Amid social unrest and a pandemic that has killed over 180,000 Americans under his administration, President Donald Trump accepted the Republican Party's 2020 presidential nomination to close out the Republican National Convention. Trump delivered his speech from the South Lawn of the White House, becoming the first sitting president to deliver a convention speech from the White House grounds.
The president opened his speech with a reference to Hurricane Laura, confirming he plans to visit Louisiana and Texas this weekend to survey the damage. After calling for rounds of applause for First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and his children, he officially accepted the GOP nomination. "My fellow Americans, tonight, with a heart full of gratitude and boundless optimism, I profoundly accept this nomination for president of the United States," Trump said to another wave of applause and a "U.S.A." chant.
President Trump officially accepts the Republican Party's nomination for president pic.twitter.com/rLccdGFbMw— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) August 28, 2020
Trump called the upcoming election the most important in the country's history, drawing a clear line between the "two visions" of the different political parties. "This election will decide whether we save the American dream or whether we allow a socialist agenda to demolish our cherished destiny," he said. "It will decide whether we rapidly create millions of high-paying jobs or whether we crush our industries and send millions of these jobs overseas as has foolishly been done for many decades."
Trump delivered his speech amid fresh protests across the country in the aftermath of the police shooting of James Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Sunday, Blake, a Black man, was shot seven times in the back as he was getting into his vehicle after reportedly trying to break up a fight. Blake survived the shooting, but doctors say he is paralyzed from the waist down. The officer who shot Blake and another officer at the scene were placed on administrative leave while the Wisconsin Department of Justice investigates. The shooting, coming four months after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, resulted in a continuation of the protests that began in May. Sports leagues are also following the lead of the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks and games have been postponed for players' protests.
Meanwhile, the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic reached 180,000 this week, according to Johns Hopkins University's data. On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its guidelines on testing, suggesting only people showing symptoms should get a coronavirus test. After outcry and criticism, CDC Director Robert Redfield reversed course, issuing a new statement sating that "everyone who needs a COVID-19 test, can get a test." Throughout the RNC, Republicans have praised Trump's response to the virus. In his speech Wednesday night, Vice President Mike Pence claimed the U.S. was "on track to have the world's first safe, effective coronavirus vaccine by the end of this year."
As the president mentioned at the top of his speech, he is planning to visit Louisiana and Texas to see the damage left by Hurricane Laura personally.. During a visit to FEMA, Trump said he would "probably" visit the two states. The storm reached southwestern Louisana Thursday morning with winds up to 150 mph and made landfall near Lake Charles.