Trump speech: Fact checkers in force while protesters heckle RNC attendees

28 August 2020, 09:48

Social distancing did not appear to be in effect at the event and many were not wearing masks
Social distancing did not appear to be in effect at the event and many were not wearing masks. Picture: PA
Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

Republicans leaving a convention where Donald Trump formally accepted his renomination for president have been heckled by protesters upon leaving the event labelled an "abomination" by an ethics expert.

Footage outside the White House on Thursday night showed Republican National Convention attendees being booed as they departed on foot, while another showed Kentucky Senator Rand Paul being knocked backwards after a nearby police officer was pushed into him.

Mr Paul said later on Twitter he had been "attacked by an angry mob of over 100" when he was walking away from the convention.

He then thanked police in Washington DC for "literally saving our lives from a crazed mob".

READ MORE: Trump accepts Republican nomination warning Biden will 'destroy American greatness'

It comes after Mr Trump laid out his vision for the next four years as president in a speech to hundreds of people - mostly maskless - on a packed White House lawn.

Posting a picture ahead of the event showing audience chairs placed close together, former department of defence employee Adam Blickstein said it resembled "a row of tombstones" as pandemic guidelines appeared to have been ignored.

Protesters gathered outside the White House event holding placards criticising the coronavirus response
Protesters gathered outside the White House event holding placards criticising the coronavirus response. Picture: PA

Author and political commentator Seth Abramson added that a lack of adhering to COVID-19 guidelines equalled "spitting on the bodies" of the thousands killed by the virus.

Outside the event, meanwhile, protesters held placards that spelled out: "Trump failed" in reference to his response to the pandemic.

But despite numerous comments throughout the evening noting the lack of social distancing at the event, CNN's chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta said a senior official had later told him: "Everybody is going to catch this thing eventually."

Mr Trump's choice of using the most famous American residence as a backdrop for his speech in which he delivered a scathing attack on his rival, Joe Biden, has also been criticised over the ethical considerations.

The former director of the US office for government ethics said the choice was an "abomination" that was the "most visible misuse of official position for private gain" in the country's history.

He said: "It is an abuse of the power entrusted to this man, the breach of a sacred trust. It is the civic equivalent of a mortal sin—maybe a religious one too. And it is a harbinger."

The ethical consideration relates to the Hatch Act - a federal law the prohibits government employees from using their office for political activity or gain.

While Mr Trump is not subject to this, the convention itself could be seen as a violation.

And the speech, itself, from the US president was subject to criticism as fact checkers noted multiple inaccuracies throughout.

Politifact, a nonprofit fact-checking project from the Poynter Institute, noted nearly two dozen false of misleading comments from Mr Trump, while CNN fact-checking reporter Daniel Dale said the same.

Such comments included Mr Trump falsely claiming that the Barack Obama administration had spied on his campaign and had been caught, and that he had built 300 miles of a border wall with Mexico.

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