“This is the most important election in the history of our country,” Trump said. “This election will decide whether we save the American Dream or whether we allow a socialist agenda to demolish our cherished destiny.”
He added, “Your vote will decide whether we protect law-abiding Americans or whether we give free rein to violent anarchists, agitators and criminals who threaten our citizens. And this election will decide whether we will defend the American way of life or whether we allow a radical movement to completely dismantle and destroy it.”
Trump’s speech capped the four-day quasi-virtual Republican National Convention and was delivered against a remarkable and unprecedented tableau — “the People’s House” transformed for an evening into a campaign rally site.
Trump spoke from a red-carpeted stage adorned with American flags and bookended by massive campaign signage, with the White House’s grand portico illuminated against the night sky as his backdrop. After his 70-minute speech, among the longest acceptance speeches in history, fireworks exploded over the Mall, some of the blasts bearing the president’s name, T-R-U-M-P.
The president punctuated his party’s dark, dystopian warnings that Biden is beholden to the far-left wing of the Democratic Party — “a Trojan horse for socialism,” he said — and, if elected, would transform America’s democracy into something dangerous and sinister.
“Joe Biden is not the savior of America’s soul; he is the destroyer of America’s jobs — and, if given the chance, he will be the destroyer of American greatness,” Trump said.
Later, invoking Biden’s two terms as vice president and nearly four decades in the Senate, Trump added, “We have spent the last four years reversing the damage Joe Biden inflicted over the last 47 years. Biden’s record is a shameful roll call of the most catastrophic betrayals and blunders in our lifetime. He has spent his entire career on the wrong side of history.”
The agonizing and continuing reckoning over race was only one of the crises Trump confronted in his address. He argued that, despite the wreckage on his watch, he could lead the country out of the pandemic and bring back the tens of millions of jobs lost in the accompanying recession.
“Our nation, and the entire planet, has been struck by a new and powerful invisible enemy,” Trump said. “Like those brave Americans before us, we are meeting this challenge. We are delivering lifesaving therapies, and will produce a vaccine before the end of the year — or maybe even sooner. We will defeat the virus, end the pandemic and emerge stronger than ever before.”
By contrast, Trump argued, “Joe Biden’s plan is not a solution to the virus, but rather it’s a surrender to the virus.”
By positioning himself as best equipped to see the country out of this year of catastrophe, Trump reprised a signature argument from his Republican convention address in 2016, when the first-time candidate declared, “I alone can fix it.” In that speech four years ago in Cleveland, Trump painted a dire portrait of America as lawless and terrorized, and overrun with immigrants — similar to the one he says Biden would create should he become president.
Trump used his speech Thursday to defend his management of the pandemic, which continues to ravage the country for the eighth straight month and has claimed the lives of at least 177,000 people in the United States. The number of deaths and continued spread of cases in this country vastly outpaces every other nation.
The Democrats delivered a sustained assault on Trump’s handling of the pandemic at their convention last week. Some Republican convention speakers sought this week to counter that argument by asserting that the president did the best he could and saved lives — at times relying on false or misleading claims.
Harris delivered a systematic indictment of what she called the president’s “catastrophic” mismanagement of the virus. The former prosecutor marshaled evidence as if in a courtroom to argue that Trump had demonstrated “reckless disregard for the well-being of the American people” by failing to take the coronavirus more seriously in January and February.
“Instead of rising to meet the most difficult moment of his presidency, Donald Trump froze,” Harris said. “He was scared, and he was petty and vindictive.”
Trailing Biden in most national and battleground-state polls, Trump planned to use his convention appearance not only to galvanize his most loyal supporters but also to attempt to expand his coalition with an appeal to more moderate voters.
That includes college-educated White women in suburban areas who helped lift Trump to victory in 2016 but abandoned the Republican Party in the 2018 midterms, and who many of this week’s convention messages have targeted. Trump’s eldest daughter, Ivanka, a senior White House adviser who is seen by the Trump team as having particular appeal with female voters, introduced her father.
Ivanka dubbed Trump “the people’s president,” claiming that he governs with “common sense” and has been “fighting for you from dawn til midnight, when the cameras have left, the microphones are off and the decisions really count.” She gave a full-throated endorsement of his accomplishments and praised him as a bipartisan dealmaker trying to heal the nation — despite his record of partisan acrimony with Congress, a logjammed legislative agenda and repeated efforts to pit groups of people against each other.
