Covid-19 has claimed the lives of over 175,000 Americans, but you wouldn’t know it from watching the first night of the Republican National Convention.
Instead of shying away from addressing the Trump administration’s woeful mismanagement of the pandemic, the RNC painted the response as a success story, trotting out speaker after speaker to argue that if it weren’t for the president’s savvy the coronavirus could have really done a number on the United States.
Just take a look at this sizzle reel and try to imagine where we’d be right now if not for our flag-saluting president’s decisive leadership. Could millions be dead? Could the unemployment be higher than the current rate of 10.2 percent? Could Americans be banned from traveling to every nation in the world, instead of all of them but Mexico and Turkey, basically? It’s hard to say. What we do know is that’s some mighty triumphant music playing as walks across an aircraft carrier giving the thumbs-up in slow motion.
— Team Trump (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@TeamTrump) August 25, 2020
Fact-checking the RNC is a Sisyphean task. The speeches weren’t simply peppered with lies and mischaracterizations; they were delivered from a totally alternate reality, one in which the United States is an egalitarian utopia free from racism or oppression — except against conservatives — and Joe Biden is a Marxist revolutionary hell-bent on stripping Americans of every last one of their God-given freedoms, like the freedom of people in the suburbs not to have to live near poors. It’s difficult to truly wrap one’s head around the dishonesty. It’s just so … everywhere.
The coronavirus montage was no exception. It begins by claiming that everyone but President Donald Trump failed to properly assess the threat of the virus, neglecting to mention that Trump repeatedly — and I can’t stress repeatedly enough here — downplayed its severity, ostensibly, if not explicitly, out of a belief that it would disappear “like a miracle.” This is still happening, of course. The president said the virus will simply “go away” as recently as a few weeks ago, and continues to scoff at the idea that schools shouldn’t open, that football shouldn’t be played, or that Americans shouldn’t ignore the pandemic to the same degree he has. A CBS/YouGov poll released Sunday found that 57 percent of Republicans feel the current Covid-19 death toll is “acceptable.” What’s a few thousand more?
We are then told that Trump banned travel from China and other coronavirus epicenters, which isn’t really true, and that Biden called Trump’s “ban” xenophobic, which also isn’t really true. Trump did, however, sign the CARES Act, which disproportionately benefitted corporations and the wealthy, and he did declare a national emergency. Good for him.
Trump also provided billions for vaccine research and launched Operation Warp Speed to find one in record time, but “record time” seems to mean before the election at all costs, as Trump has been applying pressure to the FDA to approve questionable treatments. On Saturday, he accused the agency of hamstringing the effort to develop a vaccine in order to hurt him politically. Now that’s leadership!
“Soon we will emerge safer, stronger, and greater than ever,” the video concludes.
How? The Trump administration still hasn’t provided a plan outside of “like a miracle.”