KEY POINTS

  • Donald Trump is officially renominated as the presidential candidate of the Republican Party
  • Trump highlights appearance at the Republican National Convention to accuse Democrats of trying to steal the election via mail-in voting
  • He also praises his own actions to speed up delivery of therapies for COVID-19

On the day the Republican Party officially renominated Donald Trump as its presidential candidate, the incumbant opened the first of his four daily appearances at the Republican National Convention (RNC) with a familiar refrain against mail-in voting.

RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel officially declared Trump and Mike Pence the Republican Party's candidates for president and vice president following a role call vote in Charlotte, N.C. Trump used the occasion to claim Democrats will manipulate mail-in voting to rob him of reelection in November.

In a 52-minute recital of grievances and conspiracy theories, Trump said the only way Democrats can win Nov. 3 is "if this is a rigged election." He also said efforts by Democrats to expand mail-in voting during the raging COVID-19 pandemic is an attempt to disrupt a fair and free election.

“This is the greatest scam in the history of politics, I think,” he said at the RNC kickoff Monday, the first of four daily RNC appearances for Trump. “And I'm talking about beyond our nation."

"This is going to be one of the greatest scams. 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.”

Without citing any proof, he claimed states run by Democrats won’t mail ballots to Republican neighborhoods.

"What they're doing is using COVID to steal an election. They're using COVID to defraud the American people -- all of our people -- of a fair and free election," said Trump. "We can't do that. Don't let them give you the post office stuff."

He also said Democrats plan to resort to large-scale "ballot harvesting," or gathering and submitting filled-out absentee or mail-in voter ballots by a third party and not by the voter himself.

Trump again asserted mail-in voting isn't needed. He noted Americans voted during wartime and that "it's going to be very safe to vote" in November because the pandemic is under control, he said.

"We voted during World War I. We voted at the voting booth during World War II. The pandemic we are doing very well -- and people know how to handle it -- look at the crowds. They are doing very well. It's very safe."

Trump also highlighted his interventions that led to the government releasing hydroxychloroquine, remdesivir and convalescent plasma as therapies against COVID-19. He again said a vaccine is coming "very, very soon" and claimed that without his direct intervention this vaccine would have taken two years to develop.

Despite Trump's rants, the RNC is being billed as an "optimistic and upbeat" event by senior campaign adviser Jason Miller. The overarching theme of the four-day convention is "Honoring the Great American Story," and the theme for its first day was "Land of Heroes."

The GOP began the virtual convention by announcing the elimination of its traditional party platform. Instead, it said it will "continue to enthusiastically support the president's America-first agenda." In June, the RNC decided to adopt the 2016 platform for the November presidential election.

"The RNC has unanimously voted to forego the Convention Committee on Platform, in appreciation of the fact that it did not want a small contingent of delegates formulating a new platform without the breadth of perspectives within the ever-growing Republican movement."

Among those singing the president's praises and knocking Democratic challenger Joe Biden on Monday evening were son Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend/campaign manager, Kimberly Guilfoyle, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La.

The president made a second appearance in a video posing with frontline workers and COVID-19 survivors. While exchanging banter with these people, Trump praised the steps he took to contain the "China virus" while reopening the economy.

Tuesday's lineup will feature speeches by First Lady Melania Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.