After Donald Trump “portrayed an America beset by violence and economic ruin” at the Republican National Convention four years ago and said he alone could fix it, as president, “he has not so much delivered us from these things as he has delivered these things to us,” the USA Today editorial board wrote on Friday.

When Trump spoke in 2016, the unemployment rate was under 5%. Today it is 10.2%. When he spoke in 2016, the nation had just been through an Ebola scare, which the Obama administration had handled with great skill and very little loss of life. Today, more than 180,000 Americans are dead from COVID-19, the highest toll of any nation and a number far higher than it would have been under more competent stewardship in Washington. When he spoke in 2016, the crime rate was quite low. Today, it is still low. But Trump is intent on using unrest in select cities to paint a picture of rampant lawlessness, asserting that "no one will be safe" in Joe Biden's America and that Democrats would "demolish" the suburbs.

  • The board wrote that the best thing Trump could have done when he took the stage to deliver his acceptance speech on Thursday was to tell the country, “I’m sorry.”
  • But Americans would hear nothing like an apology from the president, the editorial laments.
  • “Instead, Trump, inappropriately using the White House as backdrop for a political speech, and in front of a mostly maskless crowd that was not socially distanced, delivered a sometimes listless, sometimes blistering account that could have been titled: I alone am still the only one who can fix it,” the board wrote.
  • Trump did his best “to make the election a choice between two competing philosophies and to portray his opponent, Joe Biden, as a frightening menace to society.”
  • “This election will decide whether we save the American dream or whether we allow a socialist agenda to demolish our cherished destiny,” the president warned from the stage.
  • The editorial board noted that Biden’s agenda “could hardly be called radical, though it has been drifting left in recent years.”

Its most salient feature is a yearning for the world that existed before Trump tried to fix everything.

Read the full editorial.