GOP conventions opening night kicks off after Trump gets fired-up delegates to chant 12 more years! – The Dallas Morning News

Updated at 10 p.m.: Revised after the conclusion of RNCs opening night.

WASHINGTON President Donald Trump on Monday accepted the GOPs formal nomination to serve a second White House term, upstaging the Republican National Conventions prime time programming by speaking earlier in the day to delegates conducting the roll call vote.

Making an unannounced stop at the conventions official proceedings in Charlotte, N.C., Trump cast the November contest as the most important election in the history of our country.

Our country can go in a horrible, horrible direction or in an even greater direction, he said in a rollicking, hour-long speech that returned repeatedly to an unfounded assertion that Democrats are trying to rig the election by using mail-in ballots.

Trump at one point even invoked Texas to rip Democrats for extremism, accusing them of pushing a losing policy agenda of no religion, no guns, no oil and gas.

George Washington could come back from the dead, and he could choose as his VP candidate the late, great Abraham Lincoln, and youre not going to win the state of Texas if you have no oil, no guns and no religion, he said, dismissing several recent polls that show him in a dead heat in Texas with Democrat Joe Biden.

It was an unconventional launch to an unconventional presidents unconventional re-nomination event, one thats being held in a partly remote capacity due to the coronavirus pandemic.

While presidential contenders, including Biden, often make surprise appearances throughout their political conventions to wave to the crowd or to drop a one-liner, they typically make only one speech. Trump, however, appears poised to speak every day this week.

That approach is meant to maximize Trumps visibility, while also giving him ample opportunities to pitch to voters his platform for another four years in the White House.

A number of high-profile surrogates on Monday helped in that endeavor, with Donald Trump, Jr., the presidents oldest son; Nikki Haley, Trumps former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations; and Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., all making traditional convention speeches.

Earlier in the day on Monday, Vice President Mike Pence offered perhaps the most concise case for Trumps reelection.

Four more years means more jobs, he said, also addressing delegates in person in Charlotte. Four more years means more judges. Four more years means more support for our troops and cops. And its going to take at least four more years to drain that swamp.

Pence added: Were going to make America great again again.

Democrats, who hosted their convention last week, were quick to blast the roll-out.

The Biden campaign on Monday released a new ad it described as showing the stark contrast between Joe Bidens positive, hopeful, and inspiring vision for the country and Donald Trumps divisive, harmful, and chaotic presidency.

The Texas Democratic Party, which has boasted that Texas is the biggest battleground state, labeled the GOP confab the chaos convention.

Its time to elect a president who provides calm and thoughtful leadership in times of crisis, said Gilberto Hinojosa, the state partys chairman. Its time to elect Joe Biden, the president who will keep our families safe.

But Republicans from Texas and beyond reveled in the moment.

During the Republican convention, you will witness a celebration of an America that enabled a kid born in a Blacks-only hospital in 1961 to be the chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, said Allen West, a Black Army veteran who was recently elected to serve in that role.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who announced Texas roll call vote, described Trump as the states favorite son.

On behalf of our entire delegation, we cast all 155 votes for my friend and the only hope that every American in this country has for true liberty and true freedom and true opportunity: Donald J. Trump, he said on the scaled-back convention floor.

The GOPs four-day event has been split into two main sites, with official work being done in Charlotte and most primetime speeches being broadcast from Washington. Only a handful of Texans most notably, Houston Rep. Dan Crenshaw are so far scheduled to get one of those plum spots.

Given Texas outsized role in the modern Republican Party, it was no shock that some other Lone Star State ties emerged on Monday. Former Dallas Cowboy and Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker, for instance, described his deep, personal friendship with Trump.

It hurts my soul to hear the terrible names that people call Donald, said Walker, who played for Trump in the short-lived United States Football League. The worst one is racist. I take it as a personal insult that people would think I would have a 37-year friendship with a racist.

GOP luminaries from outside of Texas on Monday took the spotlight.

Scott, one of two Black Republicans in Congress, accused Biden of failing Black Americans, saying that Trump helped clean up Bidens mess. He further criticized Biden, saying that radical Democrats are trying to permanently transform what it means to be an American.

Make no mistake: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris want a cultural revolution -- a fundamentally different America, Scott said, referring to Bidens running mate, the California senator.

Haley, often floated as a future White House candidate, talked about how she and Trump stood up for America on the global stage.

Joe Biden and the Democrats are still blaming America first, she said, dinging Bidens foreign policy views on everything from North Korea to Iran. Donald Trump has always put America first, and he has earned four more years as president.

Trump Jr., said Trumps America is a land of opportunity.

If Democrats cared for the forgotten men and women of our country, theyd do exactly what President Trump is doing, he said. America is the greatest country on Earth. But my fathers entire worldview revolves around the idea that we can always do even better.

The focus, from start to finish, was Trump.

The president spoke from the White House a couple of times during the evening program, thanking a group of front line workers and meeting with Americans freed from hostage situations abroad. He made another stop in North Carolina on Monday afternoon to highlight his work to help farmers.

His mostly unscripted speech in Charlotte, however, was the show-stopper.

Four more years! the crowd chanted as he came on stage.

Trump smiled, laughed and then responded, If you really want to drive them crazy, you say, Twelve more years.

The crowd roared and then complied.

Trump then tore into the Democrats, saying the only way they can take this election away from us is if this is a rigged election. He focused his ire mainly on mail-in ballots, but he also accused Democrats of using coronavirus-related shutdowns to hurt his re-election chances.

Theyre using COVID to steal the election, he said.

Trump rejected the notion that Biden is any kind of moderate, while also accusing Biden of being weak toward Beijing.

China will own this country if this guy gets elected, he said.

The president hailed his administrations coronavirus response saying Americas death toll, already the highest in the world, wouldve been even higher but for his action. In perhaps his most direct appeal to voters, Trump touted the countrys economic success before the pandemic struck.

Think of your life just prior to the plague coming in, he said. It was the best its ever been.

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GOP conventions opening night kicks off after Trump gets fired-up delegates to chant 12 more years! - The Dallas Morning News

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