Donald Trump Jr. among speakers at RNC in Charlotte
Posted August 21, 2020 11:12 a.m. EDT
Updated August 25, 2020 6:45 a.m. EDT
Charlotte, N.C. — President Donald Trump made a brief appearance at the Republican National Convention on Monday, telling delegates that the only way he could lose the November election is if Democrats cheat.
Shortly after delegates at the scaled-down convention in Charlotte nominated Trump for a second term, he told them that Democratic candidate Joe Biden would be bad for the country and that Democrats are trying to use the coronavirus pandemic and mail-in voting to "steal an election."
"We've accomplished more during the first 3½ years than just about any administration in history," Trump said to cheers and applause, citing his efforts to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, appoint conservative federal judges, rework trade deals and rebuild the military.
He once again railed against voting by mail, saying it would lead to fraudulent results.
"This is the greatest scam in the history of politics," he said, arguing that absentee ballots would be sold, that operatives would go into neighborhoods to collect and cast unused ballots and that ballots wouldn't be sent to Republican neighborhoods.
State lawmakers made harvesting absentee ballots from others illegal last year, but Trump falsely claimed that North Carolina Democrats pushed to make it legal again to boost their chances this fall.
"They're trying to steal the election from the Republicans, just like they did last time with spying," he said of mail-in voting nationwide. "The only way they can take this election from us is if it's a rigged election."
Vice President Mike Pence also stopped by the Charlotte Convention Center to speak to the delegates. He said that the economy and law and order are on the ballot this fall.
"Our most cherished ideals of freedom and free markets are on the ballot. That’s why we need four more years of President Donald Trump in the White House,” Pence said.
Trump also visited Mills River, near Asheville, where, along with his daughter Ivanka Trump and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, he toured Flavor First Growers and Packers, an organization that partners with Baptists on Mission to fill food boxes that are then delivered to families in need.
Protests, arrests, assaults
Protests started over the weekend and continued Sunday night in the Queen City. Fourteen people have been arrested in the protests since Friday.
"Demonstrators continue to march through Uptown," police tweeted early Monday morning. "They are continuing to move barricades, construction cones and trash cans to block roads and impede traffic."
Officers were also assaulted as several protesters threw traffic cones at them, and one protester repeatedly kicked an officer, police said.
Police said some protesters grabbed officers' bikes, and in response, police used pepper spray on them. Police said pepper spray was used to keep the crowd from interfering with arrests that were taking place.
On Monday, Trump supporters holding Trump flags and wearing Trump masks crowded the area outside the restricted zone around the Charlotte Convention Center.
"He’s proven that he’s a godly man, and he will justify everything he’s done, even with the Democrats doing the things they’ve done to him with the impeachment, all the harassment from them," Sunshine Spurlock said.
Democrats in the crowd said another four years of Trump as president would degrade the democracy.
"It’s time for us to look inside and look to the strength of our creator to stand up for our democracy, our republican form of government," Mosie Boyd said.
Hundreds of delegates in Charlotte
The four-day convention has been scaled back due to the coronavirus pandemic, with around 300 delegates in attendance. Still, it's North Carolina's largest event since the pandemic began.
“Everyone’s been very good and supportive of wearing the masks and social distancing. It’s not all that crowded. We go and sit at tables. We are sitting 7 [or] 8 feet a part from each other," said Doyle Beck, an Idaho delegate.
Trump criticized Gov. Roy Cooper for the pandemic-related restrictions, but he said he and the GOP delegates still showed up in Charlotte, unlike Biden and the Democratic delegates, who held a virtual convention instead of holding any events in Milwaukee as initially scheduled.
DeVan Barbour, a convention delegate from Johnston County, said the president's appearance was yet another sign of how important North Carolina is in the election.
"He has to show the people he has a clear vision, path and plan for the next four years of our nation," Barbour said. "Getting us through this pandemic, getting our economy started back up and getting us back on the path that we were before COVID took everything down."
Most of the GOP’s business in Charlotte was finished Monday, so the majority of delegates headed home to watch four nights of speeches culminating with Trump's acceptance speech on Thursday night.
Speakers Monday night include Donald Trump Jr., former United Nations Ambassador and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, and Andrew Pollack, whose daughter was killed in the Parkland, Fla., school shooting in 2018.
“It’ll be a bounce," Layne Bangerter, another Idaho delegate, said of the convention effect. "It’ll be energy and enthusiasm and a groundswell of support throughout the nation to re-elect the president based on his policies and his accomplishments."