By Ted O’Neil | The Center Square
President Donald Trump on Thursday accepted his party’s presidential nomination during the final night of the Republican National Committee’s virtual convention, saying that in a second term he will “rebuild our economy, lower unemployment, protect America and rekindle pride” in the nation.
Trump’s remarks came in a week that saw the convergence of several nationwide issues, including the continued fight against the coronavirus pandemic, Hurricane Laura making landfall along the Gulf of Mexico, racial unrest after the fatal shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and the battle against several California wildfires.
Trump said he believes America is “the torch that enlightens the world” and called November “the most important election in the history of the country.”
Sen. Kamala Harris, running mate of former Vice President Joe Biden on the Democratic ticket, addressed these issues earlier Thursday in a “prebuttal” speech, accusing Trump of “a reckless disregard for the well-being of the American people.”
Harris also claimed the Democratic National Convention was “clear-eyed” about the challenges facing the country while the Republican National Convention’s only purpose was to “soothe Donald Trump’s ego.”
At several points in his speech, Trump pointed to what he said were Biden’s shortcomings during his five decades in elected office as senator and vice president, claiming that China wants to see Biden win in November so they can continue to “control America” and that Biden is a “Trojan Horse for socialism.”
Just as four years ago, Trump was introduced by his daughter Ivanka, who said that “Washington has not changed Donald Trump, Donald Trump has changed Washington.”
Trump delivered his remarks live from the south lawn of the White House, which critics immediately claimed was unethical when he first announced his intent to speak from there three weeks ago. Democrats said the location would violate the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in partisan political activity on government property.
The president and vice president are not subject to the act, but U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, said any Trump staff member involved in the planning and execution of the speech would be in violation of the law. Trump said the location made sense as it would cut down on travel and security expenses.
Trump’s decision is also not without precedent. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was in the White House in 1940 when he spoke to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago via radio as he was nominated for a third term.
Some 2,000 people attended Trump’s speech in person, which was followed by a fireworks display.
The last night of the convention featured several RNC-produced videos that served as endorsements for Trump’s re-election, including one that focused on former Democrats who now support the Republican president.
Chief among those was a speech by Congressman Jeff Van Drew from New Jersey, who in his first term in the House switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican over his disagreement with last year’s impeachment proceedings against Trump.
Van Drew said his first vote in Congress was against Pelosi as speaker, which he said was “an easy call,” and that the Democratic party he first joined to run for local office years ago has “moved from liberal to radical.”