Democrats would love for the 2020 election to be a referendum on the person of Donald Trump. So, apparently, would Mr. Trump. Typically, a political convention is a dayslong crescendo, rising steadily in intensity until the nominee takes the stage on the final night. Not this year.
On Monday evening, when the Republican National Convention began broadcasting its TV-palooza, the speeches by Tim Scott and Nikki Haley were delivered in the expected tone. But President Trump isn’t a man content to wait for cues. Hours before prime time, Mr. Trump surprised GOP delegates in Charlotte, N.C., where he delivered almost an hour of freewheeling observations in his usual style.
He called Bernie Sanders “the greatest loser I’ve ever seen.” He promised to put a man on Mars. He predicted that his price controls on drugs will cut the cost of a patient’s prescriptions by perhaps 70%. He warned that Democrats are “using Covid to steal an election.”
Mr. Trump enthused that, “Air Force One has more televisions than any plane in history.” Responding to chants of “four more years,” he joked that, “If you want to really drive them crazy, you say ‘12 more years.’ ” As for the Democratic agenda, he said: “They want no guns. They want no oil and gas. And they want no God.”
When the prime-time program started, Mr. Trump was there, too. In two segments, he moderated group conversations, including one with “front-line” workers, where he name-checked the “China virus” and made a joke about hydroxychloroquine. Several montages showed the president shaking hands, flashing thumbs-up, signing documents, laying wreaths, and so forth. Mr. Trump reportedly will be playing some kind of role in every nightly TV broadcast this week.