11 July 2024

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is lauding the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic, despite the country having by far the highest confirmed case count and highest death toll in the world.


During his Republican National Convention remarks Thursday, Trump claimed that “hundreds of thousands of more Americans” would have died if his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, had been in office during the pandemic. Already, 180,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus under Trump’s watch.

In 2018, the Trump administration decided to dismantle a National Security Council directorate at the White House charged with preparing for a pandemic to hit the nation. Former Obama administration officials have said the Trump White House would have been able to act more quickly to stop spread of the coronavirus had the office still been intact.

Trump also tried to claim that he, unlike Biden, will hold China “fully accountable for the tragedy they caused.” But early in the pandemic, he praised China for its transparency and said they were working hard to contain the virus.


President Donald Trump says former Vice President Joe Biden “is not the savior of America’s soul,” and “if given the chance, he will be the destroyer of American greatness.”

Trump said during Thursday’s closing night of the Republican National Convention that Americans “don’t look to career politicians for salvation” but instead “put our faith in Almighty God.”

In June, Trump said “I hope it’s true” when asked about an evangelical claim that he had been appointed by God. Last August, Trump declared himself “the chosen one,” but later said he was joking.


President Donald Trump is opening his speech accepting the Republican nomination by mentioning Hurricane Laura, which recently lashed the Gulf Coast, killing at least half a dozen people.

Trump said Thursday during his speech to close out the Republican National Convention that his thoughts are with the “wonderful people who have just come through the wrath of Hurricane Laura.”

Laura came ashore early Thursday as a Category 4 hurricane and caused widespread damage around Lake Charles, an industrial and casino city of 80,000 people.

The storm left entire neighborhoods in ruins and almost 900,000 homes and businesses without power. Laura is the most powerful storm to hit the U.S. this year. But there was relief that it was not the annihilating menace forecasters had feared. A full damage assessment is likely to take days.

Trump said Thursday he would visit the area this weekend.


Ivanka Trump says Washington hates her father because he has called out its hypocrisy.

Instead of letting Washington change him, she says President Donald Trump changed Washington, and she says the U.S. needs four more years of leadership from the “warrior” in the White House.

Introducing her father on the Republican National Convention’s final night, Ivanka Trump also took a swipe at Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, whom she calls “another empty vessel who will do whatever the media and the fringe of his party demands.”

Senior adviser Ivanka Trump says her father doesn’t surrender his beliefs to score points with the political elite. She says the working men and woman of America are the only elites he cares about scoring points with.

She says she loves him for “being real” and respects him for “being effective.”


A woman whose drug crime sentence was commuted by President Donald Trump says his reforms in criminal justice are “just getting started.”

Alice Johnson said Thursday during the Republican National Convention that she “hollered hallelujah” after Trump signed the First Step Act, which she said “brought joy, hope and freedom to thousands of well-deserving people.”

Johnson is a Tennessee grandmother convicted on felony drug and money laundering charges in 1996. After 22 years in prison, she was released in June 2018 when Kim Kardashian West asked Trump to grant her clemency.

Since then, her story was featured in a reelection ad for the president, and she recommended a list of other nonviolent female offenders, whose sentences Trump commuted. On Thursday, Johnson said she is free “by the grace of God and the compassion of President Donald John Trump.”


The head of New York City’s Police Benevolent Association is praising President Donald Trump for his staunch support of law enforcement around the country.

Pat Lynch said Thursday at the Republican National Convention that there is “no other choice” than the Republican incumbent when it comes to the safety of all Americans.

Lynch accuses Democratic politicians of walking away from police by cutting their budgets and passing laws that he says are making it hard for officers to do their jobs effectively.

He says too many officers are complaining to him that their “hands are tied.”

Lynch’s organization recently endorsed Trump’s reelection during an event at Trump’s private golf club in New Jersey.


Rudy Giuliani is painting a grim portrait of violence in America as he endorses President Donald Trump’s reelection bid at the Republican convention.

