Republicans officially renominate Trump for president
Republicans officially selected President Trump to be their party’s nominee on Monday, setting up a general election battle against Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
President Trump made a surprise appearance in the convention hall in Charlotte, N.C., where he touted the administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and said he’d rebuild the economy to where it was before the “plague.”
“We’re getting ready to do things like nobody has ever seen before, but the best way to bring unity is success,” Trump said. “Success brings unity and we were there and then we got hit with the plague and we won’t forget that.”
The president said the economy is on pace for a “super V-shaped” recovery and he accused Democrats of trying to keep business closed during the pandemic to hurt him politically.
“They want our numbers to look as bad as possible,” Trump said.
Trump also railed against the expansion of mail voting, calling it the “greatest scam in the history of politics.”
The president, who has repeatedly made unsubstantiated claims about voter fraud in mail voting, accused Democrats of “trying to steal the election from Republicans.”
While the Republican National Convention in Charlotte has been scaled back dramatically due to the coronavirus pandemic, Republicans officially nominated Trump through an in-person roll call vote, with delegates standing up to declare their support for the president.
Vice President Pence addressed the convention before Trump, touting the administration’s efforts the past four years to renegotiate trade deals, confirm conservative judges and lower taxes.
“The choice in this election has never been clearer and the stakes have never been higher,” Pence said.
“Men and women of the Republican National Convention, it’s on,” he added. “Now is the time. This is the moment for each of us to everything in our power to reelect this president to four more years.”
There was no drama in the nominating process. Trump faced primary challenges from several Republicans, including former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld and former Reps. Mark Sanford (S.C.) and Joe Walsh (Ill.), but none gained any traction.
Polls show the Republican Party is largely united behind Trump, despite the vocal opposition from former GOP lawmakers and officials who appeared at Biden’s convention last week.
“Our party is unified, our supporters are energized and now we will go forward confident in our cause of reelecting President Trump and Vice President Pence in 70 days from now,” said Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.
Trump begins the final stretch to Nov. 3 trailing Biden in the polls and juggling multiple crises, including the coronavirus pandemic and related economic slowdown, and the racial turmoil that has spread across the nation following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Democrats have focused on Trump’s handling of the pandemic to argue that he is in over his head and ill-equipped to lead the country’s recovery. Polls show a majority of the public disapproves of the Trump administration’s response to the outbreak.
Biden leads Trump by 7.6 points nationally, according to the RealClearPolitics average, down from a lead of 10.2 points in late June. However, experts say Trump can win the Electoral College if he can close the national gap with Biden to about 4 points.
Biden also leads by 5 points or more in the battleground states of Wisconsin, Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania, according to the RealClearPolitics average. Polls show the race is effectively a toss-up in Arizona and North Carolina.
But the Trump campaign has been dismissive of polls showing Trump is trailing Biden. In 2016, few election forecasters gave Trump a chance to win against Democrat Hillary Clinton. He effectively ran the table in the battleground states and won narrow victories in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, pulling off the most shocking political upset in modern times.
There has been some good polling news for Trump recently. Last week, new surveys of Pennsylvania and Minnesota showed Trump running even with Biden. The Trump campaign has circled Minnesota, New Hampshire and Maine as states Clinton won in 2016 they believe they can flip in 2020.
Biden received a 5-point boost in favorability coming out of last week’s Democratic convention, according to new Reuters-Ipsos data, and Trump will be looking for the same after the GOP convention this week.
Republicans say the Democratic convention painted a dark picture about the state of the country. They say they will have a more optimistic message focused on American resiliency in the face of health and economic crises.
“Over the next four days President Trump and Republicans will talk about all we’ve achieved and cast an aspirational, forward looking vision of what will accomplish in the next four years,” McDaniel said.
The first night of the convention will feature Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), one of only two Black Republicans in Congress. Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, will also get a prime speaking slot, igniting speculation about her 2024 presidential ambitions.
In addition to addressing the coronavirus and the economy, the GOP convention is expected to focus heavily on hostilities with China, support for law enforcement, illegal immigration, and casting the Democrats as left-wing extremists.
–This report was updated at 12:20 p.m.