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Trump decries Democratic convention as 'gloomiest' in history

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden adds to vote margin over Trump after Milwaukee County recount Krebs says allegations of foreign interference in 2020 election 'farcical'  Republicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden MORE on Friday portrayed the Democratic National Convention as the “darkest” and “gloomiest” in history, after Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden adds to vote margin over Trump after Milwaukee County recount Krebs says allegations of foreign interference in 2020 election 'farcical'  New DOJ rule could allow executions by electrocution, firing squad MORE accused Trump of dividing America and cloaking the nation in “darkness.”

“Over the last week, the Democrats held the darkest and angriest and gloomiest convention in American history,” President Trump said in remarks to members of a conservative group in Arlington, Va. He accused Democrats of “attacking America as racist and a horrible country that must be redeemed.”

Trump specifically called out Biden for his remarks pledging to help the country overcome a “season of darkness” under the incumbent president’s leadership. Trump argued that Biden and other Democrats ignored bright spots, like signs of economic recovery amidst the pandemic and progress on a vaccine.

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“Joe Biden grimly declared a ‘season of American darkness’ and look at what we’ve accomplished until the plague came in,” Trump said, referencing the strength of the U.S. economy pre-pandemic. “And now we’re doing it again. This the most successful period of time in the history of our country from every standard.”

Trump asserted the economic recovery was taking the shape of a “super V,” which he claimed Democrats were “probably not happy about.” Trump also claimed that Democrats “want to punish America and its citizens instead of holding them high.”

Trump delivered the remarks to the 2020 Council for National Policy Meeting Friday afternoon. The speech represented Trump’s first public appearance since Biden delivered remarks accepting the Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday evening.

Biden in his speech criticized Trump as a president who has stoked “anger,” “fear” and “division,” and pledged to unite the country if he is elected president in November.

“The current president has cloaked America in darkness for much too long. Too much anger, too much fear, too much division. Here and now, I give you my word: If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst,” Biden said in his address to the virtual convention.

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“I’ll be an ally of the light, not the darkness. It’s time for us, for we the people, to come together. And make no mistake, united we can and will overcome this season of darkness in America. We’ll choose hope over fear, facts over fiction, fairness over privilege,” Biden said.

The speech drew praise from political commenters and news anchors, including Fox News's Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceBiden adviser: 'He does not have any concern' about Trump lawsuits Public health expert: Americans no longer acting 'with common purpose' on pandemic Anti-Defamation League criticizes White House appointee 'who has consorted with racists' MORE and former President George W. Bush adviser Karl RoveKarl Christian RoveMore conservatives break with Trump over election claims The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Capital One - Pfizer, BioNTech apply for vaccine authorization Trump, attorneys step up efforts to reverse election's outcome MORE.

Trump's remarks are part of a targeted assault on the convention by his team.

Vice President Pence argued in an interview on CBS News that the speeches from Biden “presented such a grim vision for America” and said the Republican National Convention next week would work to tout the Trump administration’s accomplishments.

Trump on Friday commended nurses, doctors and first responders who have combated the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed over 170,000 Americans, and presented a rosy picture of his administration’s response to COVID-19.

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He also criticized Biden for not using his speech to talk about law enforcement or China, which Trump has sought to blame for the coronavirus as he faces criticism for his own response to the pandemic.

Many of the Democratic speakers at the convention focused their criticism of Trump on his handling of the coronavirus, and polls have shown a large majority of Americans disapprove of Trump’s handling of the virus. The president is currently trailing Biden nationally and in key swing state polls.

Trump on Friday later pivoted to issuing a grim warning of his own, claiming that a victory by the Democratic ticket would erode safety in American cities and cause an economic depression “no different than what happened in 1929.”

“If our opponents prevail, no one will be safe in our country and no one will be spared,” Trump told the crowd, which offered cheers of support throughout his remarks. He accused Democrats of endorsing a “sick ideology.”

Trump has consistently offered dark predictions of American life under a prospective Biden administration, arguing the former vice president would raise taxes and that his election would cause the stock market to crash. Those themes were on full display this week, as Trump and other campaign surrogates traversed the country to visit swing states and offer counter-programming to the Democratic events.

Friday’s event included a sizable crowd of participants, some of whom were photographed wearing masks while others were not. Signs outside the Ritz ballroom encouraged attendees to maintain six feet of distance from one another but many in the room did not do so. The Hill has reached out to the Virginia attorney general’s office regarding whether the event was in compliance with the state’s guidelines for coronavirus.