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Updates and analysis from Day 4 of the Republican National Convention

The convention concluded with President Donald Trump's acceptance speech.
Image: President Donald Trump and his daughter, Ivanka Trump, will be the keynote speakers on the last night of the Republican National Convention on Thursday.
President Trump and his daughter Ivanka will be the keynote speakers on the last night of the Republican National Convention on Thursday.Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

The final day of the Republican National Convention took place on Thursday, culminating in President Donald Trump's speech accepting the Republican nomination for president.

Other speakers on Thursday included Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and senior adviser, and Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer.

Trump delivered his speech at the White House, a decision that critics have said could be a violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in certain political activities. The president and vice president are exempt from the law but other White House employees are not.

Fact check: Trump boasts of delivering PPE early in pandemic, doesn't mention ongoing shortages

"We shipped hundreds of millions of masks, gloves and gowns to our frontline health care workers. To protect our nation’s seniors, we rushed supplies, testing kits, and personal — to nursing homes, we gave everything you can possibly give and we’re still giving it because we’re taking care of our senior citizens," Trump said on Thursday night, talking up his COVID-19 response.

In the early days of the pandemic, the Trump administration did indeed procure millions of supplies, even flying personal protective equipment (PPE) in from overseas, with much fanfare and often exaggerated numbers

But Trump fails to mention that the shortages of PPE and critical testing supplies are ongoing. 

One in five U.S. nursing homes faced severe shortages of PPE this summer, according to a study released in August. The American Medical Association decried the “persistent shortage” of N95 masks and other protective equipment yesterday.

"It is hard to believe that our nation finds itself dealing with the same shortfalls in PPE witnessed during the first few weeks that SARS-CoV-2 began its unrelenting spread,” the group’s president, Dr. Susan Bailey, said on August 26th. “But that same situation exists today, and in many ways things have only gotten worse.”

Trump mentions Kenosha, not Jacob Blake

Midway through his speech Thursday, Donald Trump mentioned Kenosha, Wisconsin — but did not make mention of Jacob Blake, who was shot seven times in the back by the city's police.

He began by saying: “We have to give law enforcement, our police, back their power.”

“They are afraid to act,” he continued. “They are afraid to lose their pension. They are afraid to lose their jobs, and by being afraid they are not able to do their jobs. And those who suffer most are the great people who they want so desperately to protect.”

“When there is police misconduct, the justice system must hold wrongdoers fully and completely accountable, and it will,” he continued. “But what we can never have in America — and must never allow —is mob rule. In the strongest possible terms, the Republican Party condemns the rioting, looting, arson, and violence we have seen in Democrat-run cities like Kenosha, Minneapolis, Portland, Chicago, and New York.”

Trump did not make mention of the pro-police sympathizer and Trump-supporter who is alleged of shooting and killing two protesters in Kenosha earlier this week. Some have connected Trump's rhetoric to the actions taken by the armed teen. 

Fact check: Trump hammers Biden on NAFTA support, which he said killed jobs. He's right.

President Trump used part of his speech Thursday night to hammer Joe Biden on his support of “catastrophic” trade deals he said bled U.S. jobs to other countries.

“Biden voted for the NAFTA disaster, the single worst trade deal ever enacted; he supported China's entry into the World Trade Organization, one of the greatest economic disasters of all time. After those Biden calamities, the United States lost 1 in 4 manufacturing jobs,” Trump said. 

This claim is true, although trade was not the only reason that U.S. companies shed these jobs.

Job losses resulting from NAFTA tend to be overstated — but one major study found that more than 850,000 jobs were displaced by the pact. 

Robert E. Scott of the pro-labor Economic Policy Institute found that about 851,700 U.S. jobs were displaced by the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico from 1993 (shortly before NAFTA was implemented) to 2014. (Other studies, however, have found the job losses to be far less.)

When it comes to normalizing trade relations with China — a status President George W. Bush formally granted in 2001 after China entered the World Trade Organization — U.S. job losses have been larger, according to studies.

The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service wrote in 2018, citing a 2014 study by the Economic Policy Institute, that “growth in the U.S. goods trade deficit with China between 2001 and 2013 eliminated or displaced 3.2 million U.S. jobs (three-fourths of which were in manufacturing).”

If you add the 851,700 figure with the 3.2 million figure, you would see a figure that approximates 4 million, which is roughly 25 percent of the estimated 17 million manufacturing jobs that existed in 1994.

