Aug. 27 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump, in a twist on rival Joe Biden's convention speech, accused the Democratic presidential nominee of seeking to keep Americans "completely in the dark" about his plans to lead the country.
Speaking from the South Lawn of the White House to close the final day of the Republican National Convention, Trump touted his accomplishments over his four years as president as he accepted the Republican nomination while referencing Biden's speech last week in which he declared himself an "ally of light" after Trump has "cloaked America in darkness."
"Joe Biden may claim he is an ally of the light, but when it comes to his agenda, he wants to keep us completely in the dark, he doesn't have a clue," Trump said.
Trump also described Biden's presidential platform as "the most extreme set of proposals ever put forward by a major party nominee."
The president again blamed China for the spread of COVID-19, while boasting about U.S. testing practices and said the country was on track to produce a vaccine by the end of the year or "even sooner."
"Many Americans, including me, have sadly lost friends and cherished loved ones to this horrible disease. As one nation, we mourn, we grieve and we hold in our hearts forever the memories of all those lives that have been so tragically taken. So unnecessary. In their honor, we will unite; in their memory, we will overcome," he said.
Trump also decried nationwide protests sparked by the police-involved killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and renewed this week after Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times by a Kenosha, Wis., police officer, leaving him paralyzed.
"In the strongest possible terms, the Republican party condemns the rioting, looting, arson and violence we have seen in Democrat-run cities all, like Kenosha, Minneapolis, Portland, Chicago and New York, many others, Democrat-run," he said.
Trump has deployed federal law enforcement to several cities throughout the country, saying Wednesday he planned to send more federal agents to Kenosha in response to the protests. On Wednesday, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse was arrested and charged with being a fugitive for justice and first-degree intentional homicide after fatally shooting two people at a protest in Kenosha.
"There's violence and danger in the streets of many Democrat-run cities throughout America," Trump said Thursday night. "This problem could easily be fixed if they wanted to. Just call, we're ready to go in. We'll take care of your problem in a matter of hours. Just call. We have to wait for the call. It's too bad we have to but we have to wait for the call."
Protesters also marched at the recently renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House throughout Thursday's convention.
"My father has strong convictions. He knows what he believes and says what he thinks. Whether you agree with him or not, you always know where he stands," she said. "I recognize that my dad's communication style is not everyone's taste. And I understand his tweets can feel a bit unfiltered. But the results -- the results speak for themselves."
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., described the Senate as a "firewall against" House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and painted the Nov. 3 election as "incredibly consequential for middle America."
"We'll continue to support families as we defeat the coronavirus and return our economy to the envy of the world," McConnell said. "The stakes have never been higher, which is why I'm asking you to support Republican Senate candidates across the country and re-elect my friend President Donald Trump."
House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said the choice before Americans in November's election "could not be clearer."
"Forward in freedom, or backward in socialism. Forward in prosperity or backward in poverty. Forward and personal liberty or backward and more government control. I know which direction I'm heading," McCarthy said.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson offered condolences to the family of Blake, as well as others "who have been impacted by the tragic events" in Kenosha, Wis.
"Let's use our hearts, our love and our intelligence to work together to show the rest of the world how humans are supposed to treat each other. America is great when we behave greatly," Carson said. "In order to succeed and change, we must first come together in love of our fellow citizens. History reminds us that necessary change comes through hope and love, not senseless and destructive violence."
Other speakers Thursday included Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark.; Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J.; Ja'Ron Smith, the president's deputy assistant; Ann Dorn, widow of slain police Capt. David Dorn; Debbie Flood, president of Melron Corp.; Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal attorney; Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan's Purse; criminal justice reformer Alice Johnson; Carl and Marsha Mueller, parents of slain Islamic State hostage Kayla Mueller; and Dana White, president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
The event, ran Monday through Thursday, was held mostly remotely amid the coronavirus pandemic. Some small, official business took place in Charlotte, N.C., which had been selected to host the convention this year.
After some last-minute wrangling to attempt to move the convention to Jacksonville, Fla., the GOP settled on keeping Charlotte as its base, but severely limiting the number of in-person events that take place there.