As seen earlier this week, Thursday’s lineup of speakers included several who served as character witnesses seeking to soften Trump’s rough edges on issues of race, empathy and compassion.
“Many on the other side love to incite division by claiming that President Trump is a racist. They could not be more wrong,” said Housing Secretary Ben Carson, the only Black member of Trump’s Cabinet.
Alice Johnson, who also is Black, delivered one of the convention’s more emotional speeches as she described her personal journey in prison, where she served a lifetime sentence until Trump granted her a pardon.
“I was once told that the only way I would ever be reunited with my family would be as a corpse,” Johnson said. “But by the grace of God and the compassion of President Donald John Trump, I stand before you tonight — and, I assure you, I’m not a ghost. I am alive, I am well, and most importantly, I am free.”
In his own remarks, Trump declared, “I say very modestly that I have done more for the African American community than any president since Abraham Lincoln, our first Republican president. And I say that I have done more in three years for the Black community than Joe Biden has done in 47 years.”
The unrest in Kenosha has played out all week in a split screen from the Republican convention. Democrats have pointed to the shooting as evidence of systemic racism, and the resulting outpouring of anger and unrest as the consequence of a president who refuses to acknowledge it. A White teenager, Kyle Rittenhouse, has been charged with first-degree intentional homicide after two people were killed and another seriously wounded by gunfire at the demonstrations.
Republicans, meanwhile, have argued that the protests play in their favor, evidence that “law and order” must be maintained, as Trump has vowed to do.
“The hard truth is you will not be safe in Joe Biden’s America,” Pence continued.
Biden responded Thursday to Pence’s charge by noting that the tumult is occurring during Trump’s presidency.
“The problem we have right now is we’re in Donald Trump’s America,” Biden said in an interview with MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell. “What’s he doing except pouring gasoline on the fire? This happens to be Donald Trump’s America.”
Trump has said little about the incident in Kenosha. But in his remarks Thursday night, the president warned that a Biden presidency would “demolish the suburbs,” “confiscate your guns” and “defund police departments all across America” — even though Biden has not proposed any of these policies.
“No one will be safe in Biden’s America,” Trump said.
“If the Democrat Party wants to stand with anarchists, agitators, rioters, looters and flag-burners, that is up to them, but I, as your president, will not be a part of it,” Trump added. “The Republican Party will remain the voice of the patriotic heroes who keep America safe and salute the American flag.”
The stagecraft of Trump’s various appearances at this week’s convention — especially his formal acceptance speech Thursday night — was designed to leverage the powers of incumbency and showcase him as president.
Trump has obliterated the line between governing and campaigning and tested legal boundaries this week, breaking the long-held norm of presidents not using the White House for overt political activities.
In a pair of remarkable pretaped scenes that aired as part of the Republican convention’s prime-time programming on Tuesday, Trump staged a naturalization ceremony for five new citizens as well as granted a pardon — both instances of the president performing his official duties inside the White House for convention cameras.
In addition, first lady Melania Trump used the White House Rose Garden as the backdrop for her convention address Wednesday night. And a number of government officials addressed the convention, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who spoke from Jerusalem, where he was traveling on a taxpayer-funded diplomatic mission.
The White House has maintained that these activities have been legally permissible.
Whereas Democrats orchestrated an entirely virtual convention, in strict adherence to social distancing and other public health guidelines and with the aim of modeling best practices, the Republican convention was a hybrid between a virtual program and a traditional convention in a packed arena.
The marquee Republican speeches were staged before live audiences, including Pence’s address Wednesday night from Fort McHenry in Baltimore, where most attendees sat outdoors relatively closely together without wearing masks.
Trump’s crowd on Thursday was the largest of the week, with an estimated 1,500 people gathered on the South Lawn. The Trump campaign told reporters that the Republican National Committee worked with Patronus Medical, a medical, safety and health company, to institute “proper protocols” in compliance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to ensure the safety of attendees.
But an overwhelming majority of the attendees were not expected to be tested for the novel coronavirus, and chairs were placed only inches apart in defiance of distancing guidelines.
Josh Dawsey, Chelsea Janes, Felicia Sonmez and John Wagner contributed to this report.
