A quick run down of Trump’s lies during his RNC speech

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Trump at a rally in Phoenix, Arizona on February 19, 2020.

Carly Philpott, News Editor

Watching President Trump’s Republican National Convention speech, it was easy to lose track of what was fake and what was the truth. Much of what he said was exaggerated, deliberately misleading, or completely fabricated. Here’s a summary of some of his most dangerous – and most frequently told – lies from his speech.

“In a new term as president, we will again build the greatest economy in history.”

While it is true that the economy was strong under Trump before the coronavirus, experts believe it’s most likely not something Trump “built.” He inherited a growing economy from Obama. The economy had been steadily expanding for years, following the end of the 2009 recession.

That expansion continued under the Trump administration, but certainly wasn’t because of Trump. According to Representative Don Beyer’s JEC report, during Obama’s presidency, unemployment rates dropped from about 10 percent to almost 4.7 percent, and then continued to sink during Trump’s presidency at an essentially constant rate to about 3.5 percent.

So while we have achieved new heights during the Trump presidency, these are not a result of his own regulations. In fact, in many ways, Trump has hurt the economy rather than helped it  – most notably, his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in unemployment rates returning to double digits. It’s at about 10.2 percent now – a decrease from almost 15 percent in April, and nowhere near the rates Obama achieved, according to the US Department of Labor.

And while there is no definite measurement of the economy, the 2010s clearly did not mark the greatest economy in American history. The American economy was stronger in the 1950s and 60s, especially under Eisenhower and Johnson.

“We are delivering life saving therapies [for COVID-19].”

No treatment for the novel coronavirus has been scientifically proven to have life-saving effects. This includes the Convalescent Plasma treatment, which Trump paraded later in his speech, and the drug hydroxychloroquine, which he has touted in the past (including briefly on the very first night of the RNC). These drugs have been shown in multiple tests to not have a positive effect, and some studies have even been halted due to possible dangers associated with the drugs.

There are some that may help by shortening the length of symptoms, but none have been proven to save lives.

“This election will decide whether we save the American Dream or whether we allow a socialist agenda to demolish our cherished destiny.”

The Democratic ideas that Trump and other Republicans most commonly refer to as socialist are Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. Biden doesn’t fully support either of them. Socialism refers to a publicly-owned economy, in which all enterprises that provide goods or services are owned by the government. Biden is not proposing anything like that. And while the president does represent their party in office, the majority of Democrats do not identify as socialist, and the majority of Democratic voters do not support the idea of a singly socialist society, says Hannah Hartig of Pew Research Center.

“I have done more for the African-American community than any president since Abraham Lincoln, our first Republican president.”

Let’s be clear about something; Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which would eventually free all slaves in the southern United States and lead to the permanent abolition of slavery. Even mentioning Trump in the same sentence as Lincoln is ludicrous.

Beyond that, any historian will tell you that Trump’s claim is completely fictitious. Trump had had nowhere near the historic impact of President Lyndon B. Johnson, for example, who signed the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts into law in the 1960s. To do this, he had to transcend partisan barriers, something that Trump has largely failed to do.

[Biden] opposed the mission to take out Osama bin Laden.”

Biden did not oppose the killing of bin Laden in 2011, although he did favor waiting for more information on the terrorist’s location before striking. He eventually advised President Obama to simply go with his instincts, and the mission was a success, says CNN.

“And when the China virus hit, we launched the largest national mobilization since World War II, invoking the Defense Production Act.”

Trump’s labeling of the novel coronavirus as the “China virus” is deeply misleading and will only lead to hate and bigotry. It has a name – the virus itself is called SARS-CoV-2, and the disease it causes is called COVID-19. These are the names that should be used by the president.

Beyond that, the response to the coronavirus has been far more underwhelming than President Trump’s statement suggests. It is not, in fact, the largest mobilization since WWII; the response to the Korean War in the 1950s (when the Defense Production Act was created) was much greater and resulted in a much larger shift of factory production to assist the nation. Trump used the DPA after a month of many Americans practically begging him to – it’s still unclear why he did not use this resource earlier. Because of this delay, many Americans were left without the necessary equipment.

“We shipped hundreds of millions of masks, gloves and gowns to our front-line healthcare workers.”

Trump did eventually invoke the Defense Production Act, shifting some factory production to make personal protective equipment, or PPE, but experts have said that this action was taken long after it should have been.

Additionally, Trump told states to take responsibility over their own PPE, refusing to help even after declaring an national emergency in March. For a while, states and many public institutions such as school districts, and hospitals, were forced to actively bid against each other for desperately needed supplies. States such as Washington, New York, and Michigan fell short.

“Joe Biden’s agenda is ‘Made in China.’  My agenda is ‘Made in the USA.’”

The vast majority of Biden’s campaign merchandise so far has been produced in the US. Meanwhile, much of Trump’s merchandise, including the MAGA hat, are made in China.

“If the left gains power they will demolish the suburbs, confiscate your guns and appoint justices who will wipe away your Second Amendment and other constitutional freedoms.”

Democrats do not want to eliminate suburbs. The regulations Trump’s talking about – regulations Obama originally put in place – encourage local governments to develop more inclusive housing and zoning policies, empowering lower income families – many of whom are families of color – to have equal opportunity to secure housing in the suburbs. That’s not demolishing the suburbs – unless you think the suburbs should be all white.

And very few people want to get rid of all guns. Certainly not Biden. Rather, Democrats often support (and introduce) laws that would eliminate the sale of military-grade weapons and make it more difficult for people to acquire guns if they’re at risk of hurting themselves or others. Most people would have no problem buying standard guns, and no one would be forced to give any guns up.

Lastly, no one has ever seriously proposed getting rid of the Second Amendment. Biden would most likely appoint justices that would favor more regulations on Second Amendment rights, which wouldn’t be the end of the amendment, but rather allow for more laws surrounding guns which would make gun ownership safer for everyone.

Furthermore, the Supreme Court can’t get rid of amendments. It would take two thirds of both houses of Congress and three quarters of all the states to eliminate the Second Amendment. The only time an amendment has ever been overturned was for the 18th Amendment (the one that invoked Prohibition), because it was wildly unpopular. Every president will nominate federal judges and Supreme Court Justices who favor their party and party issues, but that doesn’t mean outright ignoring the constitution.

“We will greatly expand energy development, continuing to remain the number one in the world and keep America energy-independent.”

America has not been energy-independent since the early 1950s. Even with the expansion of oil and gas production in this country, lasting from the 1990s (long before Trump’s presidency), we still import very large amounts of oil from the Middle East and other parts of the world.

“And for those of you who drive a car, look how low your gasoline bill is.”

Gasoline prices dropped in the spring – and have stayed relatively low since – as a result of conflict between Saudi Arabia and Russia, in addition to the threats of the coronavirus.

Presidents have little control over gas prices; drops in the price of gas are usually due to international disputes or an unusually slow economy.

“We will fully restore patriotic education to our schools and…always protect free speech on college campuses.”

As an NPR fact checker pointed out, patriotic education puts “forth a heroic narrative of American history,” not the full version. It tells the easy parts of our history, the parts that make the country look good, and glosses over the parts where entire races were oppressed, dispossessed, or enslaved, and where women fought for centuries to simply have the rights already awarded to them via our Constitution. You can’t have some parts of history without the others, and refusing to tell the difficult parts of history will only lead to generations of ignorance, continued inequality, and unwillingness to see the truth.

Teaching patriotic exceptionalism is one of the Trump administration’s main goals in the education sector, although the federal government is not supposed to be in charge of school curriculum.

(All quotes were verified using transcripts from CNN and NPR)