Watch CBS News

Trump accepts GOP nomination and says Biden victory would destroy American way of life

Trump's speech at RNC
Trump casts election in stark terms in lengthy RNC acceptance speech 01:11:22

President Trump accepted his party's nomination for president in a lengthy speech intended to stoke fears that if opponent Joe Biden wins, he would destroy the American way of life by implementing a socialist agenda. "My fellow Americans, tonight, with a heart full of gratitude and boundless optimism, I profoundly accept this nomination for president of the United States," he boomed from the podium. 

He began his address by noting the Americans impacted by Hurricane Laura and said he would be visiting those impacted this weekend. Speaking before a crowd of roughly 1,500 mostly mask-free supporters who gathered on the South Lawn of the White House, Mr. Trump cast the race with Biden in stark terms. 

"This election will decide whether we save the American dream, or whether we allow a socialist agenda to demolish our cherished destiny," he said. "And this election will decide whether we will defend the American way of life, or whether we allow a radical movement to completely dismantle and destroy it."

Echoing the claims of other speakers across the four-day convention, Mr. Trump warned that Biden "is a Trojan horse for socialism" and painted him as a weak candidate who would be unable to take on the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and would not stand up for the American people. 

"He takes his marching orders from liberal hypocrites who drive their cities into the ground while fleeing far from the scene of the wreckage," the president said of Biden.

Mr. Trump insisted that he's kept his promises, although PolitiFact estimates he's broken roughly half of them. 

"From the moment I left my former life behind, and a good life it was, I have done nothing but fight for you. I did what our political establishment never expected and could never forgive, breaking the cardinal rule of Washington politics. I kept my promises."

The president listed the promises he has kept, like withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Climate accord. And he boasted having taken tough action on China, though he did not specifically mention the tariffs the U.S. imposed on China. He did, however, vow to "impose tariffs on any company that leaves America to produce jobs overseas."

After making the case for his reelection by listing his domestic and foreign policy accomplishments, Mr. Trump attacked Biden's nearly half century in office, calling the former vice president's record "a shameful roll call of the most catastrophic betrayals and blunders in our lifetime." 

About 30 minutes into his speech, the president mentioned the coronavirus pandemic. By the time the president spoke Thursday night, 180,000 Americans had died from COVID-19. There have been more than 5.8 million confirmed cases nationwide.

The president boasted about his administration's production and delivery of medical equipment during the pandemic and vowed that it "will produce a vaccine before the end of the year, or maybe even sooner."

In contrasting his administration's handling of the coronavirus crisis with Biden's plan to defeat COVID-19, Mr. Trump claimed that Biden would "inflict a painful shutdown" on the entire country that "would be measured in increased drug overdoses, depression, alcohol addiction, suicides, heart attacks, economic devastation and more." Biden, however, had only said in an interview that he would do so if that were recommended by scientists. 

"Joe Biden's plan is not a solution to the virus, but rather a surrender," the president said.

The president inaccurate claimed that Biden called his ban on travel from China in January "xenophobic." 

"When I took bold action to issue a travel ban on China, Joe Biden called it hysterical and xenophobic. If we had listened to Joe, hundreds of thousands more Americans would have died," he said. 

But Biden has not called that specific move xenophobic. He called the president's handling of China and the virus xenophobic in other respects. The president often refers to COVID-19 as the "China virus." 

Mr. Trump reiterated his support for law enforcement and claimed that under a Biden administration, "no one will be safe."

"We must remember that the overwhelming majority of police officers in this country are noble, courageous and honorable," he said. "We have to give law enforcement, our police, back their power. They are afraid to act. They are afraid to lose their pension. They are afraid to lose their jobs, and by being afraid, they are not able to do their jobs. And those who suffer most are the great people who they want so desperately to protect."

He acknowledged the justice system must hold police officers who commit wrongdoing accountable. He did not, however, make mention of Jacob Blake, the 29-year-old Black man who was shot in the back by a police officer in Kenosha on Sunday, or George Floyd, a Black man who died in late May after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck. Those incidents, as well as deaths and other violence perpetrated against other Black men and women at the hands of law enforcement, have sparked a nationwide reckoning on the need to end police brutality and address racial inequities in the justice system.

Mr. Trump stressed that the GOP "in the strongest possible terms" condemns the looting, arson and violence that has occurred in Wisconsin and elsewhere and denounced the violence in major U.S. cities, including Portland, where he deployed federal law enforcement this summer, and Chicago and New York. 

"As long as I am president, I will defend the absolute right of every American citizen to live in security, dignity and peace," he said.

He attempted to paint a grim landscape of the country if Biden wins in November and claimed that if he loses reelection and Democrats win control of both chambers of Congress, "they will apply their disastrous policies to every city, town and suburb in America."

Tying in the theme of the Republican National Convention, "Honoring the Great American Story," Mr. Trump said that in November, voters "must turn the page forever on this failed political class" and with him in office for a second term "write the next chapter of the great American story."

The president then laid out the broad contours of his second-term agenda, which includes expanding Opportunity Zones, shifting medical supply chains back to the U.S. and slashing taxes and regulations Mr. Trump also vowed to create 10 million jobs in the next 10 months and said he would push for more stringent penalties for assaults on law enforcement.

Looking to space, the president pledged to land the first woman on the moon and vowed to make the U.S. the first country to plant its flag on Mars.

"This is the unifying national agenda that will bring our country together," he said.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.