In Brief

Five of the strangest quotes from Donald Trump’s Republican convention

The US president launched his reelection campaign with a surreal and occasionally jarring display

After Covid-19 forced Donald Trump to abandon his plans for a business-as-usual convention, the Republican party’s campaign launch blended video clips with live speeches in empty halls.

And the message was similarly disjointed.

“Speakers see-sawed between the upbeat mood Trump and his campaign said would dominate and a dystopian forecast of America with former vice president Joe Biden in the White House,” Politico reports. “There were frequent mentions of radical leftists, ‘the mob’ and the civil unrest in America’s cities this summer.”

There was, however, barely a reference to the virus itself - an omission which loomed over some of the week’s stranger moments.

“If we let them, they will turn our country into a socialist utopia.”

Senator Tim Scott made a bold, if perhaps inadvertent prediction during his speech: that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris would not only try to make socialism work, but that they would succeed.

Naturally he followed up by noting that “history has taught us that path only leads to pain and misery”. But even so, suggesting that Americans are one vote away from founding the world’s first utopian state seemed like a significant concession.

“It will be fine.”

Donald Trump offered his own vision of Utopia: a country free from Covid-19. Or perhaps, more accurately, a country free from lockdowns, regardless of what the coronavirus was doing.

“You have a governor who’s in a total shutdown mood,” he told residents of North Carolina, which hosted the convention. “I guarantee you, on 4 November it will all open up. It will be fine.”

This utopia too may come with misery and pain. “In the real world,” says CNN, “about 1,000 Americans die from coronavirus every 24 hours, adding to the endlessly climbing toll, in large part because of Trump’s mismanagement of the crisis”.

“They want to abolish the suburbs.”

Mark and Patricia McCloskey, “who face felony charges for waving their guns at demonstrators who were passing their St. Louis mansion” during the Black Lives Matter protests in June, made the most of their time in the limelight, Bloomberg reports.

Having been given the platform on the first night of the platform, they claimed that Joe Biden and his party of “Marxist activists” wanted to “abolish the suburbs” and abandon them to “crime, lawlessness and low-quality apartments”.

The fact-checking website Politifact begged to differ. After a review of the Democrats’ policies on local planning, it concluded: “Joe Biden and the Democratic Party are not seeking to abolish the suburbs.”

‘THE BEST IS YET TO COME!”

It was not so much what Kimberley Guilfoyle said as how she said it. Her speech, delivered to an empty auditorium, nonetheless built to a deafening crescendo.

“What might have been a rousing speech to an arena full of rowdy, cheering convention delegates was instead an echoing, volume-shattering address that lit up social media,” says Politico.

“This president has been a champion for women.”

Kellyanne Conway, who was White House press secretary until her resignation this week, praised Trump’s gender politics in a video sequence that said he had hired more “strong women” to his campaign and administration “than any other president in US history”.

Trump endorsed the claim. “Women have played a very big role,” he said. “The level of genius is unbelievable, frankly.”

The message seemed “at odds with the man who has shown us how he feels about women's equality not only from the days of the Access Hollywood tape, but from his interactions with women reporters, legislators, and others,” says CNN.

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