Watch CBS News

RNC tries to make the case that Trump aggressively handled coronavirus

Trump appears in RNC video with essential workers
Trump appears in RNC video with essential workers 05:28

Though the U.S. is first in the world in COVID-19 deaths, and the nation is still struggling to contain the spread of the virus, the Republican National Committee tried to make the case in the first night of its convention that President Trump acted aggressively to deal with the coronavirus. 

Mr. Trump appeared in a video with health care workers and first responders, and an RNC video argued that the media, the World Health Organization, and Democrats underplayed the virus. The video did not mention that the president, too, had downplayed the virus, insisting at some points that it would simply  "disappear," and drop from 15 cases down to "zero." The president still says the virus will disappear. 

"We don't even think it's gonna be as bad as it was in other countries," the video showed New York Governor Andrew Cuomo saying in the early days of the virus. 

"One leader took decisive action to save lives — President Donald Trump, banning travel from China and coronavirus epicenters. Biden charged xenophobia, but President Trump was right," the narrator of the video says. "Signing the CARES Act, providing immediate relief to American families, workers and businesses. Declaring a national emergency. Tapping into $42 billion in existing emergency funding. Quickly getting crucial personal protective equipment to the states."

The video also played clips of the New York and California Democratic governors thanking the president for delivering the supplies they needed. 

The video did not mention the number of deaths in the U.S., now over 170,000. 

According to a new CBS News poll Republicans believe the 170,000 fatalities is an overstated count and one which, for 57% of Republicans, can so far be considered acceptable.

The president also recorded a video in the White House with health care workers, first responders and a postal worker, calling them "great people" for their work. One woman, a police officer in Colorado, told the president she had contracted coronavirus in late March and recovered. 

"That means we don't have to be afraid of you at all. Once you're recovered, you know we have the whole thing with plasma. That means your blood is very valuable, you know that, right?" the president said. 

A detention deputy from California also said he had contracted COVID-19 around the same time. 

"How long was your problem?" Mr. Trump asked. The deputy replied that he was ill for about 10 days, but had to take about a month and a half off work. 

Though the RNC played clips of the World Health Organization and Democrats underestimating the virus, they weren't the only ones to do so. Mr. Trump has made a range of statements about the virus, insisting it would disappear like a "miracle" and suggesting officials consider looking into treatments like disinfectant and sunlight. 

At the Democratic National Convention, several of the most prominent speakers reminded viewers of what Mr. Trump had said in response to the statement that "a thousand Americans are dying a day" of COVID.

"They are dying. That's true," the president replied. "And it is what it is."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.