August 28, 2020 at 12:20 AM EDT
Trump said Biden’s name 41 times but never mentioned Kamala Harris
By Colby Itkowitz
Trump spent a considerable amount of time on Biden in his acceptance speech, criticizing his record and his vision for America. But the president never mentioned Biden’s running mate, Kamala D. Harris.
Harris has been a focal point for Republican criticism since Biden chose the Democratic senator from California as his vice-presidential pick. Trump called her a “phony” and chastised her performance in the Democratic primary. Others have tried to paint her as a radical liberal or sow division between her and liberals over her record as a tough-on-crime prosecutor.
Over the course of the night, Trump mentioned his opponent by name 41 times. Biden, in contrast, didn’t say Trump’s name once in his acceptance speech last week.
August 27, 2020 at 11:48 PM EDT
Trump intensifies claim that Democrats are soft on crime
By Anne Gearan
President Trump broadened his attacks on Democrats being weak on crime, criticizing nominee Joe Biden as complicit in “mob rule.”
“Joe Biden is weak,” Trump said Thursday. “He takes his marching orders from liberal hypocrites who drive their cities into the ground while fleeing far from the wreckage."
Trump promised to “make America safer” if reelected.
The president focused on his support for law enforcement, inviting active-duty and retired law enforcement professionals to be part of the audience for the address. Speakers included the head of a New York policy union that endorsed Trump and the widow of a retired St. Louis officer killed during protests in June.
“When there is police misconduct, the justice system must hold wrongdoers fully and completely accountable, and it will. But what we can never have in America — and must never allow — is mob rule,” Trump said.
“There is violence and danger in the streets of many Democrat-run cities throughout America. This problem could easily be fixed if they wanted to. We must always have law and order."
Trump claimed, falsely, that he had stopped the movement to remove statues to Confederate and other historical figures by signing an executive order, and accused Biden and other Democrats of supporting what he described as violent protesters.
“During their convention, Joe Biden and his supporters remained completely silent about the rioters and criminals spreading mayhem in Democrat-run cities,” he said. “In the face of left-wing anarchy and mayhem in Minneapolis, Chicago, and other cities, Joe Biden’s campaign did not condemn it — they donated to it."
He claimed that “at least 13 members of Joe Biden’s campaign staff donated to a fund to bail out vandals, arsonists, looters, and rioters from jail.”
August 27, 2020 at 11:42 PM EDT
Fact Checker: Trump misleads again on preexisting conditions
By Salvador Rizzo
“We will always and very strongly protect patients with preexisting conditions. And that is a pledge from the entire Republican Party.”
The Republican Party has spent 10 years trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act and its coverage guarantee for patients with preexisting conditions, but GOP lawmakers have never come to an agreement on how to replace the law.
Trump took office and immediately began trying to dismantle the ACA, and now, his administration is asking the Supreme Court to strike down the entire law, including the preexisting condition coverage guarantee. Trump has not offered a replacement plan, despite promising one since days before taking office in 2017.
August 27, 2020 at 11:30 PM EDT
Fact Checker: Trump’s false claim on cash bail
By Salvador Rizzo
“The Biden-Bernie manifesto calls for abolishing cash bail, immediately releasing 400,000 criminals onto the streets and into your neighborhoods.”
This is all wrong. Defendants awaiting trial have not been released in states that have moved to abolish cash bail. For example, in New Jersey, former governor Chris Christie, a Republican allied with Trump, led a coalition to abolish cash bail and replace it with a point-based system that assesses risk based on the nature of the charges, the defendant’s prior record and the risk to the public.
The Biden-Sanders unity task force simply says, “Poverty is not a crime, and it should not be treated as one. Democrats support eliminating the use of cash bail and believe no one should be imprisoned merely for failing to pay fines or fees.” That’s the same argument Christie would make.
August 27, 2020 at 11:29 PM EDT
Fact Checker: Trump touts conspiracy theory that Obama ‘spied’ on him
By Glenn Kessler
“They spied on my campaign, and they got caught.”
Trump has concocted numerous conspiracy theories about the Obama administration spying on his campaign, which he sometimes labels “Obamagate.”
