Now the presidential campaign begins.
With their respective nominations signed, sealed and delivered, Donald Trump and Joe Biden are hitting the campaign trail, with the president holding a rally in Manchester on Friday.
Biden told supporters he’ll be on the road after Labor Day. And he said, in contrast to Trump, his campaign will be ‘responsible’ about it.
‘I’m going to be going up into Wisconsin, and Minnesota, spending time in Pennsylvania, out in Arizona. But we’re going to do it in a way that is totally consistent with being responsible, unlike what this guy’s doing,’ he told supporters at a fundraiser on Thursday evening.
‘He’s totally irresponsible,’ he continued of Trump. ‘So what we’re working on is how I get out. I’m going to be traveling throughout the country where I can do it consistent with the state rules about how many people can be assembled.’
One of Trump’s biggest attack lines on Biden is that his Democratic rival has been hiding in his basement. Biden has stayed around his Wilmington home but held events with supporters via zoom.
Trump, in contrast, has employed a ‘Rose Garden strategy’ where he uses White House briefings and events to get his message across.
Biden told his supporters he misses the crowds.
‘I’m a tactile politician. I really miss being able to, you know, grab hands, shake hands, you can’t do that now. But I can in fact appear beyond virtually, in person, in many of these places,’ he said.
The Democratic nominee said he would not hold ‘irresponsible rallies’ but meet people in communities and local businesses.
The president, meanwhile, heads to New Hampshire on Friday afternoon to hold his first-convention rally at a Manchester airport. He was scheduled to hold an event in Portsmouth last month that the campaign canceled, citing Tropical Storm Fay as the reason for the postponement, despite the fact the storm was not projected to make landfall in the state.
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican, said the state’s mask mandate for crowds of 100 or more would be in affect and noted he would not be attending the rally although he would be on hand to greet the president at the airport.
The campaign activity comes as the two candidates wrap up their respective political conventions, which presented two diametrically opposed versions of a country gripped by the coronavirus pandemic, racked by a reckoning on racial justice, and hit by mass unemployment on a scale unknown since the 1930s.
Democrats called Trump’s administration a time of ‘American darkness,’ while Republicans said Biden would bring anarchy; Democrats focused on the virus and unemployment, and Republicans on ‘crime and violence.’
Even the images that came out of the two weeks showed the candidates’ differences.
Democrats used mostly pre-taped speeches in a virtual convention where Biden accepted the nomination in a 26 minute speech to a nearly empty room. Afterward, he and his wife Jill, along with running mate Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff, stood before a bank of cars while fireworks went off, so people could maintain socially distance protocols.
Trump, in contrast, packed nearly 2,000 people onto the South Lawn of the White House Thursday to hear him accept his party’s nomination in his 71 minute speech. There was no social distancing, few masks and few attendees were tested for COVID ahead of the event. After he finished speaking, first lady Melania Trump and the extended Trump clan joined the president on stage to wave to the crowd and watch a firework display, which, at one point, spelled out ‘Trump 2020.’
The end of the conventions marks the dash to the finish line, with the first head-to-head debate on September 29, giving Trump and Biden a month to focus their message and deal with the challenge of campaigning in a pandemic.
In his remarks to the Republican National Convention, President Trump painted a stark choice for voters this November: a second term for himself or voting for Joe Biden, a man who would ‘demolish’ the nation.
‘Despite all of our greatness as a nation, everything we have achieved is now endangered,’ the president warned in his acceptance speech, given on the South Lawn of the White House. ‘This is the most important election in the history of our country. At no time before have voters faced a clearer choice between two parties, two visions, two philosophies, or two agendas.’
‘This election will decide whether we save the American Dream, or whether we allow a socialist agenda to demolish our cherished destiny,’ he said.
Biden got more than 40 mentions in the president’s speech and was the focal point of many of his attacks.
He also attempted to tie Biden to the left wing of the party, which has pushed for stronger environmental protections and defunding the police – areas Biden has said he does not agree with.
‘Biden is a Trojan horse for socialism. If Joe Biden doesn’t have the strength to stand up to wild-eyed Marxists like Bernie Sanders and his fellow radicals, then how is he ever going to stand up for you?,’ he said.
‘Make no mistake, if you give power to Joe Biden, the radical left will Defund Police Departments all across America. They will pass federal legislation to reduce law enforcement nationwide. They will make every city look like Democrat-run Portland, Oregon. No one will be safe in Biden’s America,’ he added.
He continued his image as the ‘law and order’ president.
In contrast, the Biden campaign sent out his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, to attack Trump ahead of his Thursday address.
‘The Republican convention is designed for one purpose – to soothe Donald Trump’s ego. To make him feel good,’ she said in a speech at George Washington University.
And she delivered a blistering charge against his presidency, claiming he hasn’t kept the American people safe.
‘Donald Trump has failed at the most basic and important job of a president of the United States: He failed to protect the American people, plain and simple.’
Biden leads Trump in the polls, ahead by 7 points in the RealClearPolitics polling average.