During the first night of the 2020 Republican National Convention, California businesswoman Natalie Harp compared President Donald Trump to George Bailey, the character James Stewart played in It's A Wonderful Life. Kelly Stewart Harcourt, Stewart's daughter, called the comparison the "height of hypocrisy." In her speech Monday night, Harp credited the "Right To Try" law supported by Trump with saving her life.
Harcourt responded to Harp's speech in a letter to the New York Times editor, published on Wednesday. "In her speech at the G.O.P. convention Monday night, Natalie Harp, a cancer survivor, made reference to the film It’s a Wonderful Life, comparing Donald Trump to George Bailey, the main character in the film, played by my father, Jimmy Stewart," Harcourt wrote. "Given that this beloved American classic is about decency, compassion, sacrifice and a fight against corruption, our family considers Ms. Harp’s analogy to be the height of hypocrisy and dishonesty."
Harp made the Stewart comparison at the start of her speech. According to Harp, we would "all be living" in Pottersville, the twisted version of Bedford Falls seen in the 1946 classic after George Bailey wished he was dead. "Tonight, Mr. President, we’d like to give you that same gift, because without you, we’d all be living in Pottersville, sold out to a crooked mister, or I should say a crooked Mrs. Potter with no hope of escape except death itself," she said. "I should know because I wouldn’t be alive today if it wasn’t for you."
Harp continued to compare Trump to the fictional character later on in her speech and even quoted the film's title again. "George Bailey’s father was right," she said. "All you can take with you is that what you’ve given away, and Mr. President, that makes you the richest man in the world for you have used your strength to make America strong again, sacrificed the life you built to make America proud again, and you risked everything to make America safe again. It’s a wonderful life."
Harp has repeatedly credited the "Right to Try" Law, which Trump signed in May 2018, with saving her life. She was diagnosed with Stage 2 bone cancer and said she "failed the chemotherapies" on the market. She said she received "an FDA-approved immunotherapy drug for an unapproved use," but The Washington Post reports that the drug was already approved for that use. It would not have been covered by Right to Try. Two months before Trump signed the law, Harp was speaking out online about receiving the new treatment. Harp is a Liberty University graduate and a member of Trump's campaign advisory board.