Donald Trump has accused Joe Biden of painting a “grim” vision of America after the Democratic presidential candidate used his closing convention speech to frame the election as an epic battle between “light” and “dark”.
In comments pushing back on Mr Biden’s address and this week's speeches, Mr Trump accused his political rivals of putting on the "darkest and angriest and gloomiest convention in American history".
The rebuttals came after Mr Biden won plaudits from commentators on both left-leaning CNN and right-leaning Fox News for his delivery of a speech which sought to lay out the big picture of what is at stake at the November 3 election.
Closing a four-day convention that has seen fierce attacks on Donald Trump, Mr Biden did not name the president once as he used his speech - dubbed the biggest of his political career - to cast the decision before America as one of morality.
"The current president has cloaked America in darkness for much too long. Too much anger. Too much fear. Too much division,” he said in a passage near the start of his address, delivered in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.
“Here and now, I give you my word: If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst. I will be an ally of the light not of the darkness.”
He added a little later: “For make no mistake. United we can, and will, overcome this season of darkness in America. We will choose hope over fear, facts over fiction, fairness over privilege.”
Mr Biden used the words “dark” and “light” no fewer than 19 times. It was a new framing of the election, one that grew out from his “saving the soul of America” campaign theme that was present at the launch of his White House bid early last year.
There were some sharp words about his opponent. Mr Biden warned that Mr Trump’s re-election would result in coronavirus deaths and cases remaining “too high” and more small businesses going under.
A substantial part of the 25-minute speech was spent on Covid-19 as well as Mr Trump’s character, building on criticism voiced throughout the convention that the US president is too flawed to be a good leader.
Mr Biden called Mr Trump “a president who takes no responsibility, refuses to lead, blames others, cozies up to dictators, and fans the flames of hate and division”
“He will wake up every day believing the job is all about him. Never about you. Is that the America you want for you, your family, your children?”
Videos before the speech focussed on the struggles Mr Biden has faced in life, including the stutter he overcame as a child - in a moving moment, a 13-year-old boy with a stutter spoke about the support Mr Biden had given him - and personal tragedies.
Mr Biden lost his wife and one-year-old daughter in a car crash in 1972 and later his eldest son Beau to cancer. In a direct message to Americans who have seen loved ones pass away from coronavirus, Mr Biden said he understands the “deep black hole that opens up in your chest”.
Mr Biden ended the address by quoting the Irish poet Seamus Heaney on how there are moments when “justice can rise up” and “hope and history rhyme".
“This is our moment to make hope and history rhyme,” Mr Biden said, adding later: “May history be able to say that the end of this chapter of American darkness began here, tonight.”
Mr Biden’s acceptance of the Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday comes 32 years after he first sought the White House. Following the speech he joined socially distanced supporters in cars outside the arena who honked their horns as fireworks went off.
Mr Trump said on Friday: "Joe Biden grimly declared a season of American darkness and yet look at what we accomplished until the plague came in.” The Republicans will hold their convention next week