Had Donald Trump conducted the kind of presidency portrayed on a truth-bending but stylistically sound first night of the Republican National Convention, he might not be in such a desperate fight for a second term.

The President was presented as a statesman and an inspiration, an almost benevolent force, a friend to Black Americans, an unparalleled hostage negotiator and a shield against an assault on American values who is riding high after a coherent first term in a package designed to appeal strongly to conservative voters.

It was an impression of Trump that was often at odds with the reality of the most turbulent divisive presidency in generations — one that critics see as a threat to American democracy itself.

Trump’s most high profile defenders had to project onto Democrats the faults that his accusers see embodied in his approach to politics.”We seek a nation that rises together, not falls apart in anarchy and anger.

We know that the only way to overcome America’s challenges is to embrace America’s strength,” former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said, in a speech that sent her already-intense 2024 primary buzz off the charts.

“We must choose the only candidate who has and who will continue delivering on that vision,” she said.

A more familiar blast of Trumpism came from the President’s son, Donald Trump Jr., who mocked Democratic nominee Joe Biden as “The Loch Ness Monster of the swamp.”