by Chris Lefkow
Using the White House as a political prop, President Donald Trump hammered away at several themes in a speech that outlined his campaign strategy for the November 3 election against Democrat Joe Biden.
Trump, 74, emphasized the following points during his more than one-hour speech on Thursday night accepting the Republican presidential nomination and making the case for his reelection:
– Law and order –
Trump sought to portray the violence that has accompanied some of the protests for racial justice as the fault of Democrats while casting himself as the defender of “law and order.”
“No one will be safe in Biden’s America,” he said. “There is violence and danger in the streets of many Democrat-run cities throughout America.
“Your vote will decide whether we protect law abiding Americans or whether we give free reign to violent anarchists, agitators and criminals who threaten our citizens,” Trump said.
While promising to “always stand with the men and women of law enforcement,” Trump claimed that Biden and the “radical left” will “defund police departments all across America.”
Trump did not mention by name any of the black Americans whose deaths at the hands of police have given rise to the protests, saying only that “when there is police misconduct, the justice system must hold wrongdoers fully and completely accountable.”
Biden, who has not backed calls to defund the police and has supported demands for racial justice while also condemning the violence, responded to Trump with a series of tweets.
“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?” he asked.
“Remember: every example of violence Donald Trump decries has happened on his watch,” the former vice president added. “Under his leadership. During his presidency.”
– ‘Trojan horse for socialism’ –
Trump spent much of his speech seeking to portray Biden, a 77-year-old moderate Democrat with a long voting record as a senator from Delaware, as a pawn of the “radical left.”
“Biden is a Trojan horse for socialism,” Trump said, seeking to equate him with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who represents the party’s progressive wing.
“If Joe Biden doesn’t have the strength to stand up to wild-eyed Marxists like Bernie Sanders and his fellow radicals, then how is he ever going to stand up for you?” Trump said.
“This election will decide whether we save the American Dream, or whether we allow a socialist agenda to demolish our cherished destiny,” he said.
Trump claimed that if reelected, he would put the economy, devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, back on track.
“In a new term as president, we will again build the greatest economy in history, quickly returning to full employment, soaring incomes and record prosperity!” he said.
– Guns, abortion, immigration –
Trump stressed issues such as the Second Amendment right to bear arms, abortion and immigration which resonate with his base of conservative white Christian and rural white voters.
“America’s borders are more secure than ever before.” he said. “The wall will soon be complete, and it is working beyond our wildest expectations.”
“The Biden plan would eliminate America’s borders in the middle of a global pandemic,” he said.
As for gun control, Trump claimed that Biden would “confiscate your guns, and appoint justices who will wipe away your Second Amendment and other constitutional freedoms.”
Trump declared his opposition to abortion in a direct appeal to the evangelical Christians who overwhelmingly supported him in 2016.
“Joe Biden claims he has empathy for the vulnerable yet the party he leads supports the extreme late-term abortion of defenseless babies right up to the moment of birth,” he said.
“Tonight, we proudly declare that all children, born and unborn, have a god-given right to life,” he said.
A devout Catholic, Biden does support a woman’s right to have an abortion and while he does back some gun control measures he has not advanced a plan to “confiscate” Americans’ guns.
– Coronavirus –
Trump sought to portray his handling of the Covid-19 outbreak in the United States as a success, although it has left some 180,000 people dead in the United States, more than any other country in the world.
Very few of the more than 1,000 guests who attended Trump’s speech on the South Lawn of the White House wore masks and social distancing was not enforced during the event.
Trump has been frequently accused of failing to heed the guidance of his scientific advisors in managing the pandemic but he tried to level the same accusation against Biden.
“Instead of following the science, Joe Biden wants to inflict a painful shutdown on the entire country,” Trump said.
“His shutdown would inflict unthinkable and lasting harm on our nation’s children, families, and citizens of all backgrounds.
“Joe Biden’s plan is not a solution to the virus, but rather a surrender.”
With his reelection hopes pinned to some extent on defeating the virus and restoring normalcy, Trump promised that a vaccine is within sight.
“We are delivering lifesaving therapies, and will produce a vaccine before the end of the year, or maybe even sooner,” he said. “We will defeat the virus, end the pandemic, and emerge stronger than ever before.”
According to the website FiveThirtyEight.com, 58.0 percent of Americans disapprove of Trump’s response to the coronavirus crisis while 38.9 percent approve.