President Trump on Friday portrayed the Democratic National Convention as the “darkest” and “gloomiest” in history after Democratic nominee Joe Biden accused Trump of dividing America and cloaking the nation in “darkness.”

“Over the last week, the Democrats held the darkest and angriest and gloomiest convention in American history,” President Trump said in remarks to members of a conservative group in Arlington, Va. He accused Democrats of “attacking America as racist and a horrible country that must be redeemed.”

Trump specifically called out Biden for his undermining remarks pledging to help the country overcome a “season of darkness” under the incumbent president’s leadership. Trump argued that Biden and other Democrats ignored bright spots, like signs of economic recovery amidst the global pandemic and tremendous progress on a vaccine.

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“Joe Biden grimly declared a ‘season of American darkness’ and look at what we’ve accomplished until the plague came in,” Trump said, referencing the strength of the U.S. economy pre-pandemic. “And now we’re doing it again. This the most successful period of time in the history of our country from every standard.”

Trump spoke on the economic recovery  taking the shape of a “super V,” which he said Democrats were “probably not happy about.” Trump also stated that Democrats “want to punish America and its citizens instead of holding them high.”

Trump delivered his remarks to the 2020 Council for National Policy Meeting Friday afternoon. The speech was Trump’s first public appearance since Biden delivered remarks accepting the Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday evening at a virtual convention.

Biden, in his speech, criticized Trump as a president who has stoked “anger,” “fear,” and “division,” and pledged to unite the country if he is elected president in November.

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Vice President Pence argued in an interview on CBS News that the speeches from Biden “presented such a grim vision for America,” and said the Republican National Convention next week would work to tout the Trump administration’s accomplishments.

Trump on Friday commended nurses, doctors and first responders who have combated the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed over 170,000 Americans, and presented a rosy picture of his administration’s response to COVID-19.

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