It started with Trump’s false claim in 2017 that President Barack Obama ordered a wiretap on him. Then that merged with a report that an FBI informant in Europe, a professor named Stefan Halper, met with at least three people working on the Trump campaign in Europe.
A former campaign aide, Carter Page, was subject to an FBI warrant.
Lately, Trump has focused on a January 2017 meeting that Obama held in the Oval Office with then FBI director James B. Comey, Vice President Joe Biden and national security adviser Susan E. Rice, among others. Rice indicated in an email that Obama was primarily concerned with whether limits should be placed on classified information that was shared with the incoming team, in particular incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn, in light of the intercepts of the calls between Flynn and the Russian ambassador.
Although presidents generally are expected not to inquire about criminal investigations, it is appropriate to have a discussion about a counterintelligence probe, as that involves national security. Somehow, without much explanation, Trump has turned this meeting into a high crime that he considers to be treason.
August 27, 2020 at 11:23 PM EDT
Trump attacks Biden by name, challenging his empathy
By Colby Itkowitz and Anne Gearan
Trump tried to blunt the Democrats’ message that Biden’s compassion will steady a broken country, calling the former vice president’s concern for struggling Americans “hollow words of empathy.”
“Joe Biden is not the savior of America’s soul — he is the destroyer of America’s jobs, and if given the chance, he will be the destroyer of American greatness,” Trump said.
Last week, Biden never uttered Trump’s name in his acceptance speech, but Trump said Biden’s over and over in his.
Trump went through his standard attacks, warning that a Biden presidency would be beholden to China, “surrender” to the coronavirus, let illegal immigrants “pour” into the country, abolish the suburbs and defund the police.
“Joe Biden claims he has empathy for the vulnerable,” Trump said, but accused his rival of supporting “extreme late-term abortion.”
Painting a dim picture of America’s future if he loses the election, Trump said ominously, “No one will be safe in Biden’s America.”
Trump also drew laughs with an aside, saying that “for 47 years, Joe Biden took the donations of blue-collar workers, gave them hugs and even kisses,” Trump said, emphasizing “kisses.”
Although the script called for him to continue that sentence, Trump paused for several seconds and pulled a quizzical face before continuing.
“Told them he felt their pain,” Trump continued, “and then he flew back to Washington and voted to ship their jobs to China and many other distant lands.”
The reference to “kisses” was clear to the audience of supporters Trump had gathered at the White House. Biden was known for decades for his habit of touching and hugging people with whom he spoke and has apologized for making some women uncomfortable. Biden also was accused of sexual misconduct by a former staffer, which he denied.
More than two dozen women have accused Trump of sexual assault or sexual harassment.
August 27, 2020 at 11:20 PM EDT
Fact Checker: Trump’s phony claim of spending $2.5 trillion to ‘rebuild’ the military
By Salvador Rizzo
“We have spent nearly $2.5 trillion on completely rebuilding our military, which was very badly depleted when I took office.”
False. The military was not “depleted” despite Trump’s insistence. (The claim appears 175 times in our Trump database.)
The U.S. military budget had declined in the years before Trump took office as a result of decreases in funding for Overseas Contingency Operations, as both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan came to a close, not because the military was “very badly depleted.”
Adjusted for inflation, the U.S. military budget under Trump lags some years during the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Over three fiscal years, the Trump administration and Congress have authorized $2.5 trillion in military spending. But the money is not all spent, only a portion of it is destined for new equipment, and the equipment is not all built.
August 27, 2020 at 11:18 PM EDT
Fact Checker: Trump yet again falsely says Biden supports defunding police
By Glenn Kessler
“When asked if he supports cutting police funding, Joe Biden replied, ‘Yes, absolutely.’ ”
This is a false claim that has earned Trump Four Pinocchios. Biden does not support “defunding police,” according to the candidate and the campaign. The phrase generally means shrinking the scope of police responsibilities to public safety and changing the tactics used by police officers. Biden backs advocates’ calls to increase spending on social programs separate from local police budgets, but he also wants more funding for police reforms such as body cameras and training on community policing approaches.
“No, I don’t support defunding the police,” Biden told CBS. “I support conditioning federal aid to police based on whether or not 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, in fact, has come under fire from the left for his position and for proposing to spend an additional $300 million a year on the community policing program started in the Clinton administration.