The former New York mayor said in his speech Thursday that a vote for Democrat Joe Biden is a vote for “soft on crime” policies and risks a continuation of the “wave of lawlessness” that he says is ravaging the country. He says the riots in American cities give “you a good view” of what life would be like in a Biden administration, though the current violence is happening during Trump’s administration.

He says Trump is the one candidate who can be trusted to preserve the American way of life.

He made no mention of the Russia investigation, in which he defended Trump, or his role in trying to dig up dirt on Biden in Ukraine. The saga ended up with Trump getting impeached by the Democratic-led House, but he was acquitted by the Republican-led Senate.


Housing Secretary Ben Carson is offering sympathies to the family of Jacob Blake, the Kenosha, Wisconsin, man whose shooting by police has sparked deadly violence.

Carson, the highest-ranking Black member of President Donald Trump’s administration, is the first Republican National Convention speaker Thursday to discuss Blake’s shooting.

Trump refused earlier Thursday to answer questions about the shooting.

Carson says his sympathies also extend to other families that have been affected by the “tragic events” in the Milwaukee suburb.

Authorities say Blake was shot in the back by police responding to a domestic dispute. The 29-year-old Black father of six is paralyzed from the waist down.

A 17-year-old from Illinois is charged in the fatal shooting of two protesters and the wounding of a third in Kenosha during unrest that followed Blake’s shooting.


The widow of a retired St. Louis police captain shot to death after a violent night of protests says President Donald Trump is bolstering law enforcement agencies and using federal resources to “restore order in our communities.”

During emotional remarks at the Republican National Convention on Thursday, Ann Marie Dorn said that she relives the “horror” of her husband’s death daily.

In detail, she described the night that 77-year-old David Dorn was fatally shot outside a pawn shop June 2 amid violence following the death of George Floyd.

Saying “violence and destruction are not legitimate forms of protest,” Dorn said she hopes that her pain will “help shake this country from the nightmare we are witnessing in our cities and bring about positive, peaceful change.”

Soon after the shooting, Trump wrote on Twitter Dorn was “viciously shot and killed by despicable looters last night. We honor our police officers, perhaps more than ever before.”

Two men have been charged in Dorn’s death.


The head of the Ultimate Fighting Championship says President Donald Trump’s continued leadership is needed as the coronavirus pandemic persists.

Dana White said during the Republican National Convention on Thursday night that Trump can revamp the economy that has struggled to get back on track during the nation’s response.

White argued that Trump’s immediate focus on involving business and industries in pandemic response, as well as bringing back sporting events safely, has helped people feel as normal as possible.

More than 180,000 people in the U.S. have died from the coronavirus, by far the worst in the world.

White has served on a business leaders task force helping advise Trump on revamping the economy amid the pandemic. Earlier this year, he was among the sports leaders on a call earlier this year discussing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. On the call, Trump said he was looking forward to the resumption of competitions “as soon as we can.”


Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is painting a dystopian picture of what America would look like with Democrats in charge as he looks to keep control of the Senate.

The Kentucky Republican said Thursday at the Republican National Convention that “today’s Democrat Party doesn’t want to improve life for middle America.” He says, “They prefer that all of us in flyover country keep quiet and let them decide how we should live our lives.”

He adds: “They 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.”

The comment propagates a falsehood that Democratic proponents of the Green New Deal, which seeks to radically overhaul the U.S. economy to cut greenhouse gas emissions, would limit beef consumption.

None of the proponents of the Green New Deal have suggested outlawing beef consumption or seizing pickup trucks.


The highest-ranking Black staffer in the White House says he’s seen President Donald Trump’s “true conscience” in the aftermath of recent high-profile killings of Black men and boys.

Ja’Ron Smith says in a Republican National Convention speech Thursday that he wishes everyone else could see the “deep empathy” Trump shows families whose loved ones were taken by senseless violence.

Smith specifically named Ahmaud Arbery of Georgia, George Floyd of Minneapolis and 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro of Kansas City.

