Washington, Aug 24 (efe-epa).- Republicans gathered in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Monday for a scaled-back convention formally renominated President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to lead the party into the Nov. 3 election that will decide who governs the United States for the next four years.
While the Democrats’ convention last week was an all-virtual affair due to Covid-19, Republicans went forward with an in-person event at the Charlotte Convention Center.
Even so, only 336 delegates – instead of the usual 2,550 – were able to take part amid the pandemic restrictions.
“Joe Biden was going to have his convention in Milwaukee and he didn’t go there,” Trump told the delegates when he appeared before them. “We did this out of respect for the state of North Carolina.”
The president’s speech was not on the schedule, but he took advantage of an official visit to the Tar Heel state to drop in on the convention.
Delegates greeted Trump with chants of “four more years,” but the real estate mogul urged them to think bigger.
“If you really want to drive them crazy, you say ’12 more years,'” the president said. “Because we caught them doing some really bad things in 2016. Let’s see what happens.”
He went on to insist that his supporters were even more enthusiastic in 2020 than they were in 2016, asserting that the only way Democratic opponent can defeat him is through fraud.
Trump repeated his unsubstantiated claims that mail-in voting is uniquely susceptible to cheating and manipulation.
“It’s not fair, it’s not right, and it’s not going to be possible to tabulate,” he said. “They are using Covid to defraud the American people of a fair and free election.”
Many voters are wary of going to the polls to cast ballots in person as the US continues to lead the world in coronavirus cases (5.74 million) and deaths (177,000).
Yet Trump, who votes by mail himself, has vowed to block extra funding for the US Postal Service to ensure that it can process the higher volume of mail-in votes.
The president was preceded at the podium in Charlotte by Pence.
“I’m here for one reason and one reason only and that is, not just the Republican Party, but America needs four more years of President Donald Trump in the White House,” the vice president said.
“In the midst of this pandemic, the leadership of this president and compassion for the American people shown forth,” Pence said. “We’ll continue to work everyday until we put this coronavirus in the past.”
“We’re going to make America great again, again,” he said. EFE afs/dr