“‘America will never be destroyed from the outside,'” Lara said, quoting Fake Lincoln. “‘If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.'”
Naturally, that creation was the product of a Facebook meme that went viral in right-wing circles and then somehow magically made its way into a Trump family speech at the Republican National Convention.
But Lara’s bogus Lincoln quote didn’t even come close to being the biggest fabrication of the night. That distinction belongs to former Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, who mixed together a series of baseless conspiracy theories to spew this venom:
The Obama-Biden administration secretly launched a surveillance operation on the Trump campaign, and silenced the many brave intelligence officials who spoke up against it. … Former vice president Joe Biden asked intelligence officials to uncover the hidden information on President Trump’s incoming national security adviser three weeks before the inauguration.
Trump’s been on that first jag—disproven over and over again in multiple investigations—for three years, but the convenient addition of Biden’s central role in pro-Trumper’s conspiratorial lore is a nice touch.
First, President Obama never ordered the FBI to do anything. And as The Washington Post explains, in January 2017, Obama, Biden, former FBI Director James Comey, and former National Security Adviser Susan Rice were grappling with how much sensitive intelligence to share with incoming National Security Adviser Mike Flynn given his stealth contacts with Russian Ambassador Surgey Kislyak. This was a completely relevant concern in a completely unprecedented situation.
In multiple FBI interviews and congressional testimony, not a single person who attended the meeting has said Biden directed anyone to do anything. “During the meeting, the president, the vice president, the national security adviser did not attempt to any way to direct or influence any investigation,” former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates testified before the Senate last month.
But in Grenell’s telling, Biden’s mere presence at a high-level national security meeting during the transition was a wicked crime.
A lesser-known name, New York Rep. Lee Zeldin, offered one of the most laughable peaches of the night:
The administration delivered public, private and semi-automated lab testing approvals at blinding speed.
And that’s the way that today, at this very moment, every American who wants a test can get a test and know their results immediately. Yeah, we’re at 180,000 deaths and counting, so let’s just leave that steaming pile of Zeldin manure right there.
But Lara Trump one-upped Zeldin’s revisionism by just plain forgetting the coronavirus exists, or ever existed.
“Under president Trump’s leadership,” Lara said, “4.3 million new jobs have been created for women.”
She was almost—but not really—correct about Trump’s pre-coronavirus record. Between January 2017 and this February, 3.7 million more women had gained employment, according to CNN. But the pandemic entirely wiped away those gains, meaning that from January 2017 to July 2020, female employment had fallen by 3.9 million. So Trump’s actually -2 million in the hole unless you live in a faux reality where the pandemic doesn’t exist. Must be nice, Lara.
And then there was Pence, man of supposed deep faith and habitual liar. The Post framed the third night of the convention as a “cascade of false claims, especially in Vice President Pence’s speech.” Surely a proud moment for Trump.
Let’s just do a lighting round here:
On the pandemic, Pence claimed Trump “took the unprecedented step of suspending all travel from China,” saving an “an untold number of American lives.” Never mind that Trump’s inaction has also cost an untold number of American lives, and he also didn’t suspend “all travel” from China. In fact, Trump’s late January travel order included 11 exemptions that allowed an estimated 40,000 travelers from China into the U.S. in the first two months following the travel ban. But since the virus was already readily circulating in the U.S. by the time Trump signed the order, there’s little evidence the action saved lives.
On energy, Pence said Trump had “achieved energy independence for the United States, Joe Biden would abolish fossil fuels and fracking.” The U.S. isn’t energy independent since it imports millions of barrels of petroleum every day and Biden hasn’t promised to abolish fracking or fossil fuel extraction. His environmental plan aims to reach “net-zero (carbon) emissions no later than 2050” by looking at “all low- and zero-carbon technologies.” There’s no immediate abolishment of carbon capture and, on fracking, Biden has said he would not approve new fracking permits going forward.
On policing, Pence said: “(When) asked whether he’d support cutting funding to law enforcement, Joe Biden replied, ‘Yes, absolutely.’” Patently false. Here’s what Biden has actually said: “No, I don’t support defunding the police. … I support conditioning federal aid to police based on whether they meet certain basic standards of decency and honorableness. And, in fact, are able to demonstrate they can protect the community and everybody in the community.” Biden has said he would be open to redirecting some of the funding for police to social services, mental health counseling, and affordable housing, a commitment he made to healthcare activist Ady Barkan in a NowThis video.
On veterans’ health care, Pence claimed: “After years of scandal robbed our veterans of the care that you earned (…) we reformed the VA and veterans choice is now available for every veteran in America.” Actually, Obama did that. Trump’s bill, the MISSION Act, simply updated a measure signed into law by Obama.
Pence spewed plenty more lies where those came from. But one other one stands out as particularly unctuous and skeevy given the recent Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and the violence aimed at BLM protesters by white right-wing extremists.
“Dave Patrick Underwood was an officer of the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Protective Service, who was shot and killed during the riots in Oakland, California,” Pence said, leaving the impression that Underwood had been killed by BLM protesters in Oakland following the police killing of George Floyd.
In fact, Underwood was killed by Air Force Staff Sgt. Steven Carrillo, a follower of the extremist “Boogaloo Boys” movement that has intentionally used peaceful protests to spread right-wing ideology and advance their goal of igniting a race war.
Underwood’s death wasn’t a consequence of protests for racial justice, it was a product of the right-wing extremism that has been explicitly stoked by the Trump administration. But don’t take it from me. Take it from this testimonial from Elizabeth Neumann, Trump’s former Homeland Security assistant secretary for threat prevention and security policy.