An assistant to the president for domestic policy, Smith helped craft an executive order that Trump recently issued to address changes to policing that have been demanded in the wake of Floyd’s killing in May by a white Minneapolis police officer.

Smith says issues important to Black communities are priorities for Trump.


A New Jersey congressman who switched from Democrat to Republican says he deserted his former party when it “moved from liberal to radical.”

Rep. Jeff Van Drew claimed at the Republican National Convention on Thursday night that Democratic nominee Joe Biden isn’t in control of his own candidacy and “is being told what to do by the radicals running my former party.”

Van Drew broke with his party and voted against impeaching President Donald Trump — a move that bolstered GOP attempts to depict Democrats as divided on the matter. Last year, he switched parties to become a Republican in the November election, promising Trump his “undying support.”

Trump, reveling in the decision, promised to return the favor and announced that he is endorsing Van Drew for reelection, calling him “a tremendous asset for the party.”

Van Drew’s remarks came after a video montage of comments from voters who identified themselves as coming from across the political spectrum but having become Trump supporters.


House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is talking more about the coronavirus pandemic than many of the speakers at the Republican National Convention this week.

But he’s not calling it by its name, only “an invisible enemy that we didn’t ask for.”

The California Republican said Thursday in his RNC speech that “we will defeat it because America is where innovation happens, and we are developing a vaccine in record time.”

He credits President Donald Trump for having “unleashed a Marshall Plan for Main Street,” referring to the coronavirus relief package for unemployed Americans and businesses.

However McCarthy, as all speakers this week, referred to the pandemic as an unforeseen tragedy that has killed 180,000 Americans, not the virus that first swept across Europe and that Trump at first played down before assembling a White House task force.


The White House South Lawn is the stage for many things, from Easter egg rolls to state dinners to the presidential helicopter’s comings and goings.

But it had never provided the setting for a national political convention – until Thursday night.

President Donald Trump is accepting the Republican presidential nomination during a scaled-back, coronavirus-influenced convention unfolding on the sprawling lawn.

Jumbo screens blared “Trump Pence” and white folding chairs were laid out close together for the 1,500 expected guests, not the recommended 6 feet apart.

Face masks are not required for the event, where Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump are set to speak, and many guests will not be tested for the coronavirus.

The White House says those who will be “in close proximity” to Trump will be tested.


Joe Biden is hitting the campaign trail — in person — after Labor Day.

The Democratic presidential nominee said during a fundraiser Thursday that he’ll start doing in-person events in “a way that is totally consistent with being responsible” after Labor Day. Biden named Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Arizona as some of the states that are under consideration.

Biden says he’ll “meet people where it matters — not at irresponsible rallies, or staged for TV to boost egos, but real people’s communities, in real local businesses, in their lives.” He says he’ll hold events “consistent with the state rules” about crowd sizes and other regulations.

Biden has largely campaigned virtually from his Wilmington, Delaware home. While Biden and his aides say he’s trying to comply with recommendations from public health experts, President Donald Trump and his allies have ridiculed Biden for “campaigning from his basement.”

Biden knocked Trump for speaking to the Republican National Convention on Thursday night on the South Lawn of the White House, calling him “totally irresponsible” for arranging an in-person audience for the event.


White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany says the Trump administration has purchased 150 million new COVID-19 test kits to be distributed across the country.

The White House announced the purchase on Thursday ahead of President Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, where he was expected to highlight administration steps to combat the virus.

The 15-minute test from Abbott Laboratories will sell for $5, giving it a competitive edge over similar tests that need to be popped into a small machine. It’s the latest cheaper, simpler test to hit the U.S. market, providing new options to expand testing as schools and businesses struggle to reopen and flu season approaches.

McEnany says the “major development” will save lives, protect America’s most vulnerable and allow more Americans to go back to work and to school.

The test received emergency use authorization from the FDA this week. The company says it will be able to produce about 50 million of them per month, beginning in September.