Republican National Convention 2020: Day 4

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12:58 a.m. ET, August 28, 2020

Trump closes out the RNC with fireworks display

President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and other family members watch fireworks following the President's acceptance speech for the Republican Party nomination for reelection at the White House on Thursday in Washington.
President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and other family members watch fireworks following the President's acceptance speech for the Republican Party nomination for reelection at the White House on Thursday in Washington. Doug Mills/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump closed out the fourth and final day of the Republican National Convention with a promise to make America "safer" and "stronger."

"We will make America prouder and we will make America greater than ever before. I am very, very proud to be the nominee of the Republican party. I love you all, God bless you and God bless America," Trump said to a standing ovation at the White House South Lawn.

Following Trump's closing remarks, the President was joined on stage by his family as fireworks went off over the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.

Watch the moment:

12:13 a.m. ET, August 28, 2020

Trump: "No matter your background in America, anyone can rise"

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

President Donald Trump speaks from the South Lawn of the White House on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on Thursday in Washington.
President Donald Trump speaks from the South Lawn of the White House on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on Thursday in Washington. Evan Vucci/AP

At the end of his speech on the final night of the Republican National Convention, President Trump invoked the history of American pilgrims and pioneers to strike a positive note, addressing the children growing up in the United States of America.

“I want every child in America to know that you are part of the most exciting and incredible adventure in human history. No matter where your family comes from, no matter your background in America, anyone can rise. With hard work, devotion and drive, you can reach any goal and achieve every ambition.”

“We want our sons and daughters to know the truth. America is the greatest and most exceptional nation in the history of the world. Our country wasn't built by cancel culture, speech codes, and soul-crushing conformity. We are not a nation of timid spirits. We are a nation of fierce, proud, and independent American patriots. We're a nation of pilgrims, pioneers, adventurers, explorers and trail blazers who refuse to be tied down, held back, or in any way reigned in. Americans have steel in their spines, grit in their souls and fire in their hearts. There's no one like us on Earth," he added.

Hailing America’s accomplishments over the course of its history, Trump looked to the future and promised that the “next four years, we will prove worthy of this magnificent legacy.”

“We will reach stunning new heights,” he said. “Together, we are unstoppable. Together, we are unbeatable. Because together, we are the proud citizens of the United States of America.”

His message comes following a string of White House actions to crack down on immigration, disparities in how the pandemic is affecting minority communities as well as unrest between law enforcement and Black communities.

11:47 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Trump hammers "law and order" messaging and says he stands with police officers

From CNN's Jason Hoffman 

President Trump spoke at length about his law and order message during his Republican National Convention acceptance speech, claiming Joe Biden’s platform is an “attack on public safety.”

“The most dangerous aspect of the Biden platform is the attack on public safety,” Trump said Thursday night before claiming that Biden will “defund police departments all across America.”

“Make no mistake, if you give power to Joe Biden, the radical left will defund police departments all across America,” Trump said. “They will make every city look like Democrat-run Portland, Oregon. No one will be safe in Biden's America.”

Biden has said that he does not support calls to defund police.

The President also said he stands with the men and women of law enforcement, saying “the overwhelming majority of police officers in this country are noble, courageous and honorable.” 

10:03 a.m. ET, August 28, 2020

Fact check: Trump's misleading claims on Covid-19

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Trump made a number of misleading and exaggerated claims in touting his administration’s record on Covid-19 testing and treatments. 

“We developed, from scratch, the largest and most advanced testing system in the world,” Trump said.

Trump also said, “America has tested more than every country in Europe put together, and more than every nation in the Western Hemisphere combined. We have conducted 40 million more tests than the next closest nation,” he said.

In addition, Trump, according to prepared remarks, said the US has “developed a wide array of effective treatments, including a powerful anti-body treatment known as convalescent plasma that will save thousands of lives. Thanks to advances we have pioneered, the fatality rate has been reduced by 80 percent since April.”

Finally, Trump said the US “has among the lowest case fatality rates of any major country in the world.

 Facts First: These claims are exaggerated and misleading. Testing in the US has been less than successful, and has never reached levels that satisfy public health experts. After getting off the ground slowly and late. Trump’s own CDC director, Dr. Robert Redfield, admits the US has missed 90% of coronavirus cases with its testing efforts. On June 25, he told reporters that the CDC had estimated there were many more cases than testing had detected. “A good rough estimate now is 10 to 1,” Redfield told a media briefing. Redfield told Congress that coronavirus has “brought this nation to its knees.”  

As for Trump’s claims on developing new treatments, the US has not yet developed a single new treatment for coronavirus. The only treatments that have been shown to work against coronavirus are old treatments - the steroid dexamethasone, the existing drug remdesivir, which has minimal benefits, blood thinners and convalescent plasma, which is a 100-year-old last-ditch treatment, and the FDA commissioner acknowledged he overstated its potential benefits on Sunday. Antibody treatments are in the works, but are far from approval and it’s not clear how well they might work. 

As for case fatality rates, the US does appear to have a case fatality rate of 3.1%, but that is still higher than Russia’s, which is 1.7%; Saudi Arabia’s, which is 1.2%; Israel’s, which is 0.8%; Norway’s, which is 2.5%; Japan’s, which is 1.9%. Johns Hopkins has a list of those rates among the most affected countries here. And deaths are not always reported. The CDC has found many more excess deaths during the pandemic than have been attributed to coronavirus. . It’s possible other countries are simply better at tallying their deaths. 

However, according to Johns Hopkins University, the US has among the highest mortality rates when measured per 100,000 people. The US comes in at 54.93 deaths per 100,000. Only 10 countries have higher rates, and they include Brazil, at 56.17 deaths per 100,000; Sweden at 57.12 and the UK, at 62.49. More than 100 countries have lower death rates than the US. They include Mexico, Panama, France, Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Norway, Greece, Sudan and Haiti.  

