Friday, August 28, 2020

Trump's lickspittle spoke - just not truthfully

It was awfully difficult to sit through the NRC. I don’t have the relevant data, but I suspect that most of the speeches were replete with falsehoods, exaggerations, and even exonerations. Perhaps the most egregious was the speech by VP Pence.

At the The New Yorker, John Cassidy exposes Mike Pence’s Big Lie About Trump and the Coronavirus at the Republican National Convention.

Here are a few passages.

From the opening of their Convention on Monday, the Republicans have been propagating a huge falsehood about the coronavirus pandemic. Amy Ford, a nurse from West Virginia, got things going when she said, “As a health-care professional, I can tell you without hesitation, Donald Trump’s quick action and leadership saved thousands of lives during covid–19.” Carefully edited videos and other testimonials have been used to reinforce this bogus narrative, but the ultimate rewriting of history was left to Vice-President Mike Pence, whose speech on Wednesday night from Fort McHenry, in Baltimore, amounted to a travesty of the truth.

The great irony, and outrage, of Pence’s speech is that, as the head of the White House’s coronavirus task force since February, he’s had a unique and closeup view of Trump’s actual response to the pandemic: the constant belittling of the virus’s threat; the claims that it would go away of its own accord; the quack remedies, including injecting disinfectant into stricken patients; the squabbling with governors, even Republican ones, who called out the inadequacy of his actions; the urging of states to reopen their economies even as they failed to meet the guidelines that Pence’s task force had laid down; the months of defiant refusal to wear a mask; and, in the end, the decision to effectively give up on the whole thing and move on.

Pence didn’t mention any of these things, of course. He focussed on the one significant policy decision Trump made early—to ban travel from China. Of course, the Vice-President didn’t point out that the ban was only a partial one—more than forty thousand people subsequently entered the United States on flights from China. And the first confirmed cases in New York, where the virus has killed more than thirty-two thousand people, arrived from Europe, not Asia. Nevertheless, throughout his speech, Pence presented Trump as everything he isn’t: engaged, diligent, and dedicated solely to acting in the interests of the American people. “In a city known for talkers, President Trump is a doer,” he said with an impressively straight face. “Few Presidents have brought more independence, energy, or determination to that office.”

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Pence’s bowing and scraping to Trump is that he seems to revel in it. In an interview with the Times, his chief of staff, Marc Short, said Pence has studied previous Vice-Presidencies, and he “exemplifies servant leadership.” Even in these twisted days, when Trump’s takeover of the G.O.P. seems virtually complete, it isn’t every elected Republican who would like to go in the history books as the forty-fifth President’s most loyal and obsequious servant. As he demonstrated on Wednesday night, when he once again acted as Trump’s lickspittle, Pence seems to fill the role naturally.

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