President Trump was nominated for a second term on Monday as the Republican National Convention got underway in Charlotte, N.C., and he used a surprise speech at the convention not to preview a second-term agenda, but to cast doubt in advance on the November election and attack mail-in voting, accusing Democrats of “using Covid to steal the election.”
Mr. Trump — who took the stage as the crowd chanted “Four more years!” — began with a provocation.
“If you want to really drive them crazy, you say 12 more years,” Mr. Trump said.
Mr. Trump, who is seeking re-election amid a pandemic that his administration has failed to contain, widespread economic pain and racial unrest, used his speech to rally the party by focusing on the strength of the stock market and attacking Democratic officials who imposed coronavirus restrictions.
He repeated his unfounded allegations that President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., his opponent in the coming election, had spied on his campaign in 2016. “We caught them doing really bad things,” he said. “Let’s see what happens. They’re trying it again.”
Mr. Trump criticized Roy Cooper, the Democratic governor of North Carolina, telling the crowd in Charlotte that Mr. Cooper and other Democratic governors had enacted virus restrictions simply to hurt his re-election chances and would lift them after Election Day.
“You have a governor who is in a total shutdown mood,” he said. “I guarantee you on November 4, it will all open up.”
Though shutdowns caused by the pandemic have left millions of Americans unemployed, and new rounds of relief have been held up in Washington, Mr. Trump focused on his economic successes.
“We’re just about ready to break the all-time stock market record,” he said.
Mr. Trump offered his remarks to a crowd that frequently broke into applause, a dramatic contrast with last week’s Democratic convention, which was held largely remotely out of concerns that indoor gatherings could spread the coronavirus. The Republicans have made their decision to hold an in-person convention a political statement in itself.
With tens of millions of Americans expected to vote by mail in order to avoid contracting the virus at polling places, the president continued his monthslong assault on voting by mail and repeated unfounded accusations that it was part of a Democratic plot to hand the election to Mr. Biden.
“They’re using Covid to steal the election,” he said.
And he continued to try to paint Mr. Biden, an establishment figure in politics for decades who has been running a centrist campaign, as radical. He demanded that Mr. Biden put out a list of judges he would appoint, as Mr. Trump did in 2016.
“He can’t do it,” he said. “The radical left will demand he appoints super-radical-left wild crazy justices going into the Supreme Court.”
If that happens, Mr. Trump said, “Your American dream will be dead.”
While the Democrats at their convention last week made the death toll from the pandemic — now past 175,000 — a centerpiece of their case, and tried to lay the blame for it at Mr. Trump’s feet, the president mentioned the virus’s victims almost as an afterthought at the end of his rambling, nearly hourlong speech.
“We will never forget the 175,000 people — that will go up,” he said, adding the toll would have been millions more without travel bans he implemented.
Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Monday called for an immediate investigation into the shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, by the police in Kenosha, Wis., saying that “these shots pierce the soul of our nation.”
“This morning, the nation wakes up yet again with grief and outrage that yet another Black American is a victim of excessive force,” Mr. Biden said in a statement. “This calls for an immediate, full and transparent investigation and the officers must be held accountable.”
Mr. Biden added that the country “must dismantle systemic racism,” saying that “equal justice has not been real for Black Americans and so many others.”
As Republicans gathered in Charlotte, N.C., for their convention on Monday, Vice President Mike Pence told the delegates that “four more years means more support for our troops and our cops.” And President Trump’s pledge to the delegates that “we are going to fully fund law enforcement and hire more police” was greeted with chants and cheers.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is scheduled to speak at the Republican convention on Tuesday, instructed State Department employees last month not to participate in political activities, and his own plans appear to violate department regulations.
Employees “may not engage in partisan political activity” even outside of work hours, Mr. Pompeo wrote in an internal cable on July 24.
“Similarly,” he added, “presidential and political appointees” — of which he is one — “are subject to significant restrictions on their political activity; they may not engage in any partisan political activity in concert with a partisan campaign, political party, or partisan political group, even on personal time and outside of the federal workplace.”
According to State Department guidance from December 2019, department employees are not allowed to “speak for or against a partisan candidate, political party, or partisan political group at a convention, rally, or similar gathering sponsored by such entities.”
A State Department official said that Mr. Pompeo would “address the convention in his personal capacity” and added: “No State Department resources will be used. Staff are not involved in preparing the remarks or in the arrangements for Secretary Pompeo’s appearance. The State Department will not bear any costs in conjunction with this appearance.”
