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Trump speech: Fact checkers in force while protesters heckle RNC attendees
28 August 2020, 09:48
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".
Just got attacked by an angry mob of over 100, one block away from the White House. Thank you to @DCPoliceDept for literally saving our lives from a crazed mob.— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) August 28, 2020
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.
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."
Very little social distancing. Very few masks in sight on the south lawn of the WH for Trump’s speech. pic.twitter.com/J31kDKyabj— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) August 28, 2020
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.
This abomination may be the most visible misuse of official position for private gain in America’s history. 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 pic.twitter.com/UryxiQTyv0— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) August 28, 2020
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.