In their response to the third night of the Republican National Convention, Democrats slammed President Trump and the GOP for continuing to criticize the unrest and protests in cities across the country and tout the president’s “law and order” agenda.
Democrats aimed particular furor at the night's marquee speaker, Vice President Mike Pence, who himself went on the attack against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden – arguing that voters “won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America” while saying little about the recent number of deaths of Black Americans by police that have sparked widespread protests.
“Our nation is hurting. We need leadership that will heal our wounds, not continue to pour salt on them,” said Tom Perez, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. “Peaceful protest against police violence should not be met with more violence. And yet, that’s exactly what the president called for after the death of George Floyd.”
Many of the speakers during Wednesday’s program criticized the protests – and the subsequent looting and rioting – that occurred following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody and, more recently, the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis.
The cases of both Black men fueled allegations of police brutality and racial injustice, and protests have escalated into looting and violence in many places. Singling out cities like Portland and New York, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem opened the night by saying the cities were “overrun by violent mobs” and heaped blame on “Democrats and their radical supporters.”
“It took 244 years to build this great nation,” Noem said in a pre-recorded speech from the Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. “But we stand to lose it in a tiny fraction of that time if we continue down the path taken by the Democrats and their radical supporters.”
Noem added: “Democrat-run cities across this country are being overrun by violent mobs. The violence is rampant. There’s looting, chaos, destruction, and murder.”
The raging protests in Wisconsin this week are in response to the shooting of Blake, 29, who was shot in the back seven times on Sunday as he leaned into his SUV, with three of his children seated inside. Kenosha police have said little about what happened other than that they were responding to a domestic dispute, but state agents later recovered a knife from the driver’s side floorboard of the vehicle.
While Biden himself did not level any attacks against Trump or the GOP for the lack of response to the events in Wisconsin, but did tweet out a message in support of the NBA players who boycotted their playoffs games in response to the shooting.
“This moment demands moral leadership. And these players answered by standing up, speaking out, and using their platform for good,” Biden tweeted. “Now is not the time for silence.”
The tweet came after the NBA postponed three playoff games after the Milwaukee Bucks refused to take the court for their game following the shooting of Blake. The WNBA and Milwaukee Brewers quickly followed suit with their Wednesday games.
Along with hitting Trump and the GOP on their “law and order” platform, Democrats also continued to pounce on the administration for its response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“In vain attempts to distract voters from how deeply Trump has failed our country during the worst public health crisis in over 100 years, the Republican Convention has resorted to the same desperate smears, wild-eyed conspiracy theories and insidious misinformation about the coronavirus that has fallen flat with voters for months and months,” Andrew Bates, a spokesperson for Biden, told Fox News.
Bates added: “They’ve even tried talking about the pandemic in the past tense, all while Donald Trump still lacks any coherent plan for overcoming it. How could even the Death Star predicate their entire strategy on telling voters to forget what they are forced to endure every single day?”
Democrats have consistently sought to point out the lack of interest that Republican convention speakers have in addressing the ongoing pandemic and instead focusing on issues ranging from the economy to immigration to criminal justice.
One Biden campaign official said it was "conspicuous and telling that speaker after speaker barely even acknowledged the pandemic or its toll on the nation."
Fox News’ Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.