Donald Trump’s exhausting, 70-minute acceptance speech that brought the 2020 Republican National Convention to a close was supposed to fire up his base as the presidential election finally kicks off in earnest. But at one of Trump’s major areas of support — Fox News — people were left feeling a bit bored by the whole thing.
“Well, there certainly were impressive fireworks on the Mall, but I have to say I was surprised at the lack of fireworks in the president’s speech tonight. First of all, it was far too long. 70 minutes exactly and I felt at times that it felt like more of a State of the Union speech, like a campaign speech,” Chris Wallace said, though he did add some praise. “The president went through all of his accomplishments during his first term and they are a great number and they are considerable. And then as you say, he went after Joe Biden and he had some good lines.”
However, Wallace ultimate felt that Trump was “surprisingly flat and didn’t seem to have the bite that he usually does have in his speeches.” He also suggested that he found a key aesthetic element of the speech worrisome. “One other thing we have to note and that is the event itself, the fact there were 2,000 people were in close quarters on the South Lawn there with no, seemingly, very few of them masks, no social distancing, ignoring all of the public health recommendations. I expect that will get a lot of comments over the next few days.”
Wallace’s Fox News colleague Brit Hume largely agreed. “The speech was very, very long. I don’t know there are any speeches that are an hour and ten minutes uninterrupted by anything visual can work very well,” he said. “The book on speech making is that the attention span for someone that is speaking straight to you without any interruption by video or anything is about 13 minutes so an hour and ten minutes is pretty long.”
Hume said he does think Trump made his case to voters, but that during the speech Trump was “a little flat,” and “seemed to miss the excitement he generates in himself in his adlibbing.” Though Hume, despite saying more than once that the speech wasn’t that good, still said he thinks “packed more wallop than those we saw last week, it just did,” referring to speeches made during last week’s Democratic National Convention.
For some reason, Hume didn’t mention that during the DNC last week, Michelle Obama’s speech was lavishly praised by Fox news personalities, while Joe Biden’s speech was called “a home run” by Fox personality Dana Perino and even ex-George W. Bush Adviser Karl Rove said he liked it.
Speaking of Perino, she also said Trump’s speech “was very long,” though she did add that “he did seem to pick up in the back half in terms of energy.” And meanwhile Fox political analyst Juan Williams said he thinks Trump is a stronger speaker when he is “on the ad lib, being spontaneous,” but “that just didn’t happen for him tonight. I expected that there would be fireworks before that amazing show on the South Lawn. Those are by the way the best fireworks that a fireworks lover has ever seen. And I come down here on Fourth of July, I tell you. But that, it struck me more as a rerun you know, we’ve seen so many of those lines before and it just didn’t have the punch I expected. And even as someone who can be critical of the president I expected tonight to be a grand show, a grand speech and so I’m wondering what happened there.”
But Fox contributor Donna Brazile had the most glum assessment of Trump’s performance: “It was low energy. He was like stringing together the best of Donald Trump to try to make a song out of words that didn’t really go together.”
Watch the whole clip at the top of the page. And meanwhile, according to several observers, Trump’s speech was riddled with inaccuracies and unfactual assertions. Read more about why they say so here.