President Trump was nominated for a second term on Monday as delegations formally cast their votes and the Republican National Convention got underway in Charlotte, N.C.
Mr. Trump — who took the stage in an previously unannounced visit 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 unannounced speech in Charlotte to rally the party by focusing on the strength of the stock market, attacking governors who imposed restrictions during the coronavirus crisis, launching incendiary broadsides against his opponents and continuing his assault on voting by mail.
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, saying to the crowd gathered in Charlotte, “You have a governor who is in a total shutdown mood,” and claiming Democratic governors across the country would reopen their states on Nov. 4, the day after the election, implying they were implementing safety precautions amid the pandemic to hurt his political chances.
Though shutdowns around the pandemic — which many Republicans oppose — have left millions of Americans unemployed, Mr. Trump focused on his economic successes.
“We just broke a record on jobs, an all-time record,” he said. “There’s never been three months when we’ve put more people to work. We’re just about ready to break the all-time stock market record.”
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 virtually out of concerns that indoor gatherings could spread the coronavirus. The Republicans have made their decision to hold an in-person convention into a political statement in itself.
Mr. Trump, who at one point tried to move the convention to Florida after North Carolina state officials made it clear that they would enforce some virus measures, criticized the Democrats for not holding their gathering in person. “We did this out of respect for your state,” he said.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Vice President Mike Pence took the stage to accept his renomination Monday morning as the Republican National Convention kicked off.
“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.
Mr. Pence pitched the Trump-Pence ticket as leaders of a party that stood for “free market economics, secure borders” and the “right to life.” 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.
Four years ago, President Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination in Cleveland over persistent opposition within his own party. There was a hopeless, last-minute effort to battle his nomination on the convention floor. There was Senator Ted Cruz’s admonition to voters to “vote your conscience,” in lieu of a call for party unity. There was Gov. John Kasich — the chief executive of the host state — declining to attend.
Today, Mr. Trump will be renominated for a second term as president with no meaningful opposition within his party. His advisers have promised the Republican convention will make a variety of appeals to voters about the economy, national security and law enforcement. But one message is clear from the start: This is Mr. Trump’s party now.
There is much that remains uncertain about the Republican National Convention, including how exactly organizers intend to focus its message. Mr. Trump and his team have criticized the Democratic convention last week as too downbeat and promised a more optimistic set of speeches this week, even as Mr. Trump has delivered some of his bleakest, most caustic and divisive stump speeches in recent days.
But what is certain is that Mr. Trump, his family and his loyalists will dominate the week. The president himself is expected to make an appearance all four nights of the convention, and given his thirst for media attention, it may not be in the same understated manner as Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s cameo appearances last week. The rest of the announced speakers are all reliable Trump lieutenants, from Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota, who recently hosted the president at Mount Rushmore, to Nikki Haley, the former United Nations ambassador who has been a reliable pro-Trump surrogate on television and social media.
The kickoff night features both Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle, the conservative media personality who is his girlfriend, as well as Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the St. Louis couple who brandished firearms at Black protesters and were charged with unlawful use of firearms.
If four years ago the convention was a test of whether Republicans could unite for the general election, this year the party is confronting a different question: With Mr. Trump firmly in charge and also clearly trailing his Democratic challenger, can his version of the Republican Party’s message reach voters who do not support him already?
Louis DeJoy, the postmaster general, is appearing before lawmakers again this morning, this time testifying to the Democratic-run House oversight committee. He faces much tougher questioning than he did on Friday, when he testified before a committee of the Republican-run Senate.
[The Times is streaming his appearance live.]
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.
Mr. DeJoy’s testimony comes one day after Senator Chuck Schumer of New York announced that a Postal Service task force had been set up to oversee election-related mail.
Mr. Schumer, the top Senate Democrat, said that the task force would submit a status report to Congress in the coming weeks and had committed to issuing weekly updates.
Democrats have been leery of Mr. DeJoy’s role as a megadonor to Republicans and President Trump, who continued to try to sow seeds of distrust about mail-in voting on Sunday.
Mr. Trump tweeted that ballot drop boxes were not being sanitized to prevent the coronavirus and could be used for fraud. Five hours later, Twitter hid Mr. Trump’s tweet behind a notice warning users that the message violated its rules against dissuading people from voting.
Mr. Trump has also drawn criticism for recent comments that he made on Fox News in which he said that law enforcement officers would be deployed to polling places in the November election, something that the president does not have the authority to do.
Chad F. Wolf, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said on Sunday that was outside the agency’s jurisdiction. “That’s not what we do at the Department of Homeland Security,” Mr. Wolf told CNN.
Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senator Kamala Harris presented a united front in their first joint television interview, glossing over a number of significant differences they held in the primary campaign to emphasize their shared commitment to defeating President Trump.
The two members of the Democratic ticket participated in a socially distanced interview on ABC that aired on Sunday. In the interview, both were pressed on Ms. Harris’s previous criticism of Mr. Biden’s record on busing. That issue was the subject of one of the most dramatic moments on the debate stage during the primary — a searing attack that also gave some of Mr. Biden’s allies pause about Ms. Harris during the vice-presidential search process.
A discussion of that issue now, Ms. Harris suggested, is “a distraction from what we need to accomplish right now and what we need to do.”
Mr. Biden, for his part, stressed that both had moved on.
“I sense exactly where she was coming from,” Mr. Biden said of Ms. Harris’s criticism at the time, which she put in the context of her own experience as a Black American who was part of a school integration program. “I think a lot of people, and maybe even the senator at the time, didn’t know the depth of my record.”
