The Republican National Convention started off with a parade of dishonesty, in stark contrast with last week’s Democratic convention. While CNN also watched and fact-checked the Democrats, those four nights combined didn’t have the number of misleading and false claims made on the first night of the Republicans’ convention.
Here are some of the most noteworthy falsehoods from night one of the RNC.
Government takeover of healthcare
Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley attacked Democratic positions on health care.
“They want a government takeover of health care,” she said at the Republican National Convention on Monday.
Facts First: This is true of some Democrats, but it’s not a policy Joe Biden supports. While he does advocate broadening the government’s involvement in the nation’s health care system, he does not back so-called “single payer” programs like Medicare for All, which were pushed by others in the primary.
While Biden has agreed to back lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 60, from the current 65, as a concession to the party’s progressive wing, he is not a supporter of Medicare for All, which would have essentially replaced the private health insurance system with a single, government-run plan. That idea was pushed by Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
Biden would also increase the federal subsidies in Obamacare so more middle-class Americans could afford to buy coverage.
His running mate, Kamala Harris, shifted her positions during her short campaign — at times strongly backing Medicare for All. But when she eventually unveiled her health care plan, it also included a role for private insurance companies. However, she now supports Biden’s proposal.
Patricia McCloskey, the woman who along with her husband Mark McCloskey pointed a gun at protestors from her St. Louis home in June, claimed that Democrats want to “abolish” suburbs. “They want to abolish the suburbs altogether by ending single-family home zoning,” she claimed.
Facts First: This is false. Democrats are not seeking to abolish suburbs or end single-family home zoning. An Obama-era housing rule meant to address racial segregation does not abolish suburbs in any way.
McCloskey seems to be repeating Trump’s racially coded nonsense from July when he worked to overturn the change the Obama administration made in 2015 to the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH), a decades-old federal requirement aimed to eliminate discrimination and combat segregation in housing.
You can read more about the regulations and Trump’s false claims here.
Some background: The McCloskeys drew national attention in late June after they were seen in a viral video brandishing guns outside their mansion at protesters walking on a private street en route to demonstrate outside the St. Louis mayor’s residence.
The mayor lives on a nearby public street and the protesters were going down a street that doesn’t reach the mayor’s house, a St. Louis city official said. The Missouri couple was charged in July with unlawful use of a weapon, a class E felony.
Multiple speakers — including Rep. Vernon Jones, Rep. Jim Jordan and Mark McCloskey — touted the low unemployment rate America has witnessed under the Trump administration. Both Jordan and McCloskey credited the President for the “lowest unemployment in 50 years,” while Jones said President Trump “built the most inclusive economy ever, with record low unemployment for African Americans.”
Facts First: This is misleadingly outdated, as it ignores the economic destruction caused by the coronavirus pandemic. While the US unemployment rate fell to a seasonally adjusted rate of 3.5% last September — its lowest level since 1969 — the pandemic has put a definitive end to America’s strong jobs market and millions of people remain out of work.
After dropping to a 50-year low in September 2019, the unemployment rate hovered around that level for five months before Covid-19 hit and millions of jobs vanished.
The unemployment rate for Black workers, meanwhile, fell to 5.4% in August of 2019, a record low for the data, which have been collected since 1972. It was mostly driven a drop in the jobless rate for Black women. The Black unemployment rate rose throughout the winter months.
All in all, America’s jobs market was strong when the pandemic hit. The March jobs report was the weakest since 2009. Things got worse in April, when more than 20 million American jobs disappeared amid the pandemic lockdown, by far the most sudden and largest decline since the government began tracking the data in 1939.
The unemployment rate spiked to 14.7% — the highest level since monthly records began in 1948. Joblessness had not been that severe since the Great Depression: The unemployment rate peaked at 24.9% in 1933, according to historical annual estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
While the pandemic affected workers across the country, minorities fared worse than White workers. In July, the overall unemployment rate fell back to 10.2% — still higher than during the worst part of the Great Recession — while the jobless rate for Black Americans was 14.6%.