During this year’s Republican National Convention, the fact-checkers at MSNBC and CNN kept very busy thanks to all of the lies and distortions that came from the speakers — including President Donald Trump. Greg Sargent, in his Washington Post column, stresses that although Trump told a variety of lies during the convention, the ones that stand out centered on the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump’s message, according to Sargent, has gone from “I alone can fix it” in 2016 to “I don’t take responsibility at all” — which, the liberal columnist notes, were his exact words when, in March, he was “evading any responsibility for what turned out to be only one of many disastrous failures on coronavirus.” For Trump, Sargent emphasizes, “I don’t take any responsibility at all” has become a doctrine and an “unmistakable declaration of what to expect from a second term.”
Sargent notes that Trump’s speech at the RNC on Thursday night “contained countless big lies and distortions” — from claiming that former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, is pushing a “socialist agenda” that will “destroy” the “American way of life” to promising to protect health coverage for preexisting health conditions even though Trump “has tried to destroy the Affordable Care Act and continues to do so.” But Trump’s “biggest deception of all,” according to Sargent, “concerns what he didn’t say and what he didn’t acknowledge” about the coronavirus pandemic.
“Trump’s acknowledgment of the existence of the virus essentially treated his handling of it as uniformly a success story, one in which it has largely been defeated,” Sargent writes — adding that the Trump has “vastly inflated our testing” and “falsely claimed” that the United States has “the lowest fatality rate of any major country” when, in fact, “we’ve seen nearly 180,000 deaths, and we continue to see approximately 1000 daily deaths.”
Sargent adds that Trump has also downplayed the economic toll that coronavirus has taken in the U.S. The Post columnist notes that during his RNC speech, Trump “hailed ‘over 9 million jobs’ gained in the last three months, which insultingly memory-holes that over 22 million jobs were lost — and we’re still 13 million jobs down. As Paul Krugman details, the current spread unleashed by Trump-urged reopenings has produced another economic pullback.”
The COVID-19 death count, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, has grown even higher since the Post published Sargent’s column on Friday morning. Hopkins, as of Friday afternoon, was reporting a death count of 181,092 for the U.S. and 832,918 worldwide — which bears out Sargent’s warning about how rapidly the number of deaths from the pandemic continues to increase.
“The journey of the Trump presidency has taken us from the false promise of ‘I alone can fix it’ to the reality of ‘I don’t take responsibility at all,’” Sargent writes. “Trump didn’t ‘fix it’ — he smashed just about everything he touched.”