During the interview, Barkan said, “We can reduce the responsibilities assigned to the police and redirect some of the funding for police into social services, mental health counseling and affordable housing.”
He asked Biden, “Are you open to that kind of reform?” In the video, Biden replies, “I’ve proposed that kind of reform.” At another point, Barkan again asks: “But so we agree that we can redirect some of the funding?” The video shows Biden saying: “Yes, absolutely.”
But the audiotape of the full conversation on police shows Biden’s responses were much more nuanced. The NowThis video does not include Biden adding that his response was not the same as “defunding all the police.” He also speaks about increasing funding for mental health, which is different from saying he would fund mental health aid out of redirected funds from the police. In effect, Biden says he would condition aid on police reforms as an incentive on the one hand, while simultaneously providing additional resources for mental health, homelessness and other kinds of community support.
August 27, 2020 at 11:14 PM EDT
Fact Checker: Trump misleads on coronavirus testing
By Glenn Kessler
“America has tested more than every country in Europe put together, and more than every nation in the Western Hemisphere combined. We have conducted 40 million more tests than the next closest nation.”
Trump is talking about raw numbers, which is misleading. (And if you believe China, Beijing actually exceeds the numbers of tests, 90 million to 79 million for the United States.)
The key indicator is tests per capita, which gives a read on the share of the population that has contracted the novel coronavirus that causes covid-19. The United States still lags major countries such as Russia and is tied with Britain in terms of number of tests per million people.
Another problem is test results are slow in the United States. “Test results for the novel coronavirus are taking so long to come back that experts say the results across the United States are often proving useless in the campaign to control the deadly disease,” The Washingon Post reported in July. “The long testing turnaround times are making it impossible for the United States to replicate the central strategy used by other countries to effectively contain the virus — test, trace and isolate.”
August 27, 2020 at 11:08 PM EDT
Cacophony of go-go, bullhorns, cow bells and a banged frying pan tries to drown out Trump
By Fredrick Kunkle, Clarence Williams, Antonio Olivo, Justin Wm. Moyer, Marissa Lang, Fenit Nirappil and Erin Cox
As President Trump delivered his acceptance speech on the White House grounds, go-go music thumped so loudly outside the gates it could be heard four-blocks away. Bullhorns and trumpets blared.
One man beat a frying pan against the metal fence surrounding the White House as hundreds of protesters produced a cacophony they hoped would drown out the president’s message.
The horns could briefly be heard on live streams of the president’s speech, but the noise was primarily a symbolic ruckus and outpouring of frustration about Trump’s policies, racial injustice and police aggression against communities of color. Even though it wasn’t loud enough to be heard on the White House’s South Lawn, hip-hop music erupted from the Black Lives Matter Plaza on the north side of mansion.
The Secret Service stopped vehicles that tried to carry bands down Constitution Avenue, closer to the President’s Rose Garden address. Journalists stationed on the South Lawn, however, could hear the sirens and chants of protesters as Trump spoke.
August 27, 2020 at 11:07 PM EDT
Fact Checker: Trump misleads on China ‘travel ban’
By Glenn Kessler
“When I took bold action to issue a travel ban on China, very early indeed, Joe Biden called it hysterical and xenophobic. And then I introduced a ban on Europe, very early again. If we had listened to Joe, hundreds of thousands more Americans would have died.”
Trump oversells in the impact of his so-called “travel ban” — and on Biden’s criticism.
On Jan. 31, the president announced that effective Feb. 2, non-U. S. citizens were barred from traveling from China, but there were 11 exceptions. Meanwhile, U.S. citizens and permanent residents could still travel from China but were subject to screening and a possible 14-day quarantine. Trump’s action did not take place in a vacuum. Many airlines were canceling flights, and by our count, at least 38 countries took similar action before or at the same time the U.S. restrictions were put in place.
The president said he took bold action that was criticized. News reports say he was reluctant to impose the ban, citing his relationship with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, but the action was urged by his top health advisers. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told reporters on Feb. 7: “The travel restrictions that we put in place in consultation with the president were very measured and incremental. These were the uniform recommendations of the career public health officials here at HHS.”
Any criticism was scattered and relatively muted. Trump points to a comment by former vice president Joe Biden — “This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysteria and xenophobia … and fearmongering to lead the way instead of science” — but Biden says that did not refer to the travel restrictions.
