The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion Trump’s RNC fight is a classic example of him dodging responsibility

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) is seen wearing his mask following a media briefing on the covid-19 pandemic in Raleigh, N.C., on Thursday. (Ethan Hyman/AP)
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Judging from the past couple of days, you would think the biggest problem in America is social media’s First Amendment rights. That, however, is a typical distraction as President Trump presides over a country that has lost more than 100,000 lives and tens of millions of jobs. At her weekly news conference, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was on the money when she declared that “it’s a distraction.” She noted, “I opened this meeting talking about testing, how it’s going to save lives, open our economy, send our kids back to school, save lives and the rest. We’re talking about Twitter. So let’s get back to saving lives. Okay?”

Whenever the national news discussion turns to something trivial, particularly in which Trump gets to play the victim, the real question should be: What is he running away from?

The flap over the Republican National Convention is indicative of how Trump tries to evade responsibility for enormous failures (100,000 deaths) or even address small problems at hand. Trump has threatened to yank the convention from North Carolina unless the governor, in a week, comes up with a guarantee they will have a fully packed event. It turns out Trump has not even submitted a plan for how to do this safely.

Full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic

CBS News reported: “In a press conference on Tuesday, [North Carolina Gov. Roy] Cooper said he’s ‘really not surprised at anything that happens on Twitter’ and added that while it’s OK for political conventions to be political, the pandemic response cannot be.” Cooper, a Democrat, added that he has asked the RNC for its plan.

On Thursday evening, the Republican National Committee sent a letter with its “plan,” which like most things associated with Trump was lacking in substance. The Post reports, “The letter did not address some basic safety concerns, omitting, for example, whether attendees would be required to wear masks or take a coronavirus test before entering the Spectrum Arena where the convention would be held.” It is shocking but not surprising that he wants “to hold a large-scale convention without an audience filled with masked people.” Trump is truly delusional if he expects tens of thousands of mask-less people to crowd into an arena to venerate him.

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It should surprise no one that a president who has no plans for anything — national testing, for one — has raised a threat over something totally within his control to address. Even NASCAR is more on the ball than Trump. (“Cooper said NASCAR did a great job of presenting their plans and adhering to many safety guidelines, and he looks forward to having positive conversations with the RNC as well,” the local CBS affiliate station reports.)

Keep in mind, the convention is not until August. As Cooper pointed out, “We’re talking about something that’s going to happen three months from now, and we don’t know what our situation is going to be regarding COVID-19 in North Carolina.” Cooper, you see, is actually concerned with the safety and well-being of his own residents, as well as the tens of thousands who will attend.

The media should start be quizzing those Republican sycophants, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who are offering up their states unconditionally to a president who couldn’t care less about anything other than his own reelection.

Gov. Kemp, will you require all attendees to wear masks? Gov. DeSantis, what happens if there is a second wave? What would these governors tell their own residents to assure them they are not creating a public health nightmare?

Read more:

The Post’s View: No one should risk their health to be an extra in Trump’s show

Jennifer Rubin: Trump cannot alter reality by ignoring it

Leana S. Wen: How do we prevent the next 100,000?

Jennifer Rubin: Nancy Pelosi has every reason to be exasperated

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