Trump competes with Democratic convention by praising dictators on Fox News


Democrats addressed voting rights, health care, and racial equality, while Trump complained to Sean Hannity about Michelle Obama.

In a move to draw viewers from the final night of the Democratic National Convention, Donald Trump appeared on Fox News with Sean Hannity Thursday night for a rambling 28-minute interview.

Trump touched on restarting college football during the COVID-19 pandemic, praised "chess master" authoritarians, promised to send police to polls during the election, and complained that Michelle Obama understated the coronavirus death toll.

As Trump spoke, the Democratic National Convention was addressing racial injustice, voting rights, attacks on mail-in voting, voter suppression, union rights, health care, and the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump returned in his discussion with Hannity, one of his closest allies at Fox, to his complaint that former first lady Michelle Obama had taped her convention speech in advance, hadn't known who the Democratic vice presidential nominee was when she did, and "had certain numbers wrong" when she referred to the U.S. coronavirus death toll. Obama mentioned "more than 150,000" coronavirus deaths in her taped comments; the death toll at the time the speech aired was over 170,000.

Trump also said he hoped the virus is "nearing the final turn," the latest in a series of comments he has made downplaying the pandemic as thousands are infected and dying.

Asked about the Republican National Convention, Trump said he would "do mine live." The Democratic Convention was a mix of taped segments and live speeches, with Joe Biden delivering his acceptance speech live.

Democrats "have to open up the schools and let's play football," Trump said, pushing aside concerns about virus transmission as schools reopen during the pandemic. In some instances, schools that have opened have already had to close back down after outbreaks among students and staff, .

Asked by Hannity how he was going to ensure that on Election Day every ballot cast was "a real vote from a real American," Trump said, "We're going to have sheriffs and we're going to have law enforcement, and we're going to have hopefully U.S. attorneys, and we're going to have everybody, and attorney generals" monitoring the voting.

Trump had words of praise for authoritarian leaders such as Kim Jong Un, Vladimir Putin, and Recep Erdoğan, whom he praised as "very sharp" and "at the top of their game." Trump described them as "chess masters."

As Trump held court on Fox, the Democratic Convention dealt with issues affecting millions of people.

Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico spoke about the role tribal nations have played in American history and noted that "voting is sacred."

Voters spoke about attempts by the Trump administration to slow down mail delivery ahead of the election, in which millions plan to vote by mail due to the pandemic. California Secretary of State Alex Padilla and Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson discussed efforts to combat voter suppression.

Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey talked about the historic role that unions have played in ensuring workers' rights. After he spoke, the convention featured a roundtable with union activists and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said that America can handle the viral outbreak, but "what we're missing is leadership."

At nearly the same time Trump was concluding his interview, Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin was discussing the importance of health care coverage for families and businesses.

The Trump administration is currently engaged in efforts to strike down Obamacare, which would leave millions of Americans without health insurance.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.