The virus was already spreading through the United States, and there is little evidence the travel restrictions on China saved lives, especially because the Trump administration did not rapidly set up an effective testing regimen, as did many other countries.
Trump also touts his restrictions on travel from some countries in Europe as effective. But a Washington Post examination found that his abrupt decision led to one final viral infusion before the country was forced to shut down. “The lapses surrounding the spread from Europe stand alongside other breakdowns — in developing diagnostic tests, securing protective gear and imposing social distancing guidelines — as reasons the United States became so overwhelmed,” The Post reported. “The travel mayhem was triggered by many of the same problems that plagued the U.S. response to the pandemic from the outset: Early warnings were missed or ignored. Coordination was chaotic or nonexistent. Key agencies fumbled their assignments. Trump’s errant statements undermined his administration’s plans and endangered the public.”
August 27, 2020 at 11:05 PM EDT
Trump touts deportations, two days after hosting naturalization ceremony
By Toluse Olorunnipa
President Trump mounted an aggressive defense of his tough-on-immigration policies during his acceptance speech at the White House on Thursday, a sharp pivot from his decision to host a naturalization ceremony on Tuesday.
Trump praised his administration’s record of deporting undocumented immigrants and celebrated members of the National Border Patrol Council, the union that has endorsed his reelection.
“In perhaps no area did the Washington special interests try harder to stop us than on my policy of pro-American immigration,” Trump said. “But I refused to back down — and today America’s borders are more secure than ever before.”
Trump said his administration has deported more than 500,000 “criminal aliens” and 20,000 gang members, while cracking down on what he has described as “asylum fraud.”
Former Trump administration officials have spoken out against him in recent weeks, saying that he encouraged them to turn away lawful migrants at the border and to separate families in an attempt to deter refugees from coming into the country. Under Trump’s administration, the number of refugees allowed into the country has dropped significantly.
Trump attacked Biden on immigration, claiming falsely that the former vice president backs open borders. He criticized Democrats for offering taxpayer-funded benefits to immigrants, including lawyers and health care --
“Massive numbers of immigrants into our country -- massive numbers will pour into our country in order to get all of the goodies that they want to give," Trump said. “Education, health care, everything.”
Trump spoke out in favor of his travel bans on Muslim-majority countries and his crackdown on refugee admissions, claiming Biden would reverse those policies.
“We have already built 300 miles of border wall — and we are adding 10 new miles every single week,” Trump said. “The wall will soon be complete, and it is working beyond our wildest expectations.”
On Tuesday, Trump welcomed five new citizens during a naturalization ceremony that aired during the Republican convention. Democrats have said Trump’s true record on immigration is not welcoming new citizens but attempting to reduce legal immigration into the country.
August 27, 2020 at 10:59 PM EDT
Fact Checker: Trump misleads on environment and energy
By Salvador Rizzo
“I then approved the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, ended the unfair and costly Paris Climate Accord and secured, for the first time, American energy independence.”
Trump signed executive orders to speed up construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which the Obama administration had rejected. (It still has not been built.) But Trump did not “approve” the Dakota Access pipeline, which began construction during the Obama administration.
The Paris Climate Accord allows member nations to set their own targets, and Trump could have unilaterally changed the commitments offered by the Obama administration.
Trump and his allies often repeat the false claim that the United States is now energy independent. The United States is not energy independent, as it continues to import millions of barrels of oil per day.
“In 2019, the United States imported about 9.10 million barrels per day (MMb/d) of petroleum from nearly 90 countries,” according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The United States is expected to become a net energy exporter this year, according to the EIA, meaning it would sell more than it buys from other countries for the first time since 1952. That milestone apparently is not enough for Trump and his Republican supporters, who instead falsely claim the United States no longer relies on foreign energy.
August 27, 2020 at 10:54 PM EDT
Fact Checker: Trump touts a temporary location for Jerusalem Embassy
By Glenn Kessler
“Rather than spending $1 billion on a new building as planned, we took an already owned existing building in a better location … and opened it at a cost of less than $500,000.”
The new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem is a temporary location. It’s not a new building; the U.S. refurbished its existing consulate in Jerusalem for about $400,000. Costs for the permanent embassy could well surpass $1 billion when all is said and done.