As expected, the Republican version of “optimism” turned out to be apocalyptic ravings about the inevitable destruction of America, many of them at a volume that appeared not to recognize the existence of microphones. Highlights, if that’s the right word, included Donald Trump Jr sweating his way through a addled presentation that left “cocaine” trending on Twitter, Kimberly Guilfoyle waving her arms during a high volume frenzy … something, and gun-waving “Karen” Patricia McCloskey warning that Democrats would “abolish suburbs.”
Though Trump had made a point of sneering at the use of recorded speeches at the Democratic convention, all of the above were also pre-taped. That includes Guilfoyle screaming at an empty room and Trump Jr appearing to deliver a speech from Mt. Baked. Proof that Trump’s convention was stitched together in such a hurry, or with such little concern, that no one ever thought to say “great, now let’s do it again, but without making it seem like you’re summoning Cthulhu.”
But if there was any real uniting theme for the convention of what was the GOP it was this: Lying our ass off for Trump.
The lies started with the ore-recorded into and through the pre-recorded speeches that came later. They hit both of the main categories of lies—both omission and commission For example, multiple speakers, including an also shouty Jim Jordan, raved about the setting the record for the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years. None of them mentioned that it had been Barack Obama who pulled the nation out of a deep recession and left Trump with an economy that was already on the brink of that record, or that the economy actually grew more slowly under Trump than under Obama. Or that the nation was already moving toward recession before the pandemic struck. Absolutely no one mentioned that Trump had also set the record for all-time high unemployment dating back to when the statistics began in the Great Depression.
But the biggest overall source for lies might have been the attempt to recast Donald Trump as the guy who saw the pandemic coming. Speaker after speaker referenced Trump “banning travel” to China in January—ignoring the fact that what Trump did was only place restrictions on travel … restrictions that didn’t go into effect until February. Neither did anyone point out that Trump’s action was fundamentally pointless, as by the time he finally moved, over a month after the World Health Organization announced the outbreak in China, the primary source of the virus entering the United States was through Europe.
Most amazingly, yet another canned video attempted to present Trump as the “decisive leader” who made the tough decisions on COVID-19 while Democratic leaders “got it wrong.” Coming straight from Upsidedownsia, the video made it Democrats and news outlets to “downplayed” the surging pandemic, while Trump was the guy who stepped into the breach. Somehow, the video left out the fact that Trump had golfed his way through January, and February, and into March before seeming to realize that a disease threatening the death of millions might be something about which he was supposed to express a modicum of concern. The video surprisingly left out Trump repeatedly describing coronavirus as nothing more than the flu, support for quack cures, attacks on governors who attempted to save their citizens, threats to withhold drugs and equipment from Democratic states, and unending claims that the virus would just “go away … like magic.” The video did make sure to include Trump calling COVID-19 the “China Virus.”
Overall, the night was exactly what might be expected—a direct play to Trump’s base that could have been scripted by rolling back through the last few months of Trump’s Twtter account. There was a parade of Republicans who presented themselves as victims in one way or another, screaming about how Trump short-finger in the dike was the only thing holding back the horde. There was all the dog-whistling about suburbia that Trump feels like will net him women who secretly (or not so secretly) are still concerned about the idea of keeping their neighborhoods snow white. There was a speech claiming that “bitter, deceitful, vengeful activists” are “locking up pastors,” which is quite a trick.
And on COVID-19, there was the concerted effort to prove that Trump was never wrong—even when his error is visible in the form of 175,000 dead and counting.