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Press: The big no-show at the RNC

Press: The big no-show at the RNC
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P.T. Barnum would be proud. Only elephants were lacking at last week’s Republican National Convention, which gathered together the greatest collection of fakery, flimflam and farceurs seen since Barnum launched the Show of Shows.

A total of 93 speakers showed up — of whom, according to the Washington Post, 25 were members of the Trump family or Trump administration, and 72 were white, reflecting the 80 percent white membership of the Republican Party. After rounding up every African-American they could find willing to say anything nice about Donald TrumpDonald TrumpUS gives examples of possible sanctions relief to Iran GOP lawmaker demands review over FBI saying baseball shooting was 'suicide by cop' House passes bill aimed at stopping future Trump travel ban MORE, the RNC featured 12 Blacks at the podium, 13 percent of speakers and four times the percentage of Blacks in the Republican Party.

Even more interesting than those who showed up, however, were the no-shows. There was nobody named Bush. Nobody named Cheney, not even Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyCheney on Trump going to GOP retreat in Florida: 'I haven't invited him' RNC raises nearly M in record off-year March donations Republicans race for distance from 'America First Caucus' MORE (R-Wyo.), the third-highest ranking Republican in the House of Representatives. Nobody named McCain. No former Republican presidential or vice-presidential candidate. No Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneySenate panel greenlights sweeping China policy bill The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Tensions rise as U.S. waits for Derek Chauvin verdict Mark Halperin hired by bipartisan policy group No Labels MORE, no Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanOn The Money: Senate confirms Gensler to lead SEC | Senate GOP to face off over earmarks next week | Top Republican on House tax panel to retire Trump faces test of power with early endorsements Lobbying world MORE. It’s like the Republican Party didn’t even exist before Donald Trump arrived on the scene.

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But the biggest no-show was none of the above. The biggest no-show at the RNC was someone who’s expected to show up at every national convention. The biggest no-show at Donald Trump’s national convention was: Mr. Truth. And in Mr. Truth’s absence, as fact-checkers duly noted, the Trump machine presented the biggest package of lies ever told to the American people.

The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler called Trump’s acceptance speech a “tidal wave of tall tales,” calling out 25 of the biggest ones. On Slate, Fred Kaplan noted that a “fire hose of false or misleading claims” in the first three nights of the convention led to Trump’s “volcano of lies” on the final night. USA Today’s Jill Lawrence and David Mastio condemned Trump’s “fact-challenged and unethical” convention speech.

Among the biggest lies they cited: ECONOMY. Pre-COVID, Trump repeatedly brags about building the biggest and best economy in history. FALSE! According to Forbes, Obama’s last three years were stronger than Trump’s first three. While nearly 6.6 million jobs were created during Trump’s first three years, for example, 7 million were created during Obama’s last three years.

RACE. “I say very modestly that I have done more for the African-American community than any president since Abraham Lincoln,” Trump bragged. FALSE! Maybe he forgot that President Lyndon Johnson secured passage of the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act, and the Fair Housing Act.

ENERGY. “Biden has promised to abolish the production of American oil, coal, shale, and natural gas,” charged Trump. FALSE! Biden has said no such thing. His climate change plan only bans new fracking leases on public lands.

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POLICE REFORM. Trump accuses Biden of supporting defunding police departments. FALSE! Biden has repeatedly said: “No, I don’t support defunding the police.” He’s actually proposed $300 million in additional funding for community policing.

MILITARY. Trump takes credit for rebuilding our “badly depleted military.” FALSE! With Biden’s support, Obama increased military spending in each of his eight years.

CORONAVIRUS. The biggest lie of all: that, because of Trump’s bold leadership, the pandemic is behind us. Leadership? We all remember Trump’s minimizing the virus’s threat, promoting phony cures, promising a “miracle,” and refusing to wear a mask. COVID-19 is behind us? I’ll give you 180,000 reasons why that’s not true.

Sadly, among Trump supporters, the cascade of lies will make no difference. According to the popular social media meme: “George Washington said ‘I cannot tell a lie.’ Donald Trump can’t tell the truth. And his supporters can’t tell the difference.”

Press is host of “The Bill Press Pod.” He is author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire.”