President Trump accepted the Republican Party’s nomination for a second term on Thursday, joining a general-election contest against Joseph R. Biden Jr. that he and his party cast this week as a crusade against left-wing ideology and violent social disorder, fought against the backdrop of a virus that Republicans largely described as a temporary handicap on the economy.
Mr. Trump misrepresented his own record on the coronavirus, part of a broader attempt to minimize his lapses in office and turn a harsh light toward Mr. Biden, the moderate Democratic nominee. The president also repeatedly accused his opponent and Democrats of failing to take on rioters, though Mr. Biden has condemned recent acts of violence, and of harboring designs to restructure the American economic system along socialist lines.
Mr. Trump, who is due to speak at a rally in New Hampshire this evening, adopted the role of a defender of traditional American values and an unbending ally of the police in his speech Thursday.
“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, standing on a stage on the South Lawn of the White House. “And this election will decide whether we will defend the American way of life, or whether we allow a radical movement to completely dismantle and destroy it. That won’t happen.”
Much of the night was given over to unusually explicit rebuttals to Mr. Trump’s vulnerabilities: Seldom if ever has a political party spent so much time during a convention insisting in explicit terms that its nominee was not a racist or a sexist, and that he was, perhaps despite public appearances, a person of empathy and good character. Ben Carson, the lone Black member of Mr. Trump’s cabinet, argued that people who call the president a racist “could not be more wrong.”