President Donald Trump’s full speech at the Republican National Convention | 2020 RNC Night 4 (Youtube/PBS)
President Donald Trump said this year’s election is “the most important election in the history of our country” in his address on the final night of the Republican National Convention on Aug. 27, 2020. He opened his remarks by acknowledging the Americans affected by Hurricane Laura, as well as the efforts of state and national officials, saying, “We are one national family.”
In addressing the novel coronavirus pandemic, Trump pledged that the United States would “produce a vaccine before the end of the year, or maybe even sooner,” though top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has said many times publicly that timeline is more likely 12 to 18 months. He also made dubious claims about the United States’ testing prowess, including that, “We developed, from scratch, the largest and most advanced testing system in the world. The U.S. has conducted the most amount of tests of any other single country, but it has struggled with capacity, and recently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed the guidance for testing, meaning that fewer people will be eligible. The U.S. also has had the most fatalities in the world from the virus.
Trump used his speech to attack his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, several times. He made a joke about Biden kissing blue collar workers, an allusion to criticism that Biden has crossed boundaries by being overly affectionate to women over the years, though Trump has been accused of sexual assault by over a dozen women. He suggested that Biden supports cutting police funding, but the Democratic candidate has rejected that idea, saying he wants to root out “unethical cops.” Trump falsely claimed that “Biden has promised to abolish the production of American oil, coal, shale, and natural gas.” Biden’s plan would end new leases for fracking on federal lands, but does not ban those energy sources. Trump warned of Biden’s plan to raise taxes “on almost all American families,” but the increase would come over a decade and nearly all the tax increases would be paid by the highest-income households. Trump also misconstrued Biden’s immigration proposals, sayings, “He promised to end national security travel bans from Jihadist nations, and he pledged to increase refugee admissions by 700 percent.” Biden has pledged to end Trump’s travel ban affecting Muslim-majority nations on his first day in the White House, and has promised to increase refugee admissions which have dropped to record lows during Trump’s presidency. And while Biden has said he would focus on deporting undocumented immigrants convicted of felonies, Trump said his competitor would suspend “all removals of illegal aliens.”
Trump also exaggerated his own record on several points, including building the Southern border wall, securing energy independence for the U.S., his negotiations to make NATO partners pay more, and taking actions to cut patients’ prescription drug costs. He repeated a claim that he has “done more for the African American community than any president since Abraham Lincoln,” though experts say President Lyndon B. Johnson, who signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, gets that honor. Trump touted achieving “the first Middle East peace deal in 25 years,” but the deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates was rejected by Palestinian leaders. He said Republicans would always “protect patients with pre-existing conditions,” though that requirement is already mandated by the Affordable Care Act, which the Trump administration has repeatedly tried to dismantle.
Trump ended the more than hourlong address by invoking the history of American pioneers to “reach any goal and achieve every ambition,” and predicting that the U.S. will “reach stunning new heights” by making America safer, stronger and “greater than ever before.”