On night two of the Republican National Convention, Democrats tore into President Trump for his response to the coronavirus pandemic – highlighting the record number of jobs lost amid the outbreak and accusing Trump of directing federal funds to major corporations instead of American workers.
While many of the speakers at the convention generally avoided addressing the pandemic on Tuesday – focusing instead on issues ranging from abortion to immigration to the economy – Democrats have made the virus front and center in their reactions to convention.
“More than 16 million Americans are out of work — that’s one in ten workers,” the party tweeted Tuesday evening. “Instead of providing relief, Trump and the GOP have delayed relief and continue to push for eliminating health coverage for 20 million Americans.”
Democrats added in another tweet that “[a]s American families struggled to retain employment and stay safe during this pandemic, Trump directed aid to big corporations. This president isn’t looking out for American families — he only cares about the wealthiest 1%.”
According to the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, a number of major corporations with a market capitalization of more than $25 million and more than 600 employees did receive loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses worth $10 million or more.
“President Trump’s RNC is an alternate reality,” Biden spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield said in a statement after the second night of convention proceedings ended.
“In this delusion, thousands of Americans didn’t die in the last week from COVID-19, nor have millions of Americans been infected or put out of work," she said. "Our economy hasn’t ground to a halt and our kids aren’t being kept home from school. Donald Trump’s continual refusal to take this virus seriously has given the United States the worst outbreak in the world, and his convention’s refusal to come to grips with reality or acknowledge the magnitude of the loss is a stark reminder to Americans of his complete failure to lead.”
While most speakers at the RNC on Tuesday shied away from addressing the pandemic, one notable exception was first lady Melania Trump, who in the final address of the evening said she has “been moved in the way Americans have come together in such an unfamiliar and frightening situation.”
Saying she did not want did not want to get into partisan infighting, she instead talked about “the beautiful side of humanity” she has observed in the wake of natural disasters around the country, noting that a common thread “is the unwavering resolve to help one another.”
Despite the first lady’s more optimistic tone to close night two of the RNC, Democrats hit the GOP once again for sowing “fear and division” during the convention.
“The GOP promised optimism, but like the past four years of Trump’s leadership, they delivered nothing but fear and division,” the party tweeted. “We need a president that will put an end to this darkness and unite our country.”
Tom Perez, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, attacked the Trump administration for its hardline policies toward illegal immigration shortly after a segment of the convention highlighting legal immigration that featured Trump carrying out a naturalization ceremony at the White House.
“Trump has separated families, put kids in cages, attacked DACA, and paints immigrants as criminals while thousands of families wait on the border for asylum,” Perez tweeted. “He continually attacks immigrants, and no convention stunt will change that.”
Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, went after the RNC’s pro-life agenda following a speech by Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood director and "employee of the year” who has come out against abortion and endorsed Trump.
“As states across our nation continue to attack reproductive rights, especially abortion, it’s more important than ever we have a president who will defend and expand these rights,” she tweeted. “As president, [Joe Biden] will codify Roe v. Wade and protect the constitutional right to choose.”
During her speech, Johnson described graphically how she saw "an unborn baby fighting back" against an ultrasound-guided abortion.
"Nothing prepared me for what I saw on the screen – an unborn baby fighting back, desperate to move away from the suction … The last thing I saw was a spine twirling around in the mother’s womb before succumbing to the force of the suction," she said.
Fox News’ Sam Dorman contributed to this report.