12:47 a.m. ET, August 28, 2020

Fact check: Trump's claim on "God" missing from pledge at DNC

From CNN's Holmes Lybrand

President Donald Trump claimed that during the Democratic convention the word “God” was left out of the Pledge of Allegiance twice.

“During the Democrat Convention the words 'under God' were removed from the Pledge of Allegiance, not once but twice,” Trump said.

Facts First: The word ‘"God" was left out of the Pledge of Allegiance in at least two caucus meetings held earlier in the day that were part of the full convention but the word was not removed during the main evening events of the DNC.

 

12:16 a.m. ET, August 28, 2020

Fact check: Trump's claims on prescription drug prices

From CNN's Tami Luhby

President Donald Trump speaks from the South Lawn of the White House on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention  on Thursday in Washington.
President Donald Trump speaks from the South Lawn of the White House on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on Thursday in Washington. Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump doubled down on his longtime pledge to lower prescription drug prices, mentioning it twice in his speech. 

“Last month, I took on Big Pharma – you think that’s easy? It’s not -- and signed orders that will massively lower the cost of your prescription drugs,” said Trump, who also promised to “further reduce the cost of prescription drugs.” 

Facts First: The President signed four executive orders in July aimed at reducing drug prices, but it’s far from clear whether they will ever take effect or greatly lower prices if they do. Also, drug prices have continued to rise during the Trump administration, though the growth rate has slowed by some measures. 

The President issued four executive orders late last month, which resurfaced a kitchen sink of controversial proposals that have advanced little during his term. 

One, known as the favored nations measure  – which has not yet been released by the White House  – generally calls for setting Medicare reimbursement levels for certain drugs on their cost in other countries. Trump said at the signing that he would hold onto the order until August 24 to give drug makers time to present their ideas for reducing costs. A planned meeting at the White House in late July never took place, and it remains to be seen what Trump will do with the measure.  

A second order calls for effectively banning drug makers from providing billions of dollars in rebates to pharmacy benefit managers and insurers, a radical change in the way many drugs are priced and paid for in Medicare and Medicaid. Instead, drug companies would be encouraged to pass the discounts directly to patients at the pharmacy counter. The administration had to back down from this effort last summer, in part because it would have likely raised Medicare premiums. 

Another executive order pushes allowing drug importation from Canada, where prices are much lower. It would also allow manufacturers to import lower-cost versions of the drugs they sell in other countries. However, concerns include whether the medications would be safe and whether Canada has enough supply to make a dent in US prices.  

The final order directs Federally Qualified Health Centers, which provide primary care services to underserved communities, to pass along discounts on insulin and EpiPens to their patients.  

It’s likely the drug industry would take the administration to court if the President moves forward with the orders. 

As for drug prices: GoodRx, which follows several thousand brand name and generic medications, found that manufacturers hiked prices on 857 drugs by an average of 6.8% in the first six months of this year. That compares to 933 medications rising an average of 7% over the same time last year, according to the website, which provides cost comparisons and consumer discounts. The number of drugs and rate of price growth slowed between 2015 and 2019. 

11:59 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Fact check: Trump's claims on Biden's support for Iraq War

From CNN's Andrew Kaczynski

President Donald Trump noted Joe Biden voted for the Iraq War in an attack on Biden’s record.

Facts First: This omits important context. While Trump is correct that Biden voted for the war, Trump didn’t mention that he himself expressed tentative support for the 2003 invasion in a 2002 interview with Howard Stern.

Trump did not become an explicit opponent of the war until 2004, more than a year after the invasion. His running mate, Mike Pence, also voted for the war as a member of Congress.

You can read a longer fact check here.

12:48 a.m. ET, August 28, 2020

Fact check: Trump's claims about Biden's tax plans

From CNN's Alex Rogers

President Donald Trump claimed that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden “has pledged a $4 trillion tax hike on almost all American families.” 

Facts First: This overstates the tax increase Biden has proposed and experts say it would fall largely on corporations and wealthy Americans, rather than on the middle class. 

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, an independent bipartisan nonprofit, estimated that Biden’s tax plan would raise between $3.35 trillion and $3.67 trillion over a decade by concentrating its tax increases on corporations and the country’s highest earners.  

“The Biden tax plan is highly progressive, increasing taxes for the top 1 percent of earners by 13 to 18 percent of after-tax income, while indirectly increasing taxes for most other groups by 0.2 to 0.6 percent,” wrote the CRFB in a recent report. 

11:46 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Fact check: Trump's claims that China wants Biden to win

From CNN's Daniel Dale and Holmes Lybrand

President Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination on the South Lawn of the White House on Thursday in Washington.
President Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination on the South Lawn of the White House on Thursday in Washington. Alex Wong/Getty Images

During his speech, President Donald Trump claimed that he has "very good information" that China wants Biden to win because Biden cheers for China.

Facts First: While we don’t know what information Trump may have, a recent assessment from the intelligence community reported that China preferred Trump lose the election because he was "unpredictable" and because of the many actions he has taken against China.  

William R. Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, in a statement on August 7 updating the election threat landscape heading into the election, noted that "China prefers that President Trump -- whom Beijing sees as unpredictable — does not win reelection. The statement went on to note that China has been critical of Trump's "COVID-19 response, closure of China's Houston Consulate" and "actions on Hong Kong, TikTok, the legal status of the South China Sea, and China's efforts to dominate the 5G market." 

Evanina's report makes no mention of China preferring Biden because he would weaken the US economy.