WASHINGTON (BP) — President Donald Trump accepted the Republican nomination for re-election Thursday night (Aug. 27), saying American voters have never faced “a clearer choice between two parties, two visions, two philosophies or two agendas.”
In his 70-minute speech from the South Lawn of the White House, Trump warned that his defeat would result in the destruction of the American way of life. He promised to protect unborn children and religious freedom — issues of great importance to many Southern Baptists and other evangelical Christians — but focused on the dire consequences he predicted if Democratic nominee Joe Biden is elected in November.
The election, Trump said, will decide whether:
— “[W]e save the American dream or whether we allow a socialist agenda to demolish our cherished destiny.
— “[W]e protect law-abiding Americans or whether we give free rein to violent anarchists and agitators and criminals who threaten our citizens.
— “[W]e will defend the American way of life or whether we will allow a radical movement to completely dismantle and destroy it.”
The Democratic nominee “is a Trojan horse for socialism,” the president said. “Joe Biden is not a savior of America’s soul; he is the destroyer of America’s jobs, and, if given the chance, he will be the destroyer of American greatness.”
In closing the Republican National Convention, Trump’s ominous description of a potential Democratic administration came a week after Biden concluded his party’s convention by calling the last four years a “season of darkness in America.”
The back-to-back conventions set up a presidential campaign between a challenger who supports abortion rights, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights, and a sitting president whose administration has promoted pro-life policies for women and their unborn babies and has implemented protections for the conscience rights of employers, health-care professionals and social service organizations regarding abortion and LGBT rights.
Much of the Republican convention appeared designed to appeal to religious and other conservatives. Abby Johnson — former Planned Parenthood clinic director and now a pro-lifer leader — spoke, as did Chen Guangcheng, a critic of China’s population-control program who was imprisoned for his advocacy. Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse, offered the opening prayer of the convention’s final evening.
The GOP did not issue a platform for the first time in a history that dates to 1856, according to The American Presidency Project. The Republican National Committee (RNC) announced it had voted unanimously not to have a platform committee because of the reduction of convention attendance and events as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In a resolution, the RNC said the party “will continue to enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda.”
The 2016 Republican platform and SBC resolutions adopted during recent decades have concurred on such issues as abortion, LGBT rights and religious liberty.
Regarding abortion, Trump said in his acceptance speech, “Democrat politicians refuse to protect innocent life, and then they lecture us about morality and saving America’s soul. Tonight we proudly declare that all children born and unborn have a God-given right to life.”
The president also said his administration “will uphold your religious liberty and defend your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.”
In an expansion in recent years of their concern for human dignity, Southern Baptists and other evangelicals increasingly have expressed a commitment to addressing racial inequities. SBC resolutions have repeatedly repudiated racism.
Regarding minorities, Trump said his administration “produced the best unemployment numbers for African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans ever recorded” before COVID-19. He also repeated an assertion he has “done more for the African American community than any president” since Abraham Lincoln, who issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
Some have disapproved of the president’s policies or rhetoric regarding illegal immigrants, poor foreign countries and, during recent months as protests against racial injustice have roiled the nation, conflict over Confederate statues and monuments.
Backed by American flags, Trump pledged a law-and-order response to the rioting currently afflicting several American cities. He described “the attack on public safety” as “the most dangerous aspect” of Biden’s platform. “My administration will always stand with the men and women of law enforcement,” he said.
Speaking to a mostly unmasked audience estimated at 1,500 people, Trump promised a vaccine against COVID-19 “before the end of the year or maybe even sooner. We will defeat the virus and the pandemic and emerge stronger than ever.”
Looking ahead, the president’s pledges included school choice for every family, substantial tax cuts, 10 million new jobs in the next 10 months, free-speech protections on college campuses and a ban on sanctuary cities.
In a similar fashion to the Democratic convention, the GOP used Charlotte, N.C., the originally planned site; Washington, D.C.; and various satellite locations out of health-and-safety concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.