But the official guidelines and Mr. Pompeo’s cable state clearly that such partisan activities are prohibited even on employees’ personal time.
The guidance also says that “Senate-confirmed presidential appointees may not even attend a political party convention or convention-related event.” Mr. Pompeo is a Senate-confirmed presidential appointee.
Mr. Pompeo will not be physically present at the convention, which is being held in Charlotte, N.C., but speaking for Mr. Trump would violate the December 2019 guidance. State Department representatives did not respond to multiple requests for comment about whether those rules were current.
Vice President Mike Pence took the stage to accept his renomination Monday morning as the Republican National Convention kicked off, pitching the Trump-Pence ticket as leaders of a party that stood for “free market economics, secure borders” and the “right to life.”
“We’re going to Make America Great Again, again,” Mr. Pence told the crowd of cheering — but socially distanced — delegates at the Charlotte Convention Center.
He said the week would make it clear that the president will “always stand with the men and women who serve on the thin blue line of law enforcement.”
“Four more years means more judges,” Mr. Pence said. “Four more years means more support for our troops and our cops. It’s going to take at least four more years to drain that swamp.”
Rebutting the Democrats’ charge that the Nov. 3 election amounted to a referendum on democracy itself, Mr. Pence told the delegates, “the economy is on the ballot.”
Mr. Pence’s speech came as delegates formally cast their votes for Mr. Trump at the opening-day roll call. Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, offered opening remarks in which she framed Mr. Trump as the empathetic candidate on the ballot, in contrast with his opponent, Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Ms. McDaniel said last week’s Democratic convention was “depressing, doom and gloom, night after night,” calling it “a masterpiece in fiction about President Trump’s record and what he has accomplished for the American people.”
“Their argument for Joe Biden boiled down to the fact they think he’s a nice and empathetic guy,” she said. “Well, let me tell you, raising taxes on 82 percent of Americans is not empathetic.” She seemed to be referring to Mr. Biden’s vow to undo President Trump’s signature 2017 tax cut, which resulted in lower taxes for middle-income earners as well as the wealthy. Mr. Biden pledged on Sunday that if elected he would hold the line on taxes for Americans earning under $400,000.
Swaying disillusioned Republicans and unaffiliated voters has become a point of emphasis for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., whose campaign released on Monday a list of 27 former Republican members of Congress who had endorsed him against President Trump.
The first name on the list was former Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, who drew the ire of Mr. Trump and Republicans in 2018 when he voted to delay the Supreme Court confirmation vote of Brett M. Kavanaugh so that the F.B.I. could investigate sexual assault allegations against the judge.
Mr. Flake ultimately voted to confirm Justice Kavanaugh and left office less than three months later, at the end of his term.
In a Facebook Live broadcast on Monday afternoon that was shared by the Biden campaign, Mr. Flake said that he was gravely concerned about Mr. Trump’s conduct as president. He said that under Mr. Trump, the country had given in to the impulse to mistake political opponents for enemies.
“I was a Republican long before the president ever called himself one, and I’ll be a Republican long after identifying as such is no longer useful to him,” Mr. Flake said. “Principle does not go in and out of fashion, does not chase ratings or play to the base or care much about polls, and principle is a provenance of no one party.”
Mr. Flake said that he didn’t always agree with Mr. Biden, but that under a Biden administration, the nation would be able to preserve the civic space where Republicans and Democrats could disagree on policy matters without fear of reprisal.
In addition to Mr. Flake, the list of Republican endorsements included those of former Senator John Warner of Virginia, former Senator Gordon Humphrey of New Hampshire, former Representative Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania and former Representative Christopher Shays of Connecticut.
“For me, what matters is that we have a president who speaks to our better nature,” Mr. Shays said in an interview on Monday. “Donald Trump speaks to our darker nature.”
Mr. Shays emphasized that he wasn’t just supporting Mr. Biden because of his disapproval of Mr. Trump. He said that Mr. Biden was authentic and that the two had worked together on women’s issues when Mr. Biden was a senator.
“I would have been proud to write the speech that Biden gave,” Mr. Shays said of Mr. Biden’s keynote speech at last week’s Democratic convention. “I printed it out and thought, This is the person I want to be my president.”
Jerry Falwell Jr. played a major role at the Republican National Convention four years ago, serving as a critical bridge between conservative evangelical voters and a Republican nominee who was thrice divorced, enamored of expletive, iffy on biblical verse, and a one-time Democrat who had proudly declared himself “pro-choice in every respect” before changing positions and parties.
