GOP sticks to convention message amid uproar over Blake shooting
Republicans stuck closely to their message during the third night of the GOP national convention, even amid a national uproar over the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.
Back-to-back speakers stuck to familiar party talking points, tipping their hand to “cancel culture,” warning about “violent mobs” and knocking Democrats on abortion at a time when the country is being rocked by another police shooting of a Black American, the Gulf Coast is bracing for a catastrophic hurricane, coronavirus cases continue to climb and California battles wildfires.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) helped set the tone for Wednesday’s theme, warning in the first speech of the night that “our founding principles are under attack.”
“From Seattle and Portland to Washington and New York, Democrat-run cities across this country are being overrun by violent mobs. The violence is rampant. There’s looting, chaos, destruction and murder,” she added.
Remarks from Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R), delivered from his home state of Texas, focused on the country’s “heroes,” while Michael McHale, the president of the National Association of Police Organizations, warned of “chaos” across American cities.
“The violence and bloodshed we are seeing in these and other cities isn’t happening by chance; it’s the direct result of refusing to allow law enforcement to protect our communities. Joe Biden has turned his candidacy over to the far-left, anti-law enforcement radicals,” he said.
And Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who has been a vocal defender of the president, warned that Democrats were trying to “cancel our heroes.”
“I’m talking about the heroes of our law enforcement and armed services. Leftists try to turn them into villains. They want to ‘cancel’ them. But I’m here to tell you these heroes can’t be canceled,” she said.
Blackburn argued that Biden, his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and “their radical allies try to destroy these heroes because if there are no heroes to inspire us, government can control us.”
The talk of “mobs,” in an apparent reference to rolling protests in recent months around the country, and support for law enforcement comes as the country is grappling with the latest police-involved shooting of a Black American.
Kenosha, Wis., has been rocked by days of protests that have at times turned violent following the police shooting of Blake, who was shot multiple times at close range Sunday in an incident captured on video. Blake underwent surgery Tuesday, and a lawyer representing his family said Blake is now paralyzed from the waist down. Blake’s family said it is launching a civil suit against the Kenosha Police Department.
The shooting reverberated beyond Wisconsin. NBA playoff games scheduled for Wednesday were postponed after the Milwaukee Bucks announced they were boycotting their playoff game that day against the Orlando Magic to protest Blake’s shooting.
The shooting comes after a summer rocked by protests, and at times riots, following several police shootings, including of George Floyd in Minnesota and of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, that have reignited a national debate over ending racial injustice and police violence.
The first two nights of the GOP convention have included a number of Black voices touting Trump, including Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron.
But the feel-good tone has been at odds with another major theme — police under attack, Democratic cities on fire and suburbs facing an existential threat — that was a key focus on Wednesday night. The evening’s rhetoric, aimed at firing up Trump’s base, comes as polls show Biden has a significant lead with Black voters.
Multiple speakers on Wednesday also touted Trump as being anti-abortion, another key issue for the GOP base.
“President Trump will stand up against Biden-Harris, who are the most anti-life presidential ticket ever, even supporting the horrors of late-term abortion and infanticide,” Sister DeDe Byrne, a surgeon and member of the Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary religious order.