US President Donald Trump and US First Lady Melania Trump (AFP photo)
WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump on Thursday formally accepted the Republican Party nomination to run for a second term, presenting the upcoming November 3 election as a clash between the “American Dream” that he claimed to represent and a socialist society he warned his Democratic opponents would usher in.
“This is the most important election in the history of our country. This election will decide whether we save the American Dream or whether we allow a socialist agenda to demolish our cherished destiny.” Trump said on the final night of the 4-day Republican Party’s virtual convention that featured a 1500-strong in person gathering on the South Lawns of the White House with no mask or distancing mandate. “Your vote will decide whether we protect law-abiding Americans or whether we give free rein 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,” he added.
Trump’s 70-minute speech, in which he invoked his opponent Biden’s name more than 40 times, brought the curtain down on the convention phase of the long and tortured election campaign, and set the stage for a series of Presidential and vice-presidential debates late September to early October. The US President revealed his line of attack for the coming weeks, repeatedly portraying the Biden-Harris ticket being responsible for the unrest in the country and as a danger to America.
Democrats struck back quickly, Biden going on air to counter the charge that were they were responsible for or indulgent about the chaos and violence in a few American city blocks. “To prove you should be scared of Joe Biden, they’re pointing to what’s happening in Donald Trump’s America,” Biden sneered, warning that it was Trump who “continues to root for violence” so he can win the elections citing chaos and the country will be substantially safer when he loses.
“I’m going to work to calm the tensions and root out systemic racism. I’m going to lead,” Biden pledged, even as his campaign released a biting ad that showed him fit and agile in footage juxtaposed against a corpulent, doddering President. “Some people are always in a hurry. They run when they could walk. Race up steps when others take it slow. When Joe Biden is president, America is just going to have to keep up,” says the voiceover to the ad that shows a vigorous Biden.
Trump also referred to China at least 15 times, pledging that his administration will not rely on Beijing “one bit,” and his agenda would be “Made in the USA” where as Biden’s would be “Made in China.” Fact check attesting to polemical nature of the charges: over the years many Trump and Republican Party merchandize have been manufactured in China.
Meanwhile, BlackLivesMatter protestors demonstrated outside the White House during the GOP finale, blowing foghorns and chanting slogans as Trump and other spoke, even as racial tensions continued to roil some US cities. Guests who were exiting the White House, including a Senator, were accosted by protestors, some of them using four letter expletives to deride Trump amid growing anger at police brutality, illustrated by reports that the black man who was shot in his back seven times by police in Wisconsin was handcuffed to his hospital bed despite being paralyzed from his waist down.
Democrats also deployed vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris to counter the Republican narrative that they were fueling the violence, even as authorities charged a 17-year white vigilante who shot three BLM protestors claiming he was protecting property and acting in self-defense with first degree homicide. “We should not confuse them (the protestors) with those looting and committing acts of violence, including the shooter, who was arrested for murder. Make no mistake, we will not let these vigilantes and extremists derail the path to justice,” Harris said in address from George Washington University, a few blocks from the White House.
Harris also derided the GOP convention, which was packed with sycophantic speeches, saying its only purpose was to “soothe Donald Trump’s ego,” while excoriating him for a cavalier approach to the coronavirus pandemic. “Here’s what you have to understand about the nature of a pandemic: It’s relentless. You can’t stop it with the tweet,” she said. “Instead of rising to meet the most difficult moment of his presidency, Donald Trump froze. He was scared. And he was petty and vindictive.”