Sen. Harris said that victims of police violence would have a voice in a Biden-Harris administration, in stark contrast to Trump’s silence on everything from police brutality to the toll of the pandemic.
Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris said Donald Trump “failed at the most basic and important job of a President of the United States,” and called his response to the coronavirus pandemic a “reckless disregard for the American people” in a speech delivered on Thursday.
Harris spoke from George Washington University’s campus, just a stone’s throw away from the White House South Lawn, where President Trump is expected to formally accept the GOP’s presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention a few hours later. This marks her first solo appearance as the Democratic vice presidential nominee since the Democratic National Convention.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his campaign have planned a series of rebuttals to air just before Trump is scheduled to deliver his speech. His remarks will conclude the four-night long Republican convention.
Harris commented on a wide range of issues—the president’s time in office, his mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the police shooting of Jacob Blake, and the ongoing civil unrest following acts of police brutality.
“He failed to protect the American people plain and simple” she said of President Trump, while calling Trump’s handling of the pandemic a “reckless disregard for the American people.” Her comments were in stark contrast to the narrative being told at the Republican National Convention, where the human and economic toll of COVID-19 have been mentioned only a few times.
Harris, the nation’s first Black and South Asian woman to be nominated for vice president, pivoted to address the large-scale issue of police brutality and systemic violence against Black communities in the US. She called the video footage of a police officer shooting Jacob Blake “sickening to watch.”
“Jacob Blake shot seven times in the back,” she added. “As Vice President Biden put it, the shots fired at Mr. Blake pierced the soul of our nation..”
Harris revealed that both she and Biden spoke to Blake’s family on Wednesday and expressed her support for “peaceful protests and peaceful protesters.” She encouraged those watching to not confuse these demonstrations with looting or acts of violence.
“And make no mistake, we will not let these vigilantes and extremists derail the path to justice,” she added. “Here’s my promise to those mothers and fathers and all who stand with them—in a Biden-Harris administration you will have a seat at the table, in the halls of Congress, and in the White House.”
Harris noted that the United States will never reach the promise of equality under the law without addressing police reform.
“We have come a long way in our country toward building a more perfect union but the time is now—right now—to take the next step forward,” the vice presidential nominee said.
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Throughout the Republican National Convention, speakers repeatedly called for law and order, and drew attention to the ongoing protests against police brutality. So far, Trump has not addressed the police shooting of Jacob Blake on August 23 that left the 29-year-old partially paralyzed. Following the shooting, there have been large protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where the shooting took place. RNC speakers also noticeably glossed over any mention of President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed 180,000 Americanss so far.
The Biden campaign will also air a new two-minute ad on television networks ahead of Trump’s convention speech. The ad will mainly feature the Democratic presidential nominee’s career accomplishments and biography while simultaneously lambasting Trump’s failures since he assumed office.
“America is an idea, an idea stronger than any army more powerful than any dictator or tyrant,” Biden says in the ad airing Thursday evening. “And it’s an idea as alive and powerful today as it was when it was first proposed.
Watch the full speech below: