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Richard Fowler: Republican Convention paints fantasy picture of Trump success — ignores failures

America’s reality TV president and his worshipful followers in the Republican Party he now commands painted a very unreal picture of America on the second day of the Republican National Convention.

Trump was praised again and again Tuesday night for our booming economy, his brilliant response to the coronavirus pandemic, his foreign policy triumphs, his unparalleled accomplishments on behalf of Black Americans, and on and on. Too bad almost none of the boasting was true.

History will look back at the Trump presidency — which hopefully will end in January — as the presidency that could have been great, but failed miserably.

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Trump could have been the president who stood up for everyday Americans. Faced with the coronavirus pandemic, he could have been the leader who worked with Congress to extend unemployment insurance. He could have worked across the aisle to shore-up state and local budgets devastated by falling tax revenues and rising expenses caused by business closures due to COVID-19.

Trump could have been the president who boosted funding for public schools that must find new ways to teach students, particularly schools in low-income communities where students need financial assistance to get computers required for remote learning.

Trump could have done so much more to aid hospitals, first responders, food banks, and others struggling to find needed equipment and funding to help the sick and newly unemployed deal with the pandemic.

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And the man who sits in the Oval office could have fought for small businesses to get additional paycheck protection resources they need.

Of critical importance, Trump could have been the president who pushed forward a plan that remedied the harmful and disproportionate impact that COVID-19 is having on communities of color.

Unfortunately, Trump has been none of these things. He has chosen to be a con man and lie to the American people over and over again about an economic recovery that actually isn’t happening, and miracle cures and a vaccine for COVID-19 that are supposedly coming soon.

Instead of working tirelessly for the American people, as his convention cheerleaders told us Monday and Tuesday night he does, Trump has spent his time working for himself.

The president sends out angry tweets, boasts about how he is “a very stable genius” and the greatest first-term president in history, visits his resorts to play golf, and whines about a mythical “deep state” and “the fake news media.” Remember, that by his definition any criticism of him — even when 100 percent accurate — is “fake news.”

As voters are faced with a choice of four more disastrous years under Trump or voting for Democratic presidential nominee and former vice president Joe Biden, let’s look at some facts about just one of the many important issues at stake in the November election — the economy.

The U.S. economy contracted at a 32.9% annual rate from April through June, its worst drop on record, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. And with just days left in August, over 30 million unemployed Americans are looking for work and are trying to figure out how to make ends meet.

Of course, you wouldn’t know this if you believed everything you heard at this week’s Republican National Convention.

The fairy tale picture of our economy offered up Tuesday night at the convention was not based on fact or reason. Not only did the Trump worshippers tell the American people that we are witnessing some sort of economic boom; they continued to point to the stock market, large corporations, and industry titans as their measure of America’s financial success.

But while we all want our economy to get back on track, the truth remains that America currently sits at the intersection of a COVID-19-induced pandemic and an economic decline that has resulted from current infections and the abysmal lack of leadership from the White House.

Of course, no one is saying Trump is responsible for creating the coronavirus. But presidents have to deal with many problems they didn’t create. That’s part of the job. And presidents have to accept responsibility for solving problems, unlike Trump, who says the buck never stops with him and constantly whines about how he is unappreciated and treated unfairly.

Have we seen some bright spots in the economy? Absolutely! With interest rates near all-time lows and essential purchasing at an all-time highs, we have seen some significant benefits.

Companies like Walmart, Amazon, Apple and Zoom have done spectacularly. Also, seven of the world’s 50 wealthiest people increased their net worth by more than 50% between March 18 — a week after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic — and June 4. And some American families with extra cash-on-hand have been able to purchase new homes and cars and build new decks for their backyards.

Regrettably, the examples mentioned above are the outliers of this pandemic and the fear, uncertainty, confusion, and sadness it has laid bare.

COVID-19 has infected over 5.7 million Americans, making the U.S. the most infected country in the world. We lost over 178,000 bold, brave, and cherished Americans. Remaining in their absence are mourning families and friends who deserve our thoughts, prayers, truth — and most of all swift action from our federal government.

Beyond the loss of life, COVID-19’s victims include countless small thriving businesses throughout America. According to Oxford Information Technology — an organization that maintains a database of about 32 million businesses, nonprofits, government entities, and farms — it is estimated that about 4 million U.S. businesses are expected to close this year alone.

Think about that — 4 million businesses closing.

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These businesses employ millions of people, support families, and enrich communities. And sadly, they were omitted from the overly optimistic picture being painted by Trump and his super-fans at the Republican National Convention.

With school reopenings in disarray and national leadership hard to come by, the American people are currently in a world of hurt, searching for direction.

With so many families scratching and scrapping to get by, food insecurity is at an all-time high, and paying rent and mortgages on time is difficult or impossible for millions of Americans.

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Yet Trump and Senate Republicans callously refused to extend the $600 weekly increase in unemployment compensation that was keeping millions of families afloat. And Trump keeps pledging to destroy the Affordable Care Act that provides vital health insurance to families that desperately need it health care during a global health pandemic.

Anyone hoping that the Republican Convention would reveal a new, more empathetic Donald Trump has been sorely disappointed. Donald Trump has had almost four years on the job and failed the American people miserably. If he is reelected, all we can look forward to is four years of more failures, mismanagement, corruption and lies.

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