He added, “We’re on the same exact page about what the possibilities are right now.”
Throughout the interview, she frequently cited Mr. Biden’s policy plans and cast him as progressive on matters of L.G.B.T.Q., racial and gender equality.
Ms. Harris was also pressed on her views on health care. In the Senate, she has co-sponsored Senator Bernie Sanders’s “Medicare for all” bill, under which private health insurance would be abolished. Mr. Biden wants to build on the Affordable Care Act.
Ms. Harris answered no when asked if she saw a day when private coverage would be eliminated. Asked about her support for Medicare for all, she responded: “I signed on to that. I signed on to a number of bills that were about great ideas to fix the problem.”
“I want to fix the problem,” she added. “And Joe has a plan to fix the problem, and I’m fully supportive of it.”
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. He is expected to discuss his endorsement of Mr. Biden later on Monday during a virtual event organized by the Biden campaign.
In addition to Mr. Flake, the list of Republican endorsements included those of former Senator John Warner of Virginia and former Senator Gordon Humphrey of New Hampshire.
The rollout of Republican endorsements came on the opening day of the party’s convention and one week after several former Republican office holders endorsed Mr. Biden during the Democratic National Convention.
That group include the former Ohio governor John R. Kasich, who unsuccessfully sought the Republican presidential nomination against Mr. Trump in 2016.
Former Representative Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, who declared his support for Mr. Biden last Wednesday during an interview on CNN, also appeared on the list released on Monday.
“This really isn’t about right or left,” Mr. Dent said in the interview. “It’s not about ideology. For me, it’s about right or wrong, stability versus instability, security versus insecurity, normal versus abnormal.”
Christopher Shays, a former representative from Connecticut, also endorsed Mr. Biden on Monday. Like Mr. Dent, he did not support Mr. Trump in the 2016 election, which prompted some Republicans in Connecticut to explore stripping the state party’s highest honor from Mr. Shays.
When President Trump’s strategists mapped out their plans for the critical week leading to the Republican National Convention that would nominate him for a second term, the schedule somehow did not include a sensational arrest on a Chinese billionaire’s yacht.
The last thing the president wanted to see as he kick-starts his campaign was the architect of his last campaign hauled away in handcuffs on charges of bilking his own supporters in a build-the-wall fund-raising scam. Yet there was Stephen K. Bannon, the mastermind of the 2016 election, with his hair now long and scraggly and his face weathered, marched into court and called a crook.
That was only part of the president’s tough week or so. In recent days, the Senate released a damning bipartisan report on Russia’s efforts to help Mr. Trump win in 2016. A government agency concluded that a member of the president’s cabinet is serving in violation of the law. A court rejected Mr. Trump’s effort to keep his tax returns secret. Unemployment claims ticked back up. And former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. smoothly pulled off his own convention without the gaffes Mr. Trump had predicted.
If that were not enough, the president found his family dysfunction playing out in public at the same time he was presiding over a funeral for his younger brother at the White House. Tapes secretly made by his niece over the past couple of years and provided to The Washington Post captured the president’s own sister saying that he “has no principles, none,” railing about “his goddamned tweet and lying” and denouncing his “phoniness” and “cruelty.”
It was a week that in some ways encapsulated the volatile Trump presidency and the baggage he brings into the contest this fall with Mr. Biden: a team at constant war with the criminal justice system, a president defiant of the norms respected by others in the Oval Office, a once-healthy economy sputtering amid a pandemic, an opposition roused and unified by mutual antipathy for the incumbent and discord even among those closest to him.
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.
Mark and Patricia McCloskey, a couple who were filmed pointing guns at peaceful Black protesters in St. Louis. Mr. Trump shared the video on Twitter, and the McCloskeys were charged with felonies.
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.
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.
President Trump, who has struggled to answer basic questions about what he would do with a second term, on Sunday night released a list of vague statements about his agenda for four more years.
The list was featured under the headline “President Trump: Fighting for You!” and included broad, detail-free pledges. Some were standard fare, like promises of millions of new jobs, and there were also some of Mr. Trump’s broad pledges, like “hold China fully accountable for allowing the virus to spread around the world.”
“Return to normal in 2021” was another pledge, a reference to the social distancing measures that have caused widespread disruptions in states as officials have tried to stop the coronavirus pandemic.
Then there were the more esoteric pledges, like, “Drain the Globalist Swamp by Taking on International Organizations That Hurt American Citizens.”
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — When Democrats in New Mexico swept elections just two years ago, flipping a Republican-held congressional district that stretches across more than half the state ranked among their biggest wins.
But in a sign of the tenuousness of the Democrats’ hold on some of the House seats they picked up in 2018, especially in districts President Trump carried four years ago, that prize is suddenly in play again.
The incumbent, Xochitl Torres Small, is now among the most vulnerable Democrats in Congress in a race that is drawing attention from leaders of both parties, and potentially huge amounts of spending.
Yvette Herrell, the Republican nominee, is stoking anger over a slump in the oil industry and measures taken by Democrats in New Mexico, including a mask mandate enacted by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
New Mexico has had far fewer Covid-19-related deaths per capita than neighboring Arizona, one of the first states to reopen in May. But open defiance by sheriffs, business owners and many others of Ms. Lujan Grisham’s policies can make parts of the district in southern New Mexico feel almost like a different state from Albuquerque and points northward, where many people are wearing masks.
Ms. Herrell said she was counting on a surge in Republican turnout to win the race.
“I’m more in touch with what our voter values are,” Ms. Herrell said. “This is a very family-oriented district, very blue-collar, pro-Second Amendment, pro-life, pro-free market.”