“My family has grown to love and respect the Trumps,” Mr. Falwell, then the president of Liberty University, said in a seven-minute speech before a packed convention hall in Cleveland. “We have never met such a genuine and loving family. I truly believe Mr. Trump is America’s blue-collar billionaire.”
A return speaking role seemed inevitable after Mr. Falwell hosted the president for the university’s commencement in 2017, and the earliest discussions of the 2020 convention lineup did, indeed, include him, according to a Trump campaign official.
But convention planners quietly ruled him out late last year, amid concerns about Mr. Falwell’s private life — long before Monday’s blockbuster report by Reuters alleging a long-term romantic entanglement between himself, his wife and pool attendant, according to three people familiar with the situation.
As of late Monday, Mr. Falwell was on his way out as president of Liberty University, which he had taken a leave of absence from earlier after posting a suggestive picture of himself on social media.
Like many other one-time fixtures in Mr. Trump’s political orbit, Mr. Falwell has been shunted to the margins when he became a liability, in part because the president does not need anyone’s help in securing support from white evangelicals, who are now among his most faithful voters.
But Mr. Falwell and the president were once very close — close enough for Mr. Falwell to ask Mr. Trump’s now-estranged personal lawyer Michael Cohen to suppress “personal” photographs “between husband and wife,” according to a taped conversation between the two.
Mr. Falwell’s 2016 speech, viewed in light of subsequent events, seems like a snapshot from a different era — and even his predictions about Mr. Trump’s presidency-to-be now seem dated.
Mr. Trump would work his “magic” on “$19 trillion in debt,” he said.
It now stands at roughly $26 trillion.
Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senator Kamala Harris will be tested regularly for Covid-19 as Election Day approaches, the Biden campaign said on Monday, a day after a senior Biden official said Mr. Biden had not yet been tested.
The Biden team said that “with the potential of additional events” over the remainder of the campaign, it had increased its health protocols. Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris will be tested “on a regular basis to help further protect those around them,” the campaign said. The Biden team declined to elaborate on details of those possible events.
Staff members who interact with Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris will also be tested regularly, and the campaign said it would announce publicly if either candidate ever has a confirmed case of Covid-19.
The announcement came a day after Kate Bedingfield, a deputy campaign manager for Mr. Biden, said on ABC’s “This Week” that Mr. Biden had not yet been tested — despite stringent testing protocols for others who attended the speeches Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris delivered in Delaware last week.
Andrew Bates, a campaign spokesman, said on Monday, “This announcement is another step demonstrating Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s commitment to turn the page on Trump’s catastrophic mismanagement during the worst public health crisis in 100 years.”
President Trump described himself last month as “probably the most tested person in the world,” and said later in the month that he was tested every two or three days on average.
Television’s ability to handle a Trump-centric convention faced an early test on Monday, when the president delivered a kickoff speech that was filled with false claims about the integrity of mail-in voting and the policy positions of his Democratic opponent, Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Broadcasters were already bracing for a week of tough editorial decisions. Political conventions, at heart, are forms of propaganda, and TV networks typically give a long leash to candidates as they formally make their case to the nation.
Producers are trying to balance voters’ right to hear directly from their president while preventing misinformation from spreading unchecked on their channels to millions of viewers. The president’s allies say that Mr. Trump deserves the same deference as past presidents, and any intervention on the networks’ part is a sign of editorial bias.
As the president spoke on Monday, a hodgepodge of journalistic strategies emerged.
CNN cut away from Mr. Trump in the middle of his remarks. MSNBC carried the entirety of Mr. Trump’s speech live, opting for real-time analysis in on-screen graphics. Fox News carried the speech live, but did not offer a correction to Mr. Trump’s false claims.
In general, TV producers say they are inclined to air Mr. Trump’s remarks live, with clarifications and corrections offered as necessary.
“There are certain speeches in the political life of the country that the news networks treat as events the audience deserves to see: the State of the Union, an inaugural address, and convention speeches by the nominee and the running mate,” said Mark Lukasiewicz, who was an executive producer for coverage of six conventions at NBC News.
“These are singular events,” Mr. Lukasiewicz added. “But the networks are going to struggle. How do you maintain an appearance of fairness and equity between the two parties’ political events, but deal with the fact that one candidate, you have every reason to believe, will not tell the truth?”
The New York State attorney general’s office has asked a judge to order President Trump’s son Eric to testify under oath in an inquiry into the Trump family’s real estate firm, court papers show.
