WASHINGTON — In an event that seemed more like a campaign rally than a convention, President Trump used his speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination to make unfounded accusations about electoral security, relitigate the 2020 Democratic presidential primary contest and muse about a presidential ticket made up of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln campaigning on a liberal platform in Texas.
“This is the greatest scam in the history of politics,” Trump said at one point during his remarks, in reference to plans by millions of Americans to vote by mail in November’s presidential election.
It was far from the event Trump had imagined, with the coronavirus pandemic having largely frustrated his plans for a celebratory Republican National Convention. He had intended to move part of the convention to Jacksonville, Fla., but called that plan off after cases of COVID-19 surged in Florida earlier this summer.
And so the president arrived in Charlotte, N.C., on Monday to deliver the first of what are slated to be several speeches he plans to make during the RNC. He will make his main speech on Thursday evening. Monday’s remarks came after, as expected, Trump easily surpassed the 1,276 delegate endorsements needed to secure the nomination.
“I just tell it like it is,” he said in a freewheeling speech that included a number of misstatements, exaggerations and insinuations.
“Your American Dream will be dead,” he said of a potential Democratic victory, referring specifically to judicial appointments, which have been a hallmark of his own administration. Trump celebrated those appointments, as well as his tax cut for corporations and wealthy individuals. He did not, however, offer much substance on what a second Trump term might look like.
A significant portion of his speech focused on unfounded accusations that voting by mail will result in widespread fraud that will help his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden.
“The only way they can take this election away from us is if this is a rigged election. We’re gonna win this election,” Trump said, describing what he said were record levels of enthusiasm for his presidency. In fact, more than half of Americans disapprove of the job he is doing.
And yet Trump has continued to assert that Democrats can win only by cheating, which he charges they intend to do by engaging in systematic mail fraud. Fraud is infrequent when it comes to voting by mail, which many people may prefer to do in the midst of a pandemic.
“What they’re doing is using COVID to steal an election,” Trump said in Charlotte, referring to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, which has killed about 176,000 Americans. “They’re using COVID to defraud the American people — all of our people — of a fair and free election.”
Studies have shown that one party does not benefit inordinately over the other from voting by mail.
That has not stopped Trump from making accusations that some believe could cause a loss of confidence in the November election. “They’re going to mail out 80 million ballots. It’s impossible, they have no idea. Who’s mailing them? Mostly Democrat states and Democrat governors.”
Contrary to that assertion, many Republican governors support and encourage voting by mail. Trump, a resident of Florida, votes by mail, as do many top officials in the White House.
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