Trump says Biden ‘using COVID’ to steal election
US President Donald Trump has been formally nominated for a second term at the Republican National Convention, which kicked off today in North Carolina.
Mr Trump took the stage in Charlotte to rousing applause, in stark contrast to the almost entirely virtual and often prerecorded convention held by Democrats last week.
It was a surprise appearance in which he accused his opponents of using the coronavirus pandemic, which has up-ended the race to the polls in November, to encourage what he describes as fraudulent mail-in and remote voting.
"They're using COVID to steal the election," Mr Trump said.
Taking the stage to cheers of "four more years" he thanked the gathered state delegates gathered and called them "incredible warriors".
He then joked: "If you want to really drive them crazy, you say 12 more years.".
"We have to win," Mr Trump said.
"This is the most important election in the history of our country."
Mr Trump appeared after Vice President Mike Pence, who officially accepted his nomination as running mate.
He said he travelled to Charlotte, which had been the original convention location before COVID forced it to be scaled back, because "I felt an obligation".
"It's been a place that's been very good to me," Mr Trump said.
Mr Trump will be the central figure at this year's convention, which will be mainly based in Washington DC for the remainder of the week and be capped off by a speech on Thursday night (local time) when he formally accepts the nomination.
Over coming days the Trump 2020 campaign will try to use the convention to showcase conservative figures and paint an optimistic picture of what lies ahead for America.
Republicans say they will focus on the path ahead rather than their opponents, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, who they accuse of trying to keep the country shuttered and the economy flailing.
Law and order and race relations will be some of the main focus on Monday night (local time), with a mix of live speeches from a Washington auditorium and online appearances.
Among the speakers will be former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, who is widely considered a potential 2024 candidate, as well as Senator Tim Scott, the only African-American Republican senator, who will give the keynote speech.
Other speakers will include some of Mr Trump's most ardent cable-TV boosters, including congressmen Matt Gaetz of Florida and Jim Jordan of Ohio, as well as Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.
Six Trump family members are set to address the convention this week, with Don Jr and his partner Kimberly Guilfoyle speaking on Monday (local time).
Lesser known speakers include figures who have made headlines and drawn huge online followings, such as St Louis couple Mark and Patricia McCloskey.
The lawyers are facing felony charges for waving guns at Black Lives Matter protesters outside their home.
Mr Trump goes into the convention having lost the support of his loyal 2016 campaign chief, Kellyanne Conway, who resigned over the weekend for family reasons.
Originally published as Trump says Biden 'using COVID' to steal election