Media instantly pan GOP convention headlined by Trump and his son

About an hour into the first night of the virtual proceedings, The New York Times ran this banner headline: “GOP Pushes Falsehoods and Fear at Convention.”

CNN and MSNBC, which carried virtually every minute of the Democratic convention, kept breaking in with fact-checking, criticism and punditry.

That’s not to say the GOP show was above aggressive analysis. Several of the speakers made over-the-top, even apocalyptic charges against Joe Biden at the Democrats that stretched well beyond traditional political hyperbole. But in terms of the media applying roughly the same standards to each convention, it wasn’t even close.

Some of the speakers sounded very much like President Trump, aiming to rouse the base but making little to no effort to appeal to independent or wavering voters. And while Democrats certainly hailed Biden as a good and decent man, conservative activist Charlie Kirk set the tone at the outset by calling Trump the “bodyguard of western civilization,” who was “preserving America” against those who would eliminate “everything we love.”


Party chairman Ronna McDaniel accused the Democrats of wanting to ban fossil fuels, eliminate private health insurance and defund the police, despite the fact that Biden holds none of those positions. In fact, he fought against Medicare for All. Nikki Haley seconded that emotion, saying Biden’s “boss” would be Nancy Pelosi and the Squad.

Kimberly Giulfoyle, my former Fox colleague, gave a fiery speech in which she slammed California (run by her ex-husband Gavin Newsom) as the embodiment of the Democratic future: “riots in the streets, blackouts in homes.” Democrats “want to control what you see and think,” she said.

At this convention, far heavier on speeches than the Dems’ barrage of video clips,

Trump, as advertised, made multiple appearances. Using the White House as a backdrop, he met with seven front-line workers (trucker, cop, postal worker, nurses) and again with six former hostages he had freed from overseas. The chit-chat was brief but drove home a point.

Donald Trump Jr. delivered a red-meat speech, filled with one-liners that would have driven the crowd wild if there had been one. He called Biden “the Loch Ness Monster of the swamp” and said the left-wing view is people can’t go to church but “chaos in the streets gets a pass.”


The president’s son scored some good points, shoring up his dad’s coronavirus response by emphasizing the early ban on Chinese travelers and the production of medical equipment. He hit Biden for “talking about shutting down the country again,” when what the former veep told ABC is he’d order a lockdown if the science justified it.

From there it was on to “Beijing Biden” (notwithstanding his father’s past praise of President Xi) wanting to “repeal the Trump tax cut” (for those earning over $400,000). The zingers kept coming: “Joe Biden and the left are now coming for our freedom of speech.” Trump Jr. said the “other party” was also against freedom of thought, freedom of religion and the rule of law.

In short, Don followed his father’s lead in painting the Democratic nominee as the captive of far more radical elements than his record would suggest. Sen. Tim Scott had the night’s best speech, using more of a scalpel in slicing up Biden.

The Republicans gave ammo to their critics by decreeing they would have no platform this year, essentially becoming the Party of Trump. Now platform fights have become increasingly meaningless in recent cycles, and widely ignored after the election, but at least they were a battle over ideas.

The GOP put on its roll call vote for some reason at 11 in the morning. And when the president, in the original hosting state of North Carolina, delivered a rally-type speech in early afternoon, he complained that CNN hadn’t carried it and that Fox talked over some of it. (It’s not unusual for the networks to break away in non-virtual years unless the vote is close.)

Trump also ripped the Democrats for trying to steal the election (through mail ballots) and attacked Barack Obama (for allegedly spying on his campaign). He talked about how many judges he’s appointed and efforts to lower prescription drug prices, but offered few details of a second-term agenda.

All this made me wonder whether the Trump-every-day schedule might not have the desired effect by making Thursday’s acceptance address seem like just another speech. But this president, of course, is always the star of his reality show.

There was no shortage of distractions on the eve of the convention. The country woke up Monday morning to discover that Kellyanne Conway, one of the featured convention speakers, is leaving the White House, the denouement of an unfortunate family melodrama. First her husband George (who is leaving the anti-Trump Lincoln Project) helped turn their marriage into a public spectacle with his fierce attacks on the president.

Then their 15-year-old daughter engaged in harsh personal criticism of her parents (as well as her mom’s boss) on Tik Tok and Twitter, and on Saturday threatened to seek legal emancipation. Kellyanne Conway told the president Sunday night she was resigning as his counselor, saying in a statement that her “beloved” four children will get “less drama, more mama.” It was sad to see the family turmoil engulf one of Trump’s longest-serving loyalists.

Conway was the campaign manager whose late promotion helped Trump win the White House, along with Steve Bannon, who was named in a fraud indictment days earlier in connection with a fundraising scheme for a border wall. The combined impact (though Trump had no connection to the Bannon case) is exactly what you don’t want in the runup to accepting your nomination for a second term.

Whatever the criticisms of the first night, the president is carrying the load–and we’ll be seeing a lot more of him this week.

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