The filings in state court in Manhattan, made public on Monday, also ask the judge to order the real estate company, the Trump Organization, to hand over documents about four properties the attorney general’s office is investigating as part of an inquiry begun last year, one that the office says the company has stalled for months.
Eric Trump, the executive vice president of the company, abruptly canceled an interview under oath with the attorney general’s office last month, and last week the Trump Organization told the office that the company and its lawyers would not comply with seven subpoenas related to the investigation.
Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, started the civil inquiry in March 2019 after President Trump’s former lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, told Congress that the president had inflated his assets in financial statements to banks when seeking loans and understated them elsewhere to reduce his taxes.
The Trump Organization properties under investigation include the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, 40 Wall Street in Lower Manhattan and the Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles.
The filings come as the president faces legal actions on multiple fronts. The Manhattan district attorney’s office has suggested in court filings that it is investigating possible bank and insurance fraud by the president and the Trump Organization.
The extent to which President Trump has bent the Republican Party to his will was underscored this week when the party announced that it would not adopt a new platform this year, but would “continue to enthusiastically support the president’s America-first agenda.”
The decision not to adopt a new Republican Party platform, the party’s main statement of policy, was extraordinary. The resolution that the Republican National Committee passed over the weekend forgoing a new one anticipated criticism, claiming that the “media has outrageously misrepresented the implications” of not adopting a new platform and calling on the media to accurately report the party’s “strong support” for the president.
Criticism came swiftly. William Kristol, a former chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle who went on to serve as the editor of The Weekly Standard, a conservative magazine, and who has emerged as one of Mr. Trump’s most prominent Republican critics, wrote on Twitter: “It’s no longer the Republican party. It’s a Trump cult.”
The Republicans, in 2020, for the first time, have no platform. Instead: “RESOLVED, That the Republican Party has and will continue to enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda.” It’s no longer the Republican party. It’s a Trump cult.https://t.co/BATeUiXRYu
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) August 23, 2020
Party platforms are nonbinding documents that tend to lay out policy positions and principles. A new Republican Party platform would have been instructive at a moment when Mr. Trump has broken with party orthodoxy on a host of issues, including his opposition to free trade agreements; a foreign policy that has attempted to forge closer ties with Russia even as he has antagonized longstanding European allies; and a fiscal policy under which deficits were rising even before the pandemic forced more federal spending.
The Republican National Committee said that it was forgoing a new platform because fewer people were attending the convention this year because of coronavirus restrictions, and it “did not want a small contingent of delegates formulating a new platform without the breadth of perspectives within the ever-growing Republican movement.” The Democrats, who held their convention remotely, nonetheless adopted a new platform last week.
On Sunday, Mr. Trump released a list of broad statements about his agenda for a second term, under the heading “President Trump: Fighting for You!” They included promises of millions of new jobs, a vow to “hold China fully accountable for allowing the virus to spread around the world” and a “return to normal in 2021.”
Republican National Committee members and delegates gathered inside the Charlotte Convention Center Monday morning for their roll call to renominate President Trump.
Despite a statewide mask mandate, many of the delegates gathering were not wearing masks indoors. Members of the Hawaii delegation posed for pictures with their arms around each other and no face masks on. Everyone participating is being tested for the coronavirus every day.
The daily programming for the convention begins at 9 a.m. Eastern time Monday through Thursday but, as with the Democratic convention, the big speeches will happen at night.
The Times will stream the convention every evening, accompanied by chat-based live analysis from our reporters and real-time highlights from the speeches. The official livestream will be available on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Twitch and Amazon Prime. ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox News will cover the convention from 10 to 11 p.m. every night; CNN from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.; MSNBC from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.; PBS from 8 to 11 p.m.; and C-SPAN at 9 a.m. and then at 8:30 p.m.
President Trump is expected to speak every day. Other major speakers on Night 1 include Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina and a former ambassador to the United Nations; Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only Black Republican in the Senate; and Donald Trump Jr., the president’s oldest son and a prominent surrogate on the campaign trail and on Twitter.
Other speakers scheduled for Monday include:
Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida.
Kimberly Guilfoyle, a top fund-raising official for Mr. Trump and the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr.
Natalie Harp, a member of the advisory board for Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign.
Amy Johnson Ford, a nurse.
State Representative Vernon Jones of Georgia, a Democrat who is part of Mr. Trump’s response to Republicans who endorsed Joseph R. Biden Jr. last week.
Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, the founder of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.
Charlie Kirk, the 26-year-old founder of Turning Point USA, a conservative nonprofit.
