(CN) — The first night of the Republican National Convention Monday was themed “Land of Promise,” but speakers predicted America’s future won’t be so promising if Democrats win in November and warned the country would look like a “horror movie” if President Donald Trump is voted out.
An array of speakers virtually joined in from multiple locations during the first night of the convention, urging Americans to opt for the sitting president on Nov. 3.
“From a global pandemic, to the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, 2020 has tested our nation in ways we haven’t seen for decades,” South Carolina Senator Tim Scott told viewers Monday.
“But regardless of the challenges presented to us … every four years … Americans come together to vote,” Scott said. “To share stories of what makes our nation strong, and the lessons we have learned that can strengthen it further for our children and grandchildren.”
The senator, whose remarks closed the night’s events, urged voters not to look back at what the candidates have said throughout the campaign trail, but “to look back at what they’ve done.”
Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Donald Trump Jr. headlined the second half of the night, telling constituents that Trump earned four more years as president.
“Joe Biden and the Democrats are still blaming America first. Donald Trump has always put America first,” Haley said.
“The former vice president has a record of weakness and failure. Joe Biden is good for Iran and ISIS … great for Communist China … and he’s a godsend to everyone who wants America to apologize, abstain, and abandon our values,” she said.
Charlie Kirk, 26, of Turning Point USA told viewers that “Trump is the bodyguard of Western civilization,” as he kicked off the night.
“Trump was elected to protect our families, our loved ones, from the vengeful mob that wishes to destroy our way of life, our neighborhoods, schools, church, and values,” Kirk said. “President Trump was elected to defend and strengthen the American way of life.”
The Turning Point leader echoed rhetoric spouted by Trump and many of the delegates who renominated him earlier in the day.
Describing the lack of Hollywood figures to endorse Trump during the RNC as a positive, Republicans sought to separate their convention from that of the Democrats by featuring “ordinary” people.
Kirk was followed by the recorded testimonies of a teacher, a small coffee shop owner and a nurse, all of whom praised the Trump administration before Florida Representative Matt Gaetz appeared.
“Settle for Biden — that’s the hashtag promoted by AOC and the socialists, and they will settle because they know it’ll be like “Weekend at Bernie’s” — and they’ll be pulling the strings,” Gaetz said.
“But instead of a comedy, it’s a horror movie,” he added. “They’ll disarm you, empty the prisons, lock you in your home, and invite MS-13 to live next door. And the defunded police aren’t on their way.”
Kim Klacik, who is running for Congress in Maryland’s 7th district, turned the focus of her short talk to blue states. She told viewers that a “cycle of decay” exists in Democrat-led cities.
“And yet, the Democrats still assume that Black people will vote for them, no matter how much they let us down and take us for granted,” she said. “We’re sick of it and not going to take it anymore. The days of blindly supporting the Democrats are coming to an end.”
Scott, who is Black, also spoke against the idea that Black people’s support of Democrats was a given.
“Joe Biden said if a Black man didn’t vote for him, he wasn’t truly Black. Joe Biden said Black people are a monolithic community,” Scott said.
The speeches on Monday night were spliced with videos praising Trump, one of which claimed Trump’s response to the coronavirus in the U.S. mitigated the impact of the virus.
Trump told delegates in North Carolina earlier on Monday that the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed over 170,000 Americans, could have been worse had he not stopped flights from China.
“The President quickly took action and shut down travel from China. Joe Biden and his Democrat allies called my father a racist and xenophobe for doing it,” Trump Jr. said Monday night. “They put political correctness ahead of the safety and security of the American people. Fortunately, as the virus began to spread, the President acted quickly and ensured ventilators got to hospitals that needed them most. He delivered PPE to our brave frontline workers.”
Republican delegates from every state and U.S. territory renominated Trump for a second term during a roll call vote in Charlotte, North Carolina, Monday morning.
The largely in-person nomination proceedings starkly contrasted Democrats’ entirely virtual nomination of former Vice President Joe Biden last week.
Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel and several Trump aides have spent the build-up to Monday touting the convention as “aspirational” and full of hope.
McDaniel said this differs from the “doom and gloom” expressed during the Democrats’ convention last week when Biden painted the last four years as a “dark chapter” in American history.
However, Trump kicked off Monday’s events with a slew of ominous claims.
After securing the Republican party’s nomination, Trump surprised the crowd in Charlotte with a nearly hour-long speech that served to cast doubt on election result accuracy — if he loses — and put the “radical Democrats” on blast.
“The only way they can take this election away from us is if it’s a rigged election,” he said of his Democratic foes.
Trump added without evidence that the Democrats “are trying to do it with the whole post office scam, they’ll blame it on the post office. You can see them setting it up. Be very careful and watch it very carefully.”
The partially masked group of attendees danced gleefully to the Village People’s “YMCA” as Trump descended the stage.
The convention is scheduled to run Aug. 24-27 for two hours each night, starting at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time.