The Hill’s Convention Report: Trump to attack Biden at final night of convention | Speech comes amid hurricane, racial justice protests | Biden accuses Trump of ‘rooting’ for violence
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We’re Julia Manchester, Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley. Here’s what we’re watching today on the convention front.
LEADING THE DAY:
President Trump will go on the attack tonight against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in a speech that will cast his rival as a failed Washington lifer and “Trojan horse” for the radical left.
Trump campaign aides told The Hill today that the president is frustrated by what he views as the media “ignoring or glossing over” Biden’s record. The president believes the best way to draw Biden into the mix is to use his convention speech to go after him.
An excerpt from Trump’s prepared remarks:
“We have spent the last four years reversing the damage Joe Biden inflicted over the last 47 years. At the Democrat convention, you barely heard a word about their agenda. But that’s not because they don’t have one. It’s because their agenda is the most extreme set of proposals ever put forward by a major party nominee.” – Trump
The convention address comes as a massive hurricane is bearing down on the Gulf Coast and amid violent protests in Kenosha, Wis., over the police shooting of a Black man.
The president will talk about his administration’s preparations for Hurricane Laura.
It’s unclear whether Trump will mention Jacob Blake, who remains hospitalized after being shot in the back by the police. But Trump will mention the unrest in Kenosha as part of an effort to draw attention to what he believes are the destructive elements of the racial justice protests.
Kenosha has been wracked by protests and NBA teams, led by the Milwaukee Bucks, postponed playoff games to protest the police shooting. Trump on Thursday called the NBA a “political organization.”
The president has not addressed the arrest of a young man, who appears to be a Trump supporter, following his arrest in connection with the shooting of three people, killing two and wounding one, at demonstrations on Tuesday night.
Biden on Thursday accused Trump of “rooting for more violence,” saying he thinks the president believes it will benefit his reelection effort to be able to cast himself as the law-and-order candidate.
“He’s rooting for more violence, not less. And he’s clear about that. And what’s he doing, he’s pouring more gasoline on the fire.” – Biden
Other speakers on the docket for tonight:
- Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), a potential 2024 GOP presidential contender
- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, a 2016 presidential candidate
- Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a close confidant of Trump’s
- Ann Dorn, the wife of police officer David Dorn who was killed amid protests in St. Louis; criminal justice reform advocate Alice Johnson, who had her prison sentence commuted by Trump; and Carl and Martha Mueller, whose daughter was captured and murdered by ISIS
Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris delivered a blistering prebuttal of Trump’s convention speech, saying he has failed at responding to the multiple crises facing the nation.
- Harris hit the convention, saying its sole purpose was to “soothe Donald Trump’s ego”
- On the coronavirus pandemic, Harris said Trump does not have a plan and that the results of this have been “catastrophic”
- She also addressed the shooting of Jacob Blake and the subsequent protests: “People are rightfully angry and exhausted and after the murders of Breonna [Taylor] and George [Floyd], and so many others, it’s no wonder that people have taken to the streets, and I support them”
Biden and Harris had largely remained quiet in terms of interviews and speeches during the week of the GOP convention. However, the two were out in force Thursday, with Harris addressing voters in D.C. and Biden making the rounds on cable news.
Biden said he would “consider” going to Wisconsin amid the unrest.
“I want to make sure that it’s able to be done safely,” he said. “If I were president, I’d be going.”
“If I went, what I’d be doing is try to pull together the Black community, as well as the white community, and sit down and talk and talk about how we get through this,” he added.
Biden also responded to remarks from former football coach Lou Holtz, saying he was a Catholic in name only.
“I’m a practicing Catholic. I’ve been a practicing Catholic my whole life,” Biden said. “My private beliefs relative to how I deal with the church doctrine is different than me imposing that doctrine on every other person in the world”
DEBATE ABOUT DEBATES:
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sparked an uproar on Thursday after she said Biden shouldn’t debate Trump.
“I don’t think that there should be any debates. I do not think that the president of the United States has comported himself in a way that anybody has any association with truth, evidence, data and facts.” – Pelosi
Biden put an end to the discussion shortly after in an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell.
“As long as the commission continues down the straight and narrow as they have, I’m going to debate him. I’m going to be a fact checker on the floor.” – Biden
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