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RNC 2020 | Light on facts, heavy on hyperbole: Trump’s acceptance speech

President Donald Trump kisses grandson Theodore James Kushner, with first lady Melania Trump, on the South Lawn of the White House on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, in Washington.   | Photo Credit: AP

Accepting the Republican Party’s nomination for the presidency, U.S. President Donald Trump delivered a 70 minute speech rife with exaggerations and false statements on the final night of the Republican National Convention (RNC). The President attacked Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s record and his plans for the presidency on a number of fronts — from jobs and the economy to public health and policing. His remarks come as the American southeast faces a powerful hurricane and as the country’s death toll from the pandemic crossed 180,000.

“This election will decide whether we save the American Dream, or whether we allow a socialist agenda to demolish our cherished destiny,” Mr. Trump said from the South Lawn of the White House.

Also read: Editorial on Joe Biden nomination: Last lap

Mr. Trump’s speech emphasised common themes that ran through all four days of the convention: narratives of the Democrats as “radicals” who did not respect the idea of America and warnings of unsafe if not non-existent borders, lawless cities and anarchy under a Biden administration.

The President was introduced by his daughter Ivanka Trump on Thursday evening.

“Four years ago, I introduced to you a builder, an entrepreneur, an outsider, and the people’s nominee for President of the United States. Tonight, I stand before you as the proud daughter of the people’s president,” Ms. Trump said.

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Speaking on a specially constructed stage with a campaign-style backdrop, complete with Trump-Pence signage, Mr. Trump made direct and oblique references to Mr. Biden’s acceptance speech from a week ago, in which the Democratic candidate had described a battle for America’s soul.

“Joe Biden is not the savior of America’s soul — he is the destroyer of America’s jobs, and if given the chance, he will be the destroyer of American greatness,” Mr. Trump said.

Also read: Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden | The journey to Washington

Mr. Trump is the first U.S. President in modern times to accept his nomination on the grounds of the White House. Critics have argued that he and several other participants at the RNC are in possible violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits government officials from using federal property for political purposes.

Speaking to an audience of about 1,500 people mostly without masks and not observing social distance, Mr. Trump spoke of defeating the novel coronavirus pandemic which has affected the U.S. more than it has any other country.

Also read: Indian-American votes important for ‘battleground states’, says DNC Chairman

“We are focusing on the science, the facts and the data,” said Mr. Trump, who has been widely criticised for his botched response to the virus. (Earlier this year, he had claimed that the virus would disappear “like a miracle”).

Mr. Trump and other speakers at the RNC are specifically targeting suburban women with a college degree, a demographic they hope will help Mr. Trump who lags Mr. Biden in polls. Among Mr. Trump’s false claims were that the Democrats would “demolish” suburbs and end the Second Amendment (the right to bear arms).

“If the Left gains power, they will demolish the suburbs, confiscate your guns and appoint justices who will wipe away your second amendment and other constitutional freedoms. Biden is a Trojan horse for socialism. If Joe Biden doesn’t have the strength to stand up to wild-eyed Marxists like Bernie Sanders …then how is he ever going to stand up for you?” Mr. Trump said. (Mr. Biden’s platform explicitly supports the Second Amendment while also calling for gun control. Mr Biden wants to reinstate an Obama administration law to address the challenge of discrimination in housing across localities. He does not oppose single-family homes in suburbs.)

Mr. Trump also said Mr. Biden wanted to dismantle America’s borders (a false claim) and that the borders were stronger than ever before under the Trump administration. He repeatedly talked about the tough line his administration had taken on China and contrasted it to Mr. Biden’s approach.

“That’s why China supports Joe Biden and desperately wants him to win,” Mr. Trump said. “I can tell you that upon very good information, China would own our country.”

Other speakers — some of whom recorded video messages from another location in Washington DC — included Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Marsha and Karl Mueller whose daughter was killed by the ISIS, Ann Dorn whose husband was killed by rioters in June, and Senator Tom Cotton, a possible 2024 candidate.

Mr. Trump’s speech, which marked the end of the four-day affair, was followed by fireworks on the National Mall.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 3:44:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/rnc-2020-biden-will-destroy-american-greatness-says-trump/article32463184.ece

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