Only 5% of GOP convention addressed pandemic as US death toll passed 180,000

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Republicans barely mentioned the coronavirus on the third night of their convention, and when they did, they rewrote history.

On Wednesday night the Republican National Convention once again ignored the deadly coronavirus pandemic ravaging the United States, devoting just 7.8 minutes of its 2 1/2 hours of programming to the coronavirus, according to a calculation by the progressive Center for American Progress Action Fund.

They devoted less than 5% of the third night of the GOP convention to the pandemic, even though the death toll in the United States on Wednesday reached a grim milestone, with more than 180,000 people now dead from the virus.

Many of the mentions of the virus were speakers quickly calling workers on the pandemic frontline "heroes" before moving on to other topics.

And ultimately, the majority of the talk of the pandemic was in Mike Pence's speech, in which he lied and distorted Trump's failed virus response to make Trump's actions look better.

Among Pence's lies were:

  • A declaration that Trump "took the unprecedented step of suspending all travel from China." Trump did not suspend all travel from China. In fact, tens of thousands of travelers from the country were let in after the partial ban he did institute, many of them barely screened. And studies showed most of the virus cases in New York — the initial epicenter of the pandemic in the United States — originated in Europe.
  • Pence said the China travel ban "saved an untold number of American lives," the same day the coronavirus death toll passed 180,000. Ultimately, the United States has now had nearly a quarter of the 826,418 coronavirus deaths in the world, despite the fact that it represents just 4% of the global population, according to CNN.
  • Pence added that "Trump marshaled the full resources of the federal government" to respond to the pandemic. That's yet another lie, as Trump wasted 70 days at the start of the pandemic when he could have created a robust testing infrastructure to pinpoint and isolate cases of the virus, helping stop its spread. Instead, Trump denied reality, leaving Americans struggling to find tests. To this day, testing is still hard to come by in areas of the country, with results taking days to come back, rendering those tests useless for the purpose of stemming the spread of the virus.
  • Lastly, Pence said, "Thanks to the courage and compassion of the American people, we are slowing the spread, we are protecting the vulnerable, we are saving lives, and we are opening up American again." But this is again a view divorced from the current reality of the pandemic. Another 1,226 coronavirus deaths were reported on Wednesday, with another 43,229 cases diagnosed, according to data from the Washington Post. That's in stark contrast to other parts of the globe, such as Europe, which has seen deaths from the virus go down drastically.

Ultimately, the approach that Republicans have taken of portraying an alternate reality regarding the COVID-19 pandemic during their convention thus far is in stark contrast to the Democratic National Convention, which memorialized the dead and featured speakers talking about needing to do more to save lives and get the country back to normal.

The pandemic currently threatens Donald Trump's reelection bid, with just 38.9% of Americans approving of his virus response, according to the latest FiveThirtyEight polling average.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.