From China to coronavirus and Joe Biden to job creation, Donald Trump spins familiar web of lies at RNC

Reading another chapter from his playbook of lies and distortions during the Republican Party’s nomination acceptance speech, Donald Trump displayed how he could leave even Goebbels in his dust.

Aninda Dey August 29, 2020 14:45:22 IST
From China to coronavirus and Joe Biden to job creation, Donald Trump spins familiar web of lies at RNC

You can’t change the masses. They will always be the same: dumb, gluttonous and forgetful ― Joseph Goebbels, minister of propaganda, Nazi Germany

Are Republicans dullards? That’s the impression one would form considering every time the South Lawn echoed with thunderous applause and cheers as the liar-in-chief of the United States of America lied, lied and lied on the last day of the Republican National Convention (RNC).

Reading another chapter from his playbook of lies and distortions during the Republican Party’s nomination acceptance speech at the White House, Donald Trump displayed how he could leave even Goebbels in his dust.

In one of the longest nomination acceptance speeches by any president, the former realty tycoon made up Trumpian facts, told white lies and slandered his Democratic rival Joe Biden.

Coronavirus pandemic

The event itself is a stark reminder of why and how Trump has failed the superpower disastrously in its war against COVID-19 : more than 1,000 attendees packed the venue with blatant disregard for social distancing norms and the urgency of wearing masks.

According to the Johns Hopkins University, the US has 5,878,338 COVID-19 cases with total deaths at 181,022.

Trump’s claims that China “allowed the pandemic to spread” the world over, that “we launched the largest national mobilisation since World War II” and that Vice-President Mike Pence is “doing a great job as the head of the coronavirus task force” are a bunch of lies.

Blaming China for spreading the “Chinese flu” is nothing but a smokescreen to shield his own ineptitude and lack of judgement when in March he compared the pandemic to the seasonal America flu.

Consider his outrageous lies on a potential vaccine, testing and fatality rate:

1) “We are delivering lifesaving therapies, and will produce a vaccine before the end of the year or maybe even sooner. We will defeat the virus, end the pandemic, and emerge stronger than ever before.”

2) “We developed from scratch the largest and most advanced testing system in the world. America has tested more than every country in Europe put together… We have conducted 40 million more tests than the next closest nation.”

3) “The US has among the lowest case fatality rates of any major country in the world.”

There is no evidence of the effectiveness of such a vaccine which cannot be produced before year-end — contradicting Trump’s claim —  according to scientists and experts.

The president’s braggadocio is the complete opposite of what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Robert R Redfield told the media in June: that the scale of initial testing of younger, asymptomatic individuals was not up to the required standard.

“We probably recognised about 10 percent of the outbreak by the methods that we used to diagnose between the March, April and May,” Redfield told reporters.

Besides, Johns Hopkins University says that though the US has conducted most number of tests “in order for governments to identify new cases and effectively respond to the pandemic through tracing and treatment, testing programmes should be scaled to the size of their epidemic, not the size of the population… several countries effectively controlled the spread of the virus through testing programmes that had a far lower number of tests per capita than the US”.

Trump’s claim that the US has among the lowest case fatality rates in the world is misleading as well: with a rate of 3.1 percent, America is ahead of Norway, Japan, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

As Trump narrated the pandemic fables, the total number of deaths caused by the virus in the last three days alone crossed the toll on 9/11.

Favourite punching bag Biden

The stack of lies Trump piled up against Biden fell over like dominoes when compared to facts.

1) Trump’s outright lie that his rival supports defunding the police is contradicted by Biden’s repeated denials and his promise of pumping $300 million into the police force and ensuring racial diversity in hiring.

2) Regurgitating his 2016 election campaign’s diabolical anti-immigration agenda — which charges up the Right and his core base  — Trump accused Biden of promising to give away Americans’ health care money to illegal immigrants.

“He [Biden] also supports deadly Sanctuary Cities that protect criminal aliens. He promised to end national security travel bans from jihadist nations and he pledged to increase refugee admissions by 700 percent. The Biden plan would eliminate America’s borders in the middle of a global pandemic,” he claimed.

Biden has never advocated illegal entry of immigrants and has instead promised pausing their deportation for 100 days — not a permanent halt — after taking office.

The former vice-president instead believes that immigrants help grow the American economy. “We can be a nation of immigrants as well as a nation that is decent,” he said during one of the debates with Vermont senator Bernie Sanders.

