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Donald Trump to attack 'extreme' Biden in convention acceptance speech
27 August 2020, 21:59
Donald Trump is set to tell voters that Democratic rival Joe Biden would pursue the "most extreme set of proposals ever put forward by a major party nominee" when he delivers his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention.
Mr Trump has complained that the Democrats' message was too dark and pessimistic when they held their own scaled-back convention last week.
But excerpts of the president's prepared remarks suggest he will have plenty of negative things to say, excoriating Mr Biden who ran a centrist campaign for the Democratic nomination.
"At no time before have voters faced a clearer choice between two parties, two visions, two philosophies or two agendas," Mr Trump is expected to say.
"We have spent the last four years reversing the damage Joe Biden inflicted over the last 47 years."
The President is also expected to announce a new $750 million deal with Abbott Laboratories for rapid COVID-19 tests, according to a senior White House official.
Under the agreement, the Trump administration would purchase 150 million of the tests, which take only 15 minutes to deliver results.
Prior to Trump's speech. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris accused him of rooting for violence amid unrest in Wisconsin and attacked him for a lack of leadership on the coronavirus pandemic.
"He views this as a political benefit," Democratic presidential nominee Mr Biden said on MSNBC about protests in Wisconsin after police shot a black man earlier this week.
"He's rooting for more violence, not less. And it's clear about that."
Ms Harris, the vice presidential nominee, said Mr Trump has showed "a reckless disregard for the well-being of the American people" in failing to contain the coronavirus.
It was her first major Trump-focused speech since she joined the Democratic ticket.
The two had been largely silent during the first three days of the Republican convention, during which Republicans have tried to link them to protesters, warning a Biden presidency would make America less safe and erroneously saying he wants to defund the police.
In Washington on Thursday, Ms Harris defended the protesters in remarks sure to give fuel to Mr Trump on the convention's final night.
"It's no wonder people are taking to the streets - and I support them," she said. "Make no mistake: we will not let these vigilantes and extremists derail the path to justice."
Mr Biden, who has largely limited travel to near his home in Wilmington, Delaware, during the pandemic said he would consider travelling to Kenosha.
"If I were president I'd be going," Mr Biden said. "But it's hard to tell now what the circumstance on the ground is."
Should he make the trip, Mr Biden said, he would attempt to "pull together the black community as well as the white community and sit down and talk about how we get through this".
Aides said Mr Trump will also make clear that he plans to unite a country that has increasingly shown fractures in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and nationwide protests over police brutality and racial injustice.
"The Republican Party goes forward united, determined and ready to welcome millions of Democrats, independents and anyone who believes in the greatness of America and the righteous heart of the American people," the president will say.
He will take the stage on the South Lawn, a move that has received criticism on social media after photos emerged of more than 1000 chairs tightly packed together with what appears to be little social distancing.
Trump is only the second president to deliver his convention acceptance speech from the White House - convinced that he is on the verge of righting the ship of his battered campaign. Most polls show him trailing Mr Biden in both battleground states and national polling.
The president's chief advisers say that Mr Trump has been bolstered by the convention and by crisper messaging on the ongoing pandemic.
"Look, the American people like the president's platform," said Jared Kushner, White House senior adviser during an event hosted by Politico.
"They like his policies. They want, you know, a president who's going to be bringing jobs back to America from overseas. They want law and order. They want somebody who can keep their community safe."
Mr Trump's speech comes one day after Vice President Mike Pence forcefully defended law enforcement but made no mention of the Black Americans killed by police this year as he addressed convention proceedings that unfolded amid new protests against racial injustice following the latest shooting.
Mr Pence argued that Democratic leaders are allowing lawlessness to prevail from coast to coast. He and others described cities wracked by violence, though protests in most locations have been largely peaceful.
"The American people know we don't have to choose between supporting law enforcement and standing with African American neighbours to improve the quality of life in our cities and towns," he said. He attacked Mr Biden for saying there is an "implicit bias" against people of colour and "systemic racism" in the US.
"The hard truth is ... you won't be safe in Joe Biden's America," Mr Pence said. "Let me be clear: The violence must stop - whether in Minneapolis, Portland or Kenosha."