Dear Asian Youth,
Last week, prominent speakers from the Republican Party promoted their party’s platform at the Republican National Convention (RNC). Throughout his presidency, Trump has consistently lied and made misleading claims, and this convention was no exception.
Regarding COVID-19, Trump claimed that Biden would shut down the entire country rather than follow science. This is untrue. Biden has repeatedly said that he would listen to scientists and would only shut down the economy if scientists recommended it to counter COVID-19—ie, Biden would listen to science. Rather, it was Trump who claimed Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has “made some mistakes” and that he was “a little bit of an alarmist.”
Trump also stated that America has “among the lowest case fatality rates of any major country.” We don’t. In the 20 nations most impacted by this pandemic, the United States ranks 10th with a mortality rate of 3.1 deaths for every 100 COVID cases. Countries doing better than the U.S. include Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Philippines, and India (among many others).
Furthermore, Donald Trump Jr. declared that Trump quickly shut down travel from China. In reality, Trump did not restrict travel from China until February. Despite these restrictions, officials from Asia were still able to enter the US for the next few months, along with thousands of Americans returning from China. Travel from Europe, another disease hot spot, wasn’t even restricted until March. Many countries took similar steps before Trump did. Countries like Afghanistan, Guatemala, the Philippines, Russia, and Singapore all imposed a travel ban in January.
In Mike Pence’s speech, he insisted that when Trump came into office, the economy was “struggling to break out of the slowest recovery since the Great Depression.” But when Obama left office, the unemployment rate was 4.7%, and only 2 million people were collecting jobless aid. As opposed to now, where unemployment is at 8.4% and 14.8 million Americans are collecting jobless aid. To be fair, these statistics are partially due to COVID-19. But looking at numbers in January of 2020, $2.8 trillion was added to the national debt. During Obama’s presidency, the average monthly job gain was 217,000, compared to Trump’s current average monthly job gain of 191,000.
South Dakota’s governor Kristi Noem stated that Trump had “shrunk government and put money back into the pockets of hardworking, ordinary Americans.” Currently, the government is not shrinking. In 2016, federal spending was 20.6% of the GDP (Gross domestic product) and that has increased to 20.8% in 2019. It is true that the economy benefited from tax cuts in 2017, but this only increased the budget deficit because these tax cuts favored large corporations and the wealthy.
Biden was heavily criticized for wanting to “ban fracking and eliminate fossil fuels, which would kill millions of good-paying jobs and raise the cost of driving our cars and heating our homes.” This is not Biden’s position. He supports banning new oil and gas permits on federal land only, which, in 2018, only accounts for about a quarter of oil and gas production.
Regarding policing, Biden was criticized for wanting to cut funding to law enforcement. This is misleading as Biden consistently stated that he wouldn’t defund the police and would continue to fund it as long as the policing system improves. He also calls for an additional $300 million to policing programs, the exact opposite of defunding the police.
The RNC mentioned that Democrats want a complete “government takeover of health care.” However, this is not Biden’s position. Instead, he proposed building on Obamacare, which would keep the private insurance market and expand Medicaid.
Admittedly, the Democratic National Convention was not completely honest, but more lies have been identified on the RNC’s first night than throughout the DNC’S whole week. Many Republicans believe America is doing better than it was four years ago, even though we are in the midst of one of the worst pandemics, one of our country’s worst economic crises, and one of the worst periods of social unrest in decades. While Trump cannot be blamed for the pandemic, he can certainly be blamed for America’s response. With that, it is clear from an economic, social, and political standpoint, that Trump has not made America “great again.”
- Erika Yan
This piece is not affiliated with Dear Asian Youth Nonprofit.