US President Donald Trump blasted Joe Biden as a hapless career politician who will endanger Americans’ safety as he accepted his party’s renomination on Thursday, on the South Lawn of the White House.
He spoke for more than an hour to a tightly packed, largely maskless crowd.
Facing a moment fraught with racial turmoil, economic collapse and a national health emergency, Trump delivered an optimistic vision of America’s future, vowing to heal the racial divide.
"I say very modestly that I have done more for the African-American community than any president since Abraham Lincoln, our first Republican president. And I have done more in three years for the Black community than Joe Biden has done in 47 years. And when I'm reelected, the best is yet to come."
He said that brighter horizon could only be secured if he defeated his Democratic foe, who currently has an advantage in most national and battleground state polls.
His acceptance speech kicked off the final stretch of the campaign, a race now fully joined and, despite the pandemic, soon to begin crisscrossing the country.
Trump’s pace of travel will pick up to a near-daily pace while Biden, who has largely weathered the pandemic from this Delaware home, announced on Thursday that he will soon resume campaign travel.
Teasing once more that a vaccine could arrive soon, the president promised victory over the coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 175,000 people and left millions unemployed.
Presenting himself as the last barrier protecting an American way of life under siege from radical forces, Trump has repeatedly, if not always effectively, tried to portray Biden — who is considered a moderate Democrat — as a tool of extreme leftists.
He mocked his opponent's record and famous empathy, suggesting that “laid-off workers in Michigan, Ohio, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania" don't “want Joe Biden’s hollow words of empathy, they wanted their jobs back."
Trump's daughter Ivanka defended his record on championing worker rights.
"Today, in the midst of this unprecedented global pandemic, it's more clear than ever that our president was absolutely correct to take on trade when he did and bring our jobs, our factories and our lifesaving medicines back to the USA", she said.
In a week of racial tumult, Republicans have claimed that the violence that has erupted in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and some other American cities is to be blamed on Democratic governors and mayors and would only grow worse under a Biden administration. That drew a stern rebuke from Biden.
Some demonstrators took to Washington’s streets Thursday night, ahead of a march planned for Friday.
New fencing was set up along the White House perimeter to keep the protesters at bay, but some of their shouts and car horns were clearly audible on the South Lawn where more than 1,500 people gathered.
Soon after Trump began talking, the horns and sirens — which came through occasionally to the millions watching at home — caused some people in the back row to turn around and look for the source of the disturbance.