The most prominent new name on the list, which heavily featured long-retired lawmakers with little to lose through their dissent, was former Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona. Mr. Flake, a 57-year-old conservative, was pushed into retirement after just one term because his persistent criticism of Mr. Trump enraged Republican voters.
“If we are honest, there is less of a conservative case to be made for re-electing the president than there is a blatant appeal for more rank tribalism,” Mr. Flake said in a prepared speech on Monday, in language that lined up neatly with Mr. Trump’s opening remarks in North Carolina.
The convention was originally to be held in Charlotte. Then, after it became clear that Mr. Cooper would not allow such an event, organizers sought to switch the gathering to Jacksonville, Fla., where the mayor is a Republican and the state’s governor is, too. Yet after a summer flare-up of the coronavirus in the state, Mr. Trump grudgingly decided to cancel the rescheduled convention there.
On Monday, Mr. Trump used his speech at the original venue, where only party business was being conducted, to focus on the strength of the stock market and to hurl all manner of attacks at Democrats.
He repeated his unfounded allegations that Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden had spied on his campaign in 2016. “We caught them doing really bad things,” he said. “Let’s see what happens. They’re trying it again.”
Though shutdowns caused by the pandemic have left millions of Americans unemployed, and new rounds of relief have been held up in Washington, Mr. Trump focused on what he depicted as his economic successes.
“We just broke a record on jobs, an all-time record,” he said. “There’s never been three months when we’ve put more people to work. We’re just about ready to break the all-time stock market record.”