This year’s convention was, unsurprisingly, a parade of lies, fear-mongering, and egregious violations of ethics and law. Bizarrely, a primary theme was pointing towards current civil unrest and saying this is what America will look like under a Biden presidency. Students for Trump today tweeted out Trump touring a destroyed area labeling it “what Biden will do to America” which is peculiar as it happened while Donald Trump was president.
There is too much content to cover everything, but I want to hit on a few particular areas. Let’s look at some of the speakers chosen to represent the Republican Party:
- Mary Ann Mendoza lost her son in a car crash involving an undocumented immigrant. She was scheduled to speak on the first night. Hours before the convention began, Mendoza tweeted out a thread touting the conspiracy theory that rich Jews were secretly in charge of, well, everything, and were using this influence to exterminate gentiles. The tweet promoted an infamous document about Jews controlling everything which was fabricated over a century ago. It also promoted Qanon, the conspiracy theory that Democrats are leading a massive Satanic cannibal child sex trafficking ring which Donald Trump will be exposing any day now with the help of Robert Mueller and JFK Jr, who faked his own death. A sizable portion of Republicans believe in Q. This one was invited to the convention. They pulled her spot after this tweet, but Mendoza has been tweeting out similar content for years. They either did not bother checking up on her in any way or they didn’t care.
- Natalie Harp had a rare bone cancer and spoke about her treatment only being available because of the Right to Try law signed by Trump which opens up experimental treatments for terminally ill patients. She’s been lying about this for years. Firstly, the treatment she received was an off-label use for an approved drug. That’s been legal for decades. But in case that’s questionable, Harp’s treatment took place BEFORE Trump signed the Right to Try law.
- Abby Johnson is a prominent pro-life speaker who spoke at the convention. Shortly before the convention, she tweeted about how voting should be limited to one per household with the vote defaulting to the man if a married couple disagreed about who to vote for, because the Bible gives them that authority. Johnson rose to national fame after leaving Planned Parenthood after she said she witnesses a fetus being torn apart on an ultrasound. This never happened. Johnson lied.
- The McCloskeys are the St. Louis couple who went viral after threatening protesters walking past their house with guns. While Mark McCloskey waved a rifle at the crowd, Patricia McCloskey pointed a handgun at numerous protesters with her finger placed on the trigger. They spoke at the convention about an out of control mob threatening their house. This never happened. The protest walked past their house. They spoke about how if Biden was elected, the suburbs would be filled with low-quality apartments replacing single family homes. This is thinly veiled code for black people. They’re speaking about the horrors of black people moving to the suburbs. (Notably, the McCloskeys do not live in the suburbs. Their home is in St. Louis city limits). The McCloskeys have a long history of petty grievances – trying to keep gay couples from living in their neighborhood and destroying several beehives belonging to a Jewish community center adjacent to their property. These are the people the Republican Party chose to represent itself.
Multiple people who participated in the convention were either lied to about their appearances or misled.
In an egregious ethical breach, the convention included a naturalization ceremony at the White House (more on this later). The participants in the ceremony were not informed their naturalization would be part of the GOP convention. Donald Trump usurped their moment for his own political gain. Lynne Patton, who planned Eric Trump’s wedding before landing a job she wasn’t qualified for at HUD, interviewed several public housing residents about their homes. The piece was one of several with minorities expressing support for Donald Trump. They weren’t told their interviews would be used for the convention or to support Trump. Several of the interviewees are furious, with one openly calling Trump a racist.
There were too many lies to cover here. Daniel Dale is a fastidious fact checker and I’d point you to his articles about the convention: night one, night two, night three, and night four. We saw lies about nearly every topic: the pandemic, the economy, Biden’s views on policing, the Veterans Choice Act (Trump has lied about signing this over 150 times. Obama signed it), immigration, mail-in voting, etc…
The Hatch Act is a 1939 law with a simple goal – preventing executive branch employees from campaigning and preventing government resources form being used to campaign. (I’ll note here that this applies to employees using THEIR OFFICE to campaign. There is nothing wrong with the Secretary of Energy giving a speech supporting a candidate. It’s wrong for them to do so at an agency meeting.) The goal here is a simple one. The federal government belongs to us. The office of the president belongs to us. The White House belongs to us. These things represent the entire United States and should not be used to support one political party. The Trump administration has constantly violated the Hatch Act, but we haven’t seen anything on the level we saw last week in American history. Several convention videos were filmed from The White House. The acting head of DHS conducted a naturalization ceremony from The White House, without informing the participants they were going to be part of the convention. The Secretary of State, after instructing State Department employees to not participate in the conventions, appeared from Israel in the middle of an official trip, on our dime. The South Lawn of the White House was where Trump formally accepted the nomination, with his name on massive signs on either side of the White House. And then to end the night, fireworks appeared over the Washington Monument, spelling “Trump” and “2020.” These properties are not his. They were not his to use. They are OURS. But Donald Trump does not care about any of this. The concept of public ownership doesn’t register with him. He decided the optics of using the National Mall to help his re-election worked so there was no consideration of the ethical violation of all of this.
Finally to illustrate there are no depths as to the pettiness of the Republican Party, the convention asked Leonard Cohen’s estate to use Hallelujah during the closing of the convention. They were refused. They used the song anyway.