The president and many of the Republicans who spoke at this week’s RNC detailed America’s major cities as drowning in violence, but placed blame elsewhere.
WASHINGTON — Donald Trump said America was a mess in 2016 and four years later, running for reelection as president, he has the same message: America is a mess.
In his speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination on the final night of the party’s convention Thursday, Trump described a country that, while overcoming some challenges, is still facing chaos and “mayhem” across its major cities. Republicans who spoke before Trump, both on Thursday night and in the days before, described “mobs” taking over cities and censoring Americans’ speech, and law enforcement officers in constant danger. It’s the very thing Trump pledged to rid the country of four years ago when he accepted the Republican presidential nomination in Cleveland, Ohio, promising the restoration of “law and order.”
“Nobody knows the system better than me,” he said then of America’s “rigged” politics, “which is why I alone can fix it.”
And yet, four years later, much remains unfixed, according to Trump and most of the speakers during this week’s Republican National Convention.
“There is violence and danger in the streets of many Democrat-run cities throughout America,” the president said Thursday night on the White House’s South Lawn.
His acceptance speech featured some of the self-celebration more typical of a case for reelection, from the pre-pandemic economy to his efforts against terrorism. But gloom still spilled into his remarks, and gloom was the centerpiece of the speeches from many of the Republicans who spoke before him this week. Faced with a Democratic opponent in Joe Biden who’s edging him out in polls and a global pandemic, Trump, in his 2020 acceptance speech, frequently returned to the warnings from 2016, placing blame for increased violence in American cities at the feet of local leaders and political opponents, and absolving his own government.
The speakers at the Republican convention over the past four nights have also created several contradictory realities. In this one, Trump, in power for the past four years, is the ultimate protector of the American people and even “western civilization” as a whole. Meanwhile, Republicans say, Trump, in power for nearly the past four years, is presiding over a nation in darkness and chaos, scourged by “mobs,” “mass chaos,” and “anti-law enforcement bias.”
In effect, Trump and other speakers this week said, America’s cities have descended into violence during Trump’s presidency, and only another four years of Trump as president can prevent things from getting worse.
“If the Radical Left takes power, they will apply their disastrous policies to every city, town, and suburb in America,” Trump said.