3) Trump’s allegation that Biden, if elected, would “confiscate your guns and appoint justices who will wipe away your Second Amendment and other constitutional freedoms” is another of his trash can theories.

Biden has never said that he will confiscate weapons of Americans and try to change the Second Amendment, which protects the individual’s right to keep and bear arms.

Instead, a Biden presidency will, in his own words “buy back assault weapons and high-capacity magazines already in our communities” and “institute a programme to buy back weapons of war currently on our streets. This will give individuals who now possess assault weapons or high-capacity magazines two options: sell the weapons to the government or register them under the National Firearms Act”.

According to his website, Biden will “reduce stockpiling of weapons. In order to reduce the stockpiling of firearms, Biden supports legislation restricting the number of firearms an individual may purchase per month to one.”

4) Trump also targeted Biden for being weak on Beijing and alleged that his “agenda is made in China”.

“Biden supported China’s entry into the WTO, one of the biggest economic disasters of all time. He cheered the rise of China as a positive development for America and the whole world,” Trump further alleged.

And his supporters laughed when Trump said that he can “tell upon some very good information” [sic] why China supports Joe Biden and “desperately wants him to win. China would own the country if Joe Biden got elected”.

China does want Trump to lose, according to William R Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, because he is unpredictable, not because of any alleged softness towards Beijing from Biden.

Biden is against imposing tariffs on China and escalating the trade war because American manufacturing has gone into recession and agricultural loss has spiked. He recently said, “We are going after China in the wrong way; China is stealing our intellectual property.”

In fact, writing for Foreign Affairs magazine in April, Biden stressed that the US needs to adopt a tough stance towards China or else “it will keep robbing the United States and American companies of their technology and intellectual property. It will also keep using subsidies to give its State-owned enterprises an unfair advantage — and a leg up on dominating the technologies and industries of the future”.

Realising that China presents a special challenge to the US, Biden has advocated joining forces with other major democracies to counter Beijing. “On its own, the United States represents about a quarter of global GDP. When we join together with fellow democracies, our strength more than doubles. China can’t afford to ignore more than half the global economy. That gives us substantial leverage to shape the rules of the road on everything from the environment to labour, trade, technology, and transparency, so they continue to reflect democratic interests and values,” Biden wrote.

Rubbishing a confrontational approach with China, Biden believes that while the US and its partners should counter Beijing’s human rights violation and other abuses, America should “seek to cooperate with Beijing on issues where our interests converge, such as climate change, non-proliferation and global health security”.

Veterans choice bill

The Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014, also known as the Veterans Choice Act, was passed during the presidency of Barack Obama. But Trump has lied 150 times, including at the RNC, that he is the first president to have passed such an Act.

The Act, which expanded the number of options veterans have for receiving care, was only extended in 2018, when Trump signed the VA Mission Act.

Job creation

Trump blamed Biden him for the loss of jobs during his tenure as vice-president and said that laid-off workers “didn’t want Joe Biden’s hollow words of empathy; they wanted their jobs back”. Boisterously claiming that 9 million jobs were added in May, June and July — which is true — to the cheers of the audience, he conveniently forgot to mention the unemployment rate, which is at 10 percent.

The number of unemployed skyrocketed by more than 14 million — from 6.2 million in February to 20.5 million in May.

According to Pew Research Center, the unemployment rate of 13 percent in May was the era’s second highest with the April rate at 14.4 percent. The average monthly job loss in 2020 stands at 1,774,000.

In fact, the increase in the number of unemployed workers due to the pandemic is much higher than during the Great Recession (2007 to 2010), when the figure rose by 8.8 million.

The president’s portrayal of Biden as “the destroyer of American jobs” was a pathetic attempt to take credit for the good condition of the economy he inherited. The rise in number of jobs was substantial from 2010 to 2016 (when Obama was in office). Trump was sworn in on 20 January, 2017.

In the first three years under Trump, jobs continued to be added, though not at the same pace as Under Obama.

Consider this: that period saw 182,000 jobs added every month compared to 224,000 jobs per month in the last three months of the Obama era.

As the president continued his blistering attack on Biden and spun a web of lies and deceit, the ruptured audience clapped and the jarring “woos” resonated, signalling the ugliness of Trump-Biden debates and the willingness of the blind-deaf-dumb Republicans to support a man who has reduced the presidency to self-aggrandisement and nepotism and cleaved America racially with a blinding speed.

The writer is a freelance journalist. The views expressed are personal.

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