APTOPIX Election 2020 RNC

The White House stands ready for President Donald Trump to speak from the South Lawn of the White House on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention, Thursday evening, Aug. 27, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican National Convention begged this question: Why are President Donald Trump's most fervent supporters describing the state of his union as a hellscape?

It was perhaps the central paradox for voters wondering what to believe in the rhetoric, because it defied logic to believe it all. Are Americans living in a dystopia or in an America made great again by Trump?

Four years ago, candidate Trump promised that if he won, "The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end. Beginning on January 20th, 2017, safety will be restored."

Now? "I've never seen our streets go this bad so quickly," Pat Lynch, representing tens of thousands of New York police officers, told the GOP proceedings. "We are staring down the barrel of a public safety disaster." He said this in remarks singing Trump's praises.

Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer and a former New York mayor, spoke of years of "carnage" and violence rising now, and implored, "Mr. President, make our nation safe again."

All of the convention's apocalyptic rhetoric was in service of bashing Trump challenger Joe Biden, Democratic mayors and national Democrats both in and out of office as being soft on violence and anarchy. Yet the landscape of lawlessness they described is Trump's America now.

Hyperbole suffused the proceedings, both when Trump and his supporters hailed his record and when they denounced the other side. Outright falsehoods were heard every night on the social justice protests, the coronavirus, the economy and Biden's agenda.

A selection from the week:

Associated Press writers Amanda Seitz in Chicago; David Klepper in Providence, Rhode Island; Bill Barrow in Atlanta; Matthew Lee, Paul Wiseman and Matthew Daly in Washington; and Thomas Beaumont in Des Moines, Iowa, contributed to this report.

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