Donald Trump Jr. claims in RNC speech that the president 'acted quickly' to contain COVID-19 as US death toll approaches 180,000

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Donald Trump Jr. claims in RNC speech that the president 'acted quickly' to contain COVID-19 as US death toll approaches 180,000
Donald Trump Jr.REUTERS/Rick Wilking
  • Donald Trump Jr. on Monday delivered a forceful endorsement for President Donald Trump's reelection during the opening night of the Republican National Convention.
  • The younger Trump attempted to spin the disaster of the US's coronavirus outbreak into a success story for his father and claimed the president "acted quickly" to control the pandemic, which remains uncontrolled.
  • The president's eldest son argued that a Joe Biden presidency would lead to chaos, violence, and socialism — a dark message that echoed major themes of the night.
  • "It's almost like this election is shaping up to be church, work, and school versus rioting, looting, and vandalism," he said.
  • This year's GOP convention comes with the president facing an uphill battle to securing a second term during a pandemic that's infected millions of Americans, killed more than 177,000, and cratered the US economy.

President Donald Trump's eldest son delivered a forceful endorsement for his father's reelection on the opening night of the 2020 Republican National Convention, claiming Monday that Trump "acted quickly" to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the US.

"Fortunately, as the virus began to spread, the president acted quickly and ensured ventilators got to hospitals that needed them most, he delivered PPE to our brave frontline workers, and he rallied the mighty American private sector to tackle this new challenge," Donald Trump Jr. said.

In reality, the president denied and downplayed the crisis for months, discouraged Americans from practicing social distancing and wearing masks, demanded that states reopen their economies in violation of federal guidelines, and claimed victory at every turn while leaving many logistical challenges up to state and local governments.

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The US has recorded the most coronavirus infections in the world; it has 25% of known global cases despite having just 4% of the world's population. As of Monday, more than 177,000 Americans had died from the virus.

The younger Trump also hit on major themes of the night: a dark message that electing the Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, would mean chaos and crime.

"It's almost like this election is shaping up to be church, work, and school versus rioting, looting, and vandalism," he said.

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Over the past several years, the president's eldest son has become one of his father's most aggressive and outspoken surrogates, campaigning across the country and using his social-media platforms to spread right-wing conspiracy theories, raise money, and promote the administration's conservative ideology.

He's written two books over the past couple of years, both heavily focused on attacking the left and opposing political correctness.

His role in his father's political affairs has also faced significant scrutiny. The 42-year-old businessman arranged the June 2016 meeting between several Trump campaign officials and a Russian lawyer who was an agent of the Kremlin.

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The president's former personal attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, testified that Trump condemned his son's move.

"Mr. Trump was very quick to tell everybody that he thinks Don Jr. has the worst judgment of anyone he's ever met in the world," Cohen said.

The younger Trump was one of several keynote speakers featured Monday. Others included Kimberly Guilfoyle, Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz and Jim Jordan, Sen. Tim Scott, the former ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, and the Republican National Committee's chairwoman, Ronna Romney McDaniel.

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This year's GOP convention comes with Trump facing an uphill battle to securing a second term in office during a pandemic that's infected more than 5.7 million Americans, killed more than 177,000, and left millions unemployed as the US economy struggles to recover.

Earlier Thursday, the president made an unannounced appearance at the convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, after winning enough roll-call votes to secure the Republican nomination.

"The pandemic, we're handling it very well. Look at the crowds," Trump said during what turned out to be a rambling speech, which lasted about an hour and was riddled with falsehoods.

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