WASHINGTON — President Trump accepted the Republican Party’s nomination here Thursday night for a second term as president in a 70-minute speech filled with praise for his administration’s record on battling the coronavirus and attacks on the views of his opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden.
“When the China virus hit, we launched the largest national mobilization since World War II,” Trump said, using his favored term for COVID-19. “Invoking the Defense Production Act, we produced the world’s largest supply of ventilators. Not a single American who has needed a ventilator has been denied a ventilator, which is a miracle,” he said, adding thanks to Vice President Mike Pence for a “good job” heading the White House coronavirus task force.
Nursing Home Cases
“We shipped hundreds of millions of masks, gloves, and gowns to our frontline healthcare workers. To protect our nation’s seniors, we rushed supplies, testing kits, and personnel to nursing homes and long-term care facilities, and we’re still giving it because we’re taking care of our senior citizens.” Trump’s remark came a week after Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, urged nursing homes to ramp up efforts to control COVID-19 after the number of residents infected with the highly contagious virus reached a record high, with weekly cases hitting about 12,000 by the end of July.
“We developed, from scratch, the largest and most advanced testing system in the world,” Trump said. “America has tested more than every country in Europe put together, and more than every nation in the Western Hemisphere combined — think of that. We have conducted 40 million more tests than the next closest nation, which is India.”
“We developed a wide array of effective treatments, including a powerful antibody treatment known as convalescent plasma … that will save thousands of lives,” said Trump. Notably, though, the FDA has not yet determined whether plasma therapy is genuinely effective.
Case Fatality Rate
“The United States has among the lowest case fatality rates of any major country anywhere in the world,” Trump said. “The European Union’s case fatality rate is nearly three times higher than ours but you don’t hear that … they don’t want you to know those things.” As of Thursday, among the 20 countries most affected by COVID-19, Mexico had the highest case fatality rate, at 10.8%; the U.S. was 11th, at 3.1%, and Saudi Arabia was the lowest, at 1.2%, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center.
“Instead of following the science, Joe Biden wants to inflict a painful shutdown on the entire country,” said Trump. “His shutdown would inflict unthinkable and lasting harm on our nation’s children, families, and citizens of all backgrounds.” It was unclear what Trump was referring to; Biden has not advocated continued economic shutdowns. In his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, Biden outlined his plan to combat the virus, which involved ramping up rapid testing, moving the manufacturing for medical supplies and personal protective equipment to the U.S., and “making sure our schools have the resources they need to be open, safe, and effective” — all of which are Trump’s stated policies as well.
Trump also praised his administration’s Operation Warp Speed project, aimed at speeding up development of vaccines and therapies to fight the virus. “We have three different vaccines in the final stage of trials right now, years ahead of what has been achieved before,” he said. “Nobody thought it could ever be done this fast … We will have a safe and effective vaccine this year, and together we will crush the virus.”
Trump addressed other healthcare issues as well. “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, and to give critically ill patients access to lifesaving cures, we passed the decades long-awaited ‘Right to Try’ legislation.” Trump also once again took credit for passage of the VA CHOICE Act, which was actually signed into law by President Obama in 2014.
Abortion Differences Highlighted
Abortion was not neglected by the president. “Joe Biden claims he has empathy for the vulnerable — yet the party he leads supports the extreme late-term abortion of defenseless babies right up until the moment of birth,” said Trump. “Democrat leaders talk about moral decency, but they have no problem with stopping a baby’s beating heart in the ninth month of pregnancy … Tonight, we proudly declare that all children, born and unborn, have a God-given right to life.”
Trump also pledged to “protect Medicare and Social Security; we will always and very strongly protect patients with pre-existing conditions, and that is a pledge from the entire Republican Party.” On Nov. 10, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a lawsuit brought by Republican state attorneys general — and supported by the Trump administration — aimed at eliminating the entire Affordable Care Act, a key provision of which bars health insurers from discriminating against patients with pre-existing conditions.
“We will end surprise medical billing, require price transparency, and further reduce the cost of prescription drugs and health insurance premiums — they’re coming way down,” said Trump, a claim contradicted by recent data from GoodRx.
Other speakers at the convention also lauded Trump’s healthcare accomplishments. Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes (R) praised Trump’s “aggressive action to break the chains of drug addiction and improve mental and behavioral health. He declared the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency and made available billions of dollars to confront this threat.” The president also signed a bill to create “a phone number, like 911, but for mental health,” he added. “When activated, 988 will be a lifeline for those struggling with thoughts of suicide, depression, addiction, self-harm, or even hurting others. It will save countless American lives.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) criticized the president’s opponents. Democrats “want to tell you what kind of car you can drive, what sources of information are credible, and even how many hamburgers you can eat,” he said. “They want free healthcare for illegal immigrants, yet they offer no protection at all for unborn Americans.”
Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, introduced her father while expressing compassion for victims of COVID-19. “As our nation endures this great trial, I pray for the families who are mourning the loss of a loved one, for those who are battling COVID-19, and for the first responders and the healthcare heroes who remain on the front lines of this fight,” she said. “The grief, sorrow, and anxiety during this time is felt by all.”
“I’ve been with my father and I’ve seen the pain in his eyes when he receives updates on the lives that have been stolen by this plague,” she continued. “I’ve witnessed him make some of the most difficult decisions of his life,” such as stopping travel to Europe and “closing down” the economy “to save American lives … Donald Trump rejects the cynical notion that this country’s greatest achievements are behind us. He believes that nothing is beyond our reach, and that the best is yet to come.”
Last Updated August 28, 2020