UFC President Dana White doubled down on his support for President Donald Trump in a five-minute video Thursday night during the Republican National Convention.
The Las Vegan, like he did in supporting Trump during the 2016 convention, detailed Trump’s tireless work ethic in advocating for his reelection. He praised Trump’s performance during his first term in the White House, especially with economic successes.
“Before the pandemic, Donald Trump built the greatest economy in our nation’s history and created opportunities for all Americans like no one before him,” White said.
White also touted Trump’s response to the pandemic, including the formation of a task force of business leaders that gathered in April to discuss ways to reopen the economy. White was part of the group, and his mixed martial arts league was the first to restart competition under enhanced COVID-19 safety protocols.
“He immediately put protective measures in place and he reached out to the best and the brightest leading American businesses of all industries to discuss what he and his administration could do to get the economy back up and running safely,” White said.
Trump’s critics disagree, saying he should have done more to limit the virus spread of the pandemic in March. The nonprofit Pew Charitable Trusts found that 65% of Americans thought Trump was too slow in taking major steps to address the pandemic.
He still isn’t taking the advice of experts who say wearing a mask is crucial to stopping the virus spread.
All week long, Republicans at the virtual convention tried to create the impression that the pandemic is largely a thing of the past. The rows of chairs on the South Lawn were inches apart. Protective masks were not required, and COVID-19 tests were not administered to everyone.
Teasing once more that a vaccine could arrive soon, the president promised victory over the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 175,000 people, left millions unemployed and rewritten the rules of society. And, in the setting for his speech, Trump sought to project a sense of normalcy by throwing caution about the coronavirus aside.
Staging the event at the White House raised the ire of some ethics watchdogs, as it may have run afoul of the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from engaging in political activities on the job. Trump officially accepted the party’s nomination to face Democrat Joe Biden in the November general election.
Trump’s speech lasted about an hour and hit on myriad topics including the pandemic response, his support for law enforcement and the economic successes of his first term.
Republicans throughout the week sought to cast Democratic nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden as a radical left candidate, often describing him or his policies as socialist. Trump followed that line of attack in his speech, calling Biden a “trojan horse” for the more left-wing members of his party.
In Nevada, Trump backers gathered at the Omelet House in Summerlin for a watch party.
Andy Matthews, the Republican candidate for Assembly District 37, said Trump’s speech drew a clear dichotomy between himself and a Democratic Party that “wants to tear this country down.”
“I think what you heard tonight was a great speech, one that made the stakes very clear for this November,” Matthews said.
Matthews said he grows “more confident every day” that voters will reject Democratic policies in the election.
Las Vegas Councilwoman Victoria Seaman, who was also a delegate for the convention, said she was “inspired” by Trump’s speech.
“I’m inspired by a president who loves our history, who loves our country and really has done more not just with his words, but his actions in less than four years than the career politicians have done in a lifetime,” Seaman said.
Ahead of Trump’s speech, the campaign’s Women for Trump bus tour made a stop at the event, after having visited similar events across the country.
“What we’re hearing is what we always hear. Voters know they have a fighter in President Trump,” said Erin Perrine, the director of press communications for the Trump campaign.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.