President Donald Trump commandeered the South Lawn of the White House on Thursday night, delivering a long, slashing acceptance speech on the final night of the Republican National Convention.
Trump spoke to an adoring crowd of about 1,900 people, tossing aside public health warnings about large gatherings and social distancing. The president was sweating, as the thermometer was stuck at 84 degrees at 11 p.m. in Washington, D.C. The crowd stood at several points, even chanting “four more years.” Following the speech, there was a fireworks display to the strains of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” and Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.”
Here are five key moments from the final night of the convention:
Last week, Joe Biden delivered his convention speech in a focused 25 minutes. That is not Trump’s style. He spoke for 70 minutes, nearly as long as the 75-minute acceptance speech he gave in 2016, which itself was the longest convention speech in decades.
He covered a lot of ground, attacking Biden and defending his own record in office. He warned that Biden would be a “Trojan horse” for the radical left, and would defund police departments, ushering in “mob rule.” He said that Biden would “make every city look like Democrat-run Portland, Oregon.”
“Your vote will decide whether we protect law abiding Americans, or whether we give free rein to violent anarchists, agitators, and criminals who threaten our citizens,” he said.
He attacked “cancel culture,” complaining that “Many things have a different name now, and the rules are constantly changing.”
He also spoke about the coronavirus, predicting that a vaccine would be available by the end of the year.
He spoke of a “unifying national agenda” of landing an astronaut on Mars and a woman on the moon. And he reveled in the setting, and of his defeat of the “failed political class” four years ago.
“We’re here and they’re not,” he said.
The president’s daughter was the sixth Trump family member to speak at the convention (or the seventh, if counting Kimberly Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of Donald Trump, Jr.) and the one who got the honor of introducing him.
She spoke fondly of “my father,” saying he had shaken up the Beltway elite.
As her brother Eric had done in his convention speech, Ivanka addressed her father directly, saying “Dad, people attack you for you being unconventional, but I love you for being real, and I respect you for being effective.”
The Ultimate Fighting Championship president gave one of the more extensive discussions of Trump’s response to the pandemic, saying he had served on a White House task force on reopening.
“It was clear: his highest priority was always the health and safety of everyone in our country,” White said.
White bragged that the UFC was the first sport to restart, and said the lessons learned would help reopen schools. “We need leaders with President Trump’s unique attributes,” White said. “No one is going to outwork this guy.”
The introductory video featured Trump saying, “We have to get our sports back.”
Ann Dorn gave one of the most genuinely moving speeches of the convention. She spoke about the death of her husband, David Dorn, a security guard and retired police captain who was killed in June amid looting in St. Louis. She told of how the police chief came to her door at 4 a.m. to give her the news.
“I relive that horror in my mind every single day,” she said. “My hope is that having you relive it with me now will help shake this country from the nightmare we are witnessing in our cities and bring about positive, peaceful change.”
Attacks on Bill de Blasio
The New York City mayor ran one of the briefest runs for president last year, getting in late and bombing out early. And yet, it felt for a while like he was the Democratic nominee.
In a video, De Blasio was attacked by public housing residents, one of whom said she would “really hate to get started on this mayor.” Pat Lynch, the president of the New York police union, then blasted “Democratic politicians” that had “surrendered our streets and institutions.”
Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani finished the job, blaming De Blasio for riots and mayhem and warning “Don’t let Democrats do to America what they have done to New York!”