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Trump attacks rival Biden in White House speech accepting nomination

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A defiant President Donald Trump accepted the Republican nomination for a second term on Thursday with a scathing attack on rival Joe Biden, asserting that a Democratic victory in November would only exacerbate the racial strife and coronavirus pandemic besieging the nation.

Speaking from the White House South Lawn despite criticism he was using the executive residence as a political prop, Trump portrayed Biden, a career politician with a long record as a moderate, as a far-left extremist who would usher in a lawless, dangerous America.

“This election will decide whether we protect law-abiding Americans, or whether we give free rein to violent anarchic agitators and criminals who threaten our citizens,” Trump said on the fourth and final night of the Republican National Convention in a speech that lasted more than an hour.

“No one will be safe in Biden’s America.”

Despite the pandemic that has killed more than 180,000 Americans, Trump delivered his remarks before a crowd of more than 1,000 people, standing in front of dozens of American flags and basking in chants of “Four more years!” and “U.S.A.!”

His language was evocative of his 2016 convention acceptance speech, which also came at a time of racial tension after eight police officers were killed in Texas and Louisiana amid protests following shootings of Black men.

But Trump, who ran successfully as an insurgent four years ago, is now in control at the White House, complicating his assertion once again that only he can solve the problem.

Republicans on Thursday sought to advance that message after days of civil unrest and violence in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where on Sunday police shot a Black man, Jacob Blake. They inaccurately asserted that Biden would “defund the police.” Biden has rejected that position.

As the night unfolded, Biden struck back on Twitter, writing,

“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?”

In trying to paint Biden as a tool of the “radical left,” Trump also distorted the Democrat’s policy positions on a host of other issues, including immigration, guns, law enforcement, abortion and energy production.

“If given the chance, he will be the destroyer of American greatness,” Trump warned.

The made-for-television scene - befitting the first reality TV host to serve as president - stood in marked contrast to Biden’s acceptance speech last week, which was broadcast live from a largely empty arena in a nod to the disease.

Following the speech, fireworks exploded over the nearby Washington Monument as the president and his family looked on, giving Trump and the convention a powerful closing image.


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