If a single tweet could sum up the Republican National Convention held last week, then the New Yorker’s Susan Glasser likely nailed it.
“America right now has deadly pandemic, massive unemployment, and recession, schools unable to open, protests over racial injustice, a killer hurricane bearing down on the South… And I am watching Mike Pence talk about how bad things would be in Joe Biden’s America,” Glasser wrote.
Many who watched opined that the prevailing theme of the recently-completed four-day GOP affair seemed like a 1978 Jim Jones rally in San Francisco before he took his loyal disciples to Guyana and fed them the poisonous Kool-Aid.
“That’s not a political party. That’s a cult,” “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert said.
“Welcome to the convention, everybody. Take off your masks and put on your matching Nikes and your MAGA hats, then drink up our bleach-flavored Kool-Aid,” Colbert dead-panned.
It was clear early and late that the GOP gathering took on a decidedly different tone than the Democrats’ held one week earlier.
While Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden released statements condemning yet another police shooting of an unarmed African American, President Donald Trump invited among his guests, the gun-toting couple from St. Louis who pointed guns at unarmed and peaceful protestors.
Meanwhile, Paris Dennard, the Republican National Committee advisor for Black affairs, sent daily email updates to journalists.
While the messages included the text, “real Americans standing for our national anthem,” African-American athletes continued to exercise their right to protest not just by kneeling but by giving up their multi-million-dollar paychecks, striking in support of Black lives.
In a response from the White House on Thursday, Trump condemned the athletes while his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, mocked the players.
But perhaps more important, while Democrats observed social distancing and the wearing of masks during their convention, Trump and his more ardent supporters declared victory over the coronavirus.
Trump also packed in an estimated 1,500 people on the White House lawn Thursday evening to deliver his formal nomination acceptance speech, clearly breaking social gathering guidelines and norms mandated and observed by most localities.
Perhaps the convention’s highlight was first lady Melania Trump who spoke to Americans during the second night of the convention with a speech in which she declared that “total honesty is what we as citizens deserve from our president.”
However, as noted by CNN and other outlets, the convention programming was littered with false or misleading claims, including some from the president’s son Eric Trump and several others whose allegations against Biden and the Democrats failed to include essential contextual references.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow claimed that Trump inherited a “stagnant economy on the front end of recession” from the Obama administration, adding that the Trump White House rebuilt the economy in three years.
“This is misleading,” CNN fact-checkers reported.
“The U.S. economy was growing 1.7 percent in 2016 when Trump was elected. It continued to grow after he took office, especially after the 2017 tax cuts.”
Fact-checkers noted further that the country emerged from the “Great Recession” in the third quarter of 2009 and grew continuously throughout the rest of Barack Obama’s presidency.
In his remarks Tuesday night, Eric Trump contrasted his father’s accomplishments with Biden’s plans saying, “Biden has pledged to defund the police.”
Again, CNN fact-checkers responded.
“Biden has expressly not supported calls to defund the police,” the team reported. “In fact, Biden’s published criminal justice plan called for a $300 million investment in community policing efforts – including hiring more officers.”
The younger Trump also claimed that the president acted quickly to equip first-responders, front-line workers and hospitals with needed supplies to fight the coronavirus.
However, even Republicans have responded on the record, criticizing the president over his slow response to the pandemic. President Trump famously downplayed the virus from January until March, even predicting the virus would disappear.
The president has also been at odds with his own Coronavirus Task Force and medical experts, many even concluding that his position cost the country lives and time in delayed efforts to develop tests.
To date, more than six million Americans have reportedly tested positive for the virus and approximately 184,000 have died.
As the convention wrapped up, the sense from many observers remained that Trump has conceded the Black vote. Even worse, he’s embraced divisiveness and ignored African-Americans’ plight.
“What’s happening on our streets tonight [protests in the aftermath of the Jacob Blake shooting] and why the NBA suspended playoff games is not part of the RNC story,” former RNC chairman Michael Steele tweeted. “It is happening because of the lack of response – the lack of interest or concern.”
Frederick Joseph, author of “The Black Friend on Being a Better White Person,” said the GOP convention offered answers on why he and other Black people are hated.
“As I’ve sat and watched, it’s become clearer to me than ever that we are in a war of messaging. While the left is far from perfect, the right is quite clearly a machine of nothing but white supremacists and cultural, elitist propaganda,” Joseph stated.
“This propaganda, the very idea that one group is inherently better than all others, has been taught to both white and non-white people since childhood. It is the reason people voted for Donald Trump and the reason why 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse murdered two people in cold blood as they protested for racial justice in Wisconsin after the Jacob Blake shooting,” he continued.
“What Kyle did makes me sick and my heart aches for the families of those lost but I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that Kyle was only 17, a mere child.”
“How does one so young who has barely seen or felt anything have so much hatred in his heart? Again, the answer lies in the white supremacist propaganda he’s likely been fed since he was very young – the same propaganda we see on Fox News and during the RNC.”