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The Latest: Trump says without evidence that virus is fading

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on this week's Republican National Convention (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump says without evidence that the coronavirus is fading, a claim that he has been making for months. 

In the toss-up state of North Carolina, Trump spoke on a tarmac in Fletcher to several hundred cheering supporters — the majority not wearing masks — after he addressed delegates at the Republican National Convention in Charlotte. 

Trump says the nation will "put this horrible incident coming from China behind us and we will have the vaccines very soon, but it's going to be fading, and it is starting to fade."

The U.S. coronavirus death toll and case count have been climbing for months. More than 176,000 Americans have now died of the coronavirus, by far more than any other country.

Trump predicted positive third quarter results for the U.S. economy and said next year would be even better.

After brief remarks, Trump drove to Mills River, where he was to tour Flavor First Growers and Packers and speak at a Farmers to Families food box distribution program. 

Along the motorcade route to Mills River, some people expressed their disapproval of Trump's presidency. One man, wearing a mask, held a cloth banner that said: "Mr. Trump Spewing Lies. Spreading COVID."


1:15 p.m.

President Donald Trump is accusing Democrats of using voters' concerns about COVID-19 to steal the upcoming presidential election.

Trump told delegates at the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Monday that the only way Democrats can win is "if this is a rigged election."

Until he won, Trump also warned that the 2016 election was going to be rigged.

He says Americans know how to keep themselves safe from the coronavirus and can go to the polls, eliminating the need to mail in their ballots. He said, without providing evidence, that that creates fraud.

Voter fraud has proved exceedingly rare. The Brennan Center for Justice in 2017 ranked the risk of ballot fraud at 0.00004% to 0.0009%, based on studies of past elections.

Trump says other votes will be "harvested" by people going door-to-door to collect ballots that voters have not submitted. In addition, he says some states are not verifying signatures on ballots. He did not provide evidence for those claims.


12:55 p.m.

President Donald Trump is championing the stock market, telling delegates at the Republican National Convention that if he's not reelected, the country will go in a "horrible direction."

He said Monday that the upcoming presidential election is the most important in the history of the United States. He says, "Our country can go in a horrible direction or in an even greater direction."

He says the U.S. economy was humming along at high levels before the coronavirus pandemic. Trump condemned governors who are continuing to keep their states shut down to stem the spread of the virus.

It was a jab at his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, who has said that further shutdowns are needed to battle the virus.


12:20 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence says reelecting President Donald Trump means four more years of support for troops and law enforcement and an economic rebound after the coronavirus.

Pence told delegates at the Republican National Convention in North Carolina on Monday: "We're going to make America great again — again." He added that it will take at least four more years to "drain that swamp," which is Washington.

Pence says the U.S. economy and law and order are on the ballot.

Pence says, "This is the moment for each of us to do everything in our power" to make sure Trump has four more years in the White House.

He says the choice between the former vice president and Trump has "never been clearer and the stakes have never been higher."


12:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump has been renominated as the GOP's presidential candidate.

Republicans made it official during a scaled-back roll call vote on Monday at the Charlotte Convention Center in North Carolina.

Trump faces a difficult fight for reelection as he continues to deal with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed about 177,000 people in the United States, ravaged the economy and upended nearly all aspects of life. The president's bid for a second term also continues to be shadowed by protests throughout the nation over police brutality and racial injustice.

Now that delegates have completed the task of formally renominating Trump, much of the remaining convention business will shift to the Washington, D.C., area. Trump is scheduled to deliver his acceptance speech from the White House South Lawn on Thursday evening.

Democrats nominated former Vice President Joe Biden as their presidential candidate at their all-virtual convention last week.


9:35 a.m.

Republicans have begun the process of formally nominating Donald Trump as the party's 2020 presidential nominee.

The party has gathered 336 delegates for the roll call vote at a scaled-down convention kickoff in Charlotte, North Carolina, that begins a weeklong effort to convince the American people that he deserves a second term.

Despite the ongoing pandemic, delegates are holding an in-person roll-call vote at the Charlotte Convention Center. Democrats, who held their convention last week, chose to hold their roll call vote created a video montage from states across the country to avoid a large-scale gathering.

Trump is trying to avoid becoming the first incumbent president since George H.W. Bush to lose his reelection bid.


7:45 a.m.

Former GOP Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona has endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

Flake was one of President Donald Trump's most consistent Republican critics in the Senate. He penned an Op Ed in The Washington Post in support of Trump's impeachment. 

Flake retired from the Senate at the end of his term in 2019, saying he was out of step with the Republican Party in the era of Trump. He later wrote a book, "Conscience of a Conservative," that was a critique of Trump.

Flake is one of more than two dozen former Republican lawmakers to announce their support for "Republicans for Biden." Former Reps. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, Jim Greenwood of Pennsylvania, Jim Leach of Iowa, and Sen. John Warner of Virginia are among former Republican lawmakers who also have endorsed Biden.