CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - President Donald Trump spoke on multiple subjects from unity to the pandemic as he addressed delegates during the first day of the Republican National Convention in Charlotte on Monday.
The president touched down aboard Air Force One at the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport just before noon. His motorcade then moved through uptown to the Charlotte Convention Center, where the RNC’s official business of re-nominating Trump as the official Republican candidate for the 2020 presidential election.
President Trump took the stage to cheers and chants of “four more years” from the crowd. He then thanked the crowd and began his speech with an apparent joke leading into claims the Democrats were caught “doing some really bad things.”
“Now if you really want to drive them crazy, you say ‘twelve more years.’ Because, we caught them doing some really bad things in 2016 - let’s see what happens,” Trump said. “We caught them doing some really bad things, we have to be very careful because they’re trying it again with this whole 80 million mail-in ballots that they’re working on.”
The president then claimed citizens were receiving ballots even when they didn’t ask for them, which he said was “very unfair.”
“This is the most important election in the history of our country,” Trump said before remarking on the “special evening” that was the 2016 election. “We have to be very careful and we have to win. Our country is counting on it. This is the biggest, this is it. Our country can go in a horrible, horrible direction or in an even greater direction.”
Trump said the country was going in that “greater” direction before the “plague came in from China,” referencing the coronavirus pandemic.
“We were going in a direction like we had never seen - the most successful economy in the history of our country, the best unemployment numbers in history, for African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, women, college students. Bad students, good students, everybody. If you had a diploma if you didn’t have a diploma, it didn’t matter - you were doing well, everybody was doing well.”
President Trump then talked about unity and bringing citizens together, a subject RNC officials have said would be at the center of this year’s convention, while taking an apparent jab at former President Barack Obama.
“You know success brings people together, maybe better than anything else success brings people - so many times they say ‘we’re divided.’ Well we were very divided under President Obama, very divided. People have no idea how divided, they didn’t talk about it as much, they didn’t say it as much. But we were really coming together and I was speaking with Democrats all of a sudden because the success, the markets were at an all time high.”
The president then touted the economy despite the pandemic and all the records he says were broken during his time in office.
“We’re getting ready to do things like nobody’s ever seen before, but the best way to bring unity is success.”
Trump then thanked the people of North Carolina, saying he felt he had “an obligation” to be at the convention on opening day, before mentioning Gov. Cooper and his response to the COVID-19 pandemic in N.C.
“I just want to thank the people of North Carolina because to be honest with you, I felt an obligation to be here,” Trump said. “You have a governor who’s in a total shutdown mood. I guarantee you on November 4 it’ll all open up, it’ll be fine like most other states.”
Trump claimed Democrats “love the shutdown” because it makes “our numbers look as bad as possible for the economy.”
According to the president, the U.S. responded correctly to the “invisible enemy” by “shutting down then reopening.”
“If we didn’t shut it down at that point, we would have had millions of people dead,” Trump said.
The president then went on to talk about various different subjects including healthcare, the military, jobs and the Second Amendment.
President Trump ended the speech on a hopeful yet cautious note, saying the aforementioned success would be coming back if he’s re-elected.
“Next year is gonna be an incredible... it’s gonna be a great, great year. It’s gonna be a year of tremendous success,” Trump said in part. “I just want to thank everybody for this incredible support. Be very, very careful. And I really believe this - this is the most important election in the history of our country.”
Monday’s convention proceedings were attended by six delegates from each state and territory, amounting to 336 delegates total.
Given the in-person capacity limitations by the state of North Carolina due to COVID-19, the group was to be small to meet capacity and social-distancing restrictions in place.
After speaking at the RNC in Charlotte, Trump is scheduled to visit the Asheville-area with daughter Ivanka Trump and United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue for the Farmers to Families program.
According to administration officials, this will be President Trump’s first visit to a Farmers to Families Food Box farm. He will tour Flavor 1st Growers and Packers in Mills River with Ivanka and Sec. Purdue.
President Trump will be giving remarks there Monday at 3:30 p.m.