Experts have pointed out, however, that technology and automation has likely had at least as much of an effect on these losses in manufacturing jobs, with many noting that the losses would have occurred (although possibly at lower rates) even without NAFTA.

Trump brags about COVID-19 success as cases near 6 million, over 180K deaths

Trump spent a portion of his speech praising his response to the coronavirus, which has received scant mentions during the RNC this week while attempting to paint a rosy picture of it being a thing of the past.

He claimed his administration has “pioneered” treatments and America “has among the lowest case fatality rates of any major country in the world.” COVID-19 has killed tens of thousands of Americans from the U.S. Virgin Islands to Guam to the continental United States.

It has claimed the lives of more than 180,000 people in the U.S. since the end of February and has neared 6 million cases, according to an NBC News tally.

Harris criticizes massive White House crowd

Trump overlooks record deportations of Obama-Biden administration

President Trump ridiculed Joe Biden for spending his entire career opening borders. But the Obama-Biden administration is often criticized by its own allies for record deportations of immigrants.

During their administration, immigration from Mexico was virtually zero as more Mexicans and their children left the U.S. than migrated to the country.

There were spikes in migrations of unaccompanied children and families under President Obama and Biden, but apprehensions of people at the border — a measure of migration levels used by the government — rose in fiscal 2019 to its highest annual level in 12 years, according to the Pew Research Center.

Fact check: No evidence for Trump's COVID-19 vaccine claim

“In recent months, our nation, and the entire planet, has been struck by a new and powerful invisible enemy. 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!” Trump claimed on Thursday night. 

This is largely false. The U.S. is still struggling to meet the challenge of the deadly coronavirus, which is still spreading rapidly and killing sometimes more than a thousand people a day while other countries have managed to reduce transmission and dramatically reduce deaths. The U.S. has a quarter of the globe's confirmed infections, despite having just 4.2 percent of the global population. Meanwhile, testing is limited and shortages of personal protective equipment persist six months after the first days of the pandemic.

The president boasts of lifesaving therapies, but critics argue there isn't enough evidence to back up this claim. One treatment, Remdesivir, has been shown to reduce deaths in severely ill patients with COVID-19. The U.S. recently approved the use of convalescent plasma for COVID-19, but without results from randomized clinical trials  — the gold standard of medical research — there’s no clear proof the plasma treatment saved lives. Studies have shown that the treatment is safe and other research suggests it holds promise for treating patients, though.

There is also no evidence that an effective vaccine will be delivered by the end of the year. There are four vaccines currently in clinical trials in the U.S, with the one from Moderna furthest along. But it’s impossible to know if these vaccines will prove effective. 

“Vaccines don’t always work,” one expert told NBC News earlier this year.

Trump mocks Biden giving blue-collar workers ‘hugs and even kisses’

Donald Trump won a round of laughs from his audience when he said Joe Biden, for nearly five decades, “took the donations of blue-collar workers, gave them hugs and even kisses, and told them he felt their pain — and then he flew back to Washington and voted to ship their jobs to China and many other distant lands.”

He took an extended pause after saying “kisses,” which was met with a round of laughs.

The reference was likely to accusations of inappropriate touching leveled against Biden throughout the years. Trump, meanwhile, has been accused by more than a dozen women of varying levels of misconduct.

Trump, with White House as literal backdrop, talks about its history as critics say he’s violating the law

Trump embedded references to the country’s past presidents, such as Lincoln, Grant and Eisenhower, and the work they did in the White House as he gives a speech from the People’s House.

“Gathered here at our beautiful and majestic White House — known all over the world as the People's House — we cannot help but marvel at the miracle that is our Great American Story,” Trump said. “This has been the home of larger-than-life figures like Teddy Roosevelt and Andrew Jackson who rallied Americans to bold visions of a bigger and brighter future. Within these walls lived tenacious generals like Presidents Grant and Eisenhower who led our soldiers in the cause of freedom.” 

Critics and ethics experts have routinely hammered the president for hosting a political convention — that included the performance of official duties — at the White House, which they say is a violation of federal law that prohibits government employees from participating in political activities. (The White House, which was built by slaves, has long been viewed as a nonpartisan space.) 

White House advisor Kellyanne Conway, who gave a speech, was excoriated by a government watchdog for repeatedly violating the federal law called the Hatch Act by engaging in partisan politics. Ivanka Trump, a senior aide, also gave a speech at the White House, raising similar issues.

Trump Cabinet members watch speech, mostly without masks

United States Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, United States Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and others watch a speech during the Republican National Convention from the South Lawn of the White House on Aug. 27, 2020.NBC News