Kim Klacik, the Republican candidate in Maryland’s Seventh Congressional District. The district is safely Democratic, but Ms. Klacik, who is Black, went viral for an ad in which she said Democrats did not care about Black lives.
Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee.
Sean Parnell, the Republican candidate in Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional District.
Andrew Pollack, whose daughter, Meadow, was killed in the 2018 mass shooting in Parkland, Fla.
Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the House Republican whip.
Tanya Weinreis, a small-business owner in Montana who received a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program.
Louis DeJoy, the postmaster general, appeared before lawmakers again on Monday, this time testifying to the Democratic-run House oversight committee. He faced much tougher questioning than he did on Friday, when he testified before a committee of the Republican-run Senate.
In his opening remarks, Mr. DeJoy continued defending the cost-cutting measures he has put in place and pushed back against suggestions that the changes were intended to influence the 2020 election by making mail-in voting less reliable.
He told the lawmakers that while some changes he had implemented, such as reducing overtime, had caused delays, those issues were being addressed.
“While we have had temporary service decline, which should not have happened, we are fixing this,” Mr. DeJoy said.
Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of New York and the chairwoman of the oversight committee, said the expectation that his changes at the agency would not cause mail delays reflected “incompetence at best.”
After Representative Stephen F. Lynch, Democrat of Massachusetts, repeatedly asked whether Mr. DeJoy would return the mail-sorting machines that have already been removed from post offices, the postal leader barked, “I will not.” He then added that Mr. Lynch had spread “misinformation” during his furious monologue.
When introducing Mr. DeJoy, Representative Mark Walker, Republican of North Carolina, accused Democrats of trying to “cancel” Mr. DeJoy for purely partisan reasons.
“How sad is it when the cancel culture has reached the halls of Congress,” Mr. Walker said. “The man sitting before this committee today is not who the Democrats have villainized him to be. He’s here today because he supported President Trump.”
Democrats have been leery of Mr. DeJoy’s role as a megadonor to Republicans and President Trump, who has sown distrust about mail-in voting on Sunday. Mr. DeJoy acknowledged in the House committee hearing that he did not find Mr. Trump’s comments helpful.
“I have put word around to different people that this is not helpful,” he said, in response to a question from Representative Gerald Connolly of Virginia.
In Puerto Rico, several high-ranking politicians contracted the coronavirus after attending indoor campaign events, offering a cautionary tale for the Republican convention and future campaign stops.
Representative Jenniffer González-Colón, Puerto Rico’s nonvoting member of Congress, said on Monday that she tested positive, a week after the island’s Aug. 16 primary drew politicians together for news conferences and to watch election returns.
“I think it was a mistake on my part to be in a closed environment,” she said on Facebook Live. “There were a lot of people, and you can’t control who could be infected and who not. That’s a good lesson, not just for politicians but for everyone in general: I think it was a mistake to be in a place with so many people.”
Ms. González-Colón, a Republican, is also a member of the New Progressive Party, which supports Puerto Rican statehood. Among those infected from the party’s brass are the House speaker, the Senate majority leader and two top aides to the party’s nominee for governor. Several party members had congregated indoors for part of the day of the primary.
Young people who vote: They are the holy grail of any presidential campaign, but regularly getting them energized and excited is a yet-to-be-cracked formula.
But maybe excited is too high a bar. Ilana Glazer, the comedian and co-creator of the TV series “Broad City,” has a new project that rests less on building on enthusiasm for the Democratic ticket, and more on enthralling people with how voting can bring about tangible change. In this case, that change is getting rid of President Trump.
She’s approaching it from a shared antipathy to the occasionally pedantic nature of politics, which she feels can intimidate younger or newer participants.
“I really resent how I’m supposed to feel stupid if I don’t know how the system works,” Ms. Glazer said in an interview. “The system is perfectly designed to evade me.”
After what she described as “the nightmare election” of 2016, Ms. Glazer, 33, dedicated much of her past four years to progressive activism through her nonprofit group, Generator, aiming to connect with exactly that kind of uneasy liberal. Now, in the final, 70-day sprint to the election, Ms. Glazer is teaming up with the liberal super PAC Pacronym and introducing a new project titled “Cheat Sheet for the Voting Booth.”
“No matter what, the white supremacist, narcissistic, sociopathic individual occupying the White House has got to go,” Ms. Glazer explains in the project’s introduction. “And he needs to be SHOVED out; he needs to lose by a landslide, baby.”