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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 John TrumpMore than 300 military family members endorse Biden Five takeaways from the final Trump-Biden debate Biden: 'I would transition from the oil industry' 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 CheneyMcCarthy faces pushback from anxious Republicans over interview comments Steve King defends past comments on white supremacy, blasts NYT and GOP leaders in fiery floor speech GOP lawmakers distance themselves from Trump comments on transfer of power 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 RomneyBipartisan group of senators call on Trump to sanction Russia over Navalny poisoning Mitt Romney did not vote for Trump in 2020 election Biden: Johnson should be 'ashamed' for suggesting family profited from their name MORE, no Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcCarthy faces pushback from anxious Republicans over interview comments Pelosi and Trump go a full year without speaking Jordan vows to back McCarthy as leader even if House loses more GOP seats 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.”