Halfway through the first night of this year’s Republican National Convention, Natalie Harp, a member of the Trump Campaign’s advisory board, made a bold statement. “Just imagine what 2020 would have looked like, fighting for your life without Donald Trump fighting for it, too.”
This moment is indicative of a recurring theme in the RNC – downplaying (or fully denying) the Trump administration’s mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first two nights of the convention, republican speakers have openly sought to warp the public’s perception of the national response to the coronavirus. Although several members of the administration have previously engaged in this kind of discourse, seeing such a widespread of lies was particularly tough to watch.
Harp followed her initial claim by stating that “In January, there would have been no China travel ban. Millions would have died. Millions more would have been infected.” This is far from the truth. President Trump repeatedly ignored the recommendations of health officials and had to be pressured by airlines to shut down air travel. More so, airlines had to collectively cancel flights before the president took action regarding a travel ban.
Harp’s claims also failed to take into account that President Trump repeatedly discredited and undermined Dr. Anthony Fauci, former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which created a sense of disparity between him and the administration.
Several moments of the convention also claimed that the World Health Organization’s response to the pandemic was inadequate, and claimed that President Trump’s response was a lot quicker and more effective. In reality, the Trump administration did not declare the COVID-19 pandemic as a public health emergency until a month and a half after the WHO did so.
However, one of the most subtly appalling moments of the convention so far has been Larry Kudlow’s speech. The assistant to the president for economic policy started by praising the economic measures that the administration had taken for the months before the pandemic, claiming that all groups of Americans benefited from them. After, he stated:
“Then, came a once-in-100-year pandemic. It was awful; health and economic impacts were tragic; hardship and heartbreak were everywhere. But presidential leadership came swiftly and effectively with an extraordinary rescue for health and safety to successfully fight the COVID virus.”
Kudlow’s tone when describing the challenges and hardships brought by the pandemic spoke volumes. He quickly brushed over thousands of deaths, a potential economic meltdown, and other issues that speak to the gravity of the Coronavirus. His use of the past tense also treated these problems as if they were part of the past, deliberately ignoring their relevance and the fact that they won’t be solved any time soon.
Having this convention quickly follow the Democratic National Convention has created an eerie parallel. While the DNC did not shy away from portraying America in a state of crisis, the RNC was in complete denial of the realities that are affecting all lives across the country and the globe. The theme of the night was “Land of Opportunity,” but its speakers highlighted just how terribly the current administration has mishandled that opportunity.
An article by Leonardo Lopez Carreno