 white chairs laid out in front of the stage bedecked with rows of US flags and two giant video screens.
His message of anarchy under Democratic rule was amplified by a string of warm-up speakers including his powerful daughter Ivanka.
And when Trump finally came to deliver the main speech, he did not hold back.
“If the left gains power, they will demolish the suburbs, confiscate your guns,” he said, while branding Biden as a man with a history of “betrayals” and “blunders.”
Biden responded on Twitter, asking: “When Donald Trump says tonight you won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America, look around and ask yourself: How safe do you feel in Donald Trump’s America?”
Despite Trump’s warnings of chaos, his bid for reelection is already taking place amid levels of turmoil the country hasn’t seen for decades, a fact rubbed in by a Black Lives Matter protest outside the White House.
Struggling in opinion polls after what almost two thirds of Americans say is his unsatisfactory handling of the Covid-19 crisis, Trump has latched on to what he calls the “law and order” strategy as a possible route to victory.
Democrats assert that police forces across the country are plagued by institutional racism. Trump is leading Republican pushback, banking on the idea that Americans will be angrier at scenes of rioting than at police abuses.
Although Trump can depend on a fiercely loyal right-wing base, his reelection will likely depend on support from a relatively small number of independent voters in the crucial swing states.