Republican convention warns of grim future under Joe Biden

Party praised President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic

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Republicans made the case for President Donald Trump to be re-elected in November in the Republican National Convention on Monday night.

The party made pointed attacks against Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, warning of a grim future under his leadership.

Unlike the Democratic Party's convention, which was held entirely online because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Republicans opted for a mix of video remarks and actual events.

On Monday, 336 Republican delegates met in Charlotte, North Carolina, where they officially nominated Mr Trump to serve on the ballot in November. The delegates attending the event, many unmasked, were tested for coronavirus before arriving at the convention centre.

“The only way they can take this election away from us is if this is a rigged election,” Mr Trump told the hundreds of delegates, repeating an unsupported claim that the Democrats are involved in a "post office scam". Mr Trump has admitted to withholding funding for the US Postal Service during a time when many Americans are hoping to vote by mail in order to avoid crowded polling stations.

At the weekend, the Democratic-led House of Representatives approved legislation that would reverse recent changes in postal operations and send $25 billion (Dh91 billion) to shore up the agency before the November election, but the White House has said Mr Trump would veto it.

The Republican Party kicked off their convention with a video praising Mr Trump for his handling of the pandemic, after Democrats spent much of their convention attacking his administration for an inadequate response. Medical professionals and small-business owners credited Mr Trump with saving lives and livelihoods.

During a prerecorded appearance at the White House, where Mr Trump spoke with several essential workers including some frontline health workers, none of the participants wore masks, which has become a partisan flashpoint despite clear recommendations from epidemiologists that masks can slow the disease's spread.

Mr Trump later appeared with six former American hostages that had been freed during his administration, as he touted his negotiation skills.

US Navy veteran Michael White, who was sentenced to ten years in an Iranian prison, used the segment to take aim at Iran's "injustice system," calling it an "oppressive, extortionist, terrorist regime."

Critics of the president pointed out that negotiations to bring home American Mustafa Kassem failed.

Before he was elected president, Mr Trump had attacked deceased senator John McCain's well-recognised record as a "war hero."

“He’s not a war hero,” said Mr Trump in 2015. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

Former US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, began her address by attacking the international organisation as a "place where dictators, murderers and thieves denounce America and then put their hands out and demand that we pay their bills."

She used her speech to blast Mr Biden while applauding Mr Trump's sanctions on Iran, and his decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

Mr Biden said he would leave the US embassy in Jerusalem if re-elected.

Ms Haley flatly blamed China for the coronavirus pandemic that has devastated the US economy.

Addressing the national protests against racism that were sparked by the death of George Floyd, she said "America is not a racist country."

Donald Trump Jr. speaks during the first day of the Republican convention at the Mellon auditorium on August 24, 2020 in Washington, DC. / AFP / Olivier DOULIERY

The president's eldest son Donald Trump Jr ridiculed the Democratic presidential nominee with name-calling in a fiery speech.

“In the past, both parties believed in the goodness of America,” the younger Trump said. “This time, the other party is attacking the very principles on which our nation was founded,” citing freedom of thought, speech, religion and the rule of law.

Mocking Mr Biden’s past meetings with Chinese leaders as vice president, he called the Democrat “Beijing Biden” and poked at his decades in the Senate and previously unsuccessful presidential bids by calling him “The Loch Ness Monster of the swamp.”

The younger Trump echoed Ms Haley's remarks on racism, calling the protests for racial justice lawless, violent mobs intent on toppling long-honuored past leaders.

Pushing an emerging theme of the Republican campaign, he said, “It’s almost like this election is shaping up to be church, work and school versus rioting, looting and vandalism.”