President Donald Trump adopted a grim tone in remarks to Republicans who formally backed his bid for a second term on Monday, warning without evidence that he could face a rigged election in November.
Trump repeated his assertion that voting by mail, a long-standing feature of American elections that is expected to be far more common during the coronavirus pandemic, could lead to an increase in fraud. Independent election security experts say voter fraud is quite rare in the United States.
Trump spoke on the first day of the sharply scaled-back Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, after he received enough votes to formally win the nomination to take on his Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, in the Nov 3 election.
The only way they can take this election away from us is if this is a rigged election, Trump said. We're going to win.
The in-person proceedings, a far smaller meeting than originally planned, still marked a contrast with Democrats, who opted for an almost entirely virtual format instead of gathering in the election battleground state of Wisconsin. That change was intended to reduce the risk of the virus being spread at the political event.
Republicans said their convention would emphasize law and order, gun rights, tax cuts and the forgotten men and women of America.
Mark and Patricia McCloskey, a couple who made national news when they drew firearms on racial equality protesters outside their Missouri home in June, will depict Biden as seeking to protect criminals from honest citizens, according to excerpts of speeches sent by organizers.
These are the policies that are coming to a neighborhood near you. So make no mistake: No matter where you live, your family will not be safe in the radical Democrats' America, they will say.
Medical professionals and small-business owners will credit Trump's coronavirus response with saving lives and livelihoods.
Prominent Republican women will also speak on Trump's behalf, including his former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley, who will say the president stood up for America on the world stage.