U.S. Senator from California and 2020 Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris ripped into sitting President Donald Trump on Thursday to rebuke the 2020 Republican National Convention (RNC).
“The Republican convention is designed for one purpose — to soothe Donald Trump’s ego. To make him feel good. But here’s the thing, he’s the president of the United States. And it’s not supposed to be about him,” Harris said in a speech in Washington, D.C.
“It’s supposed to be about the health, and the safety, and the well-being of the American people,” she said. “And on that measure, Donald Trump has failed.”
Harris railed on Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 5.85 million people and killed 180,000 in the United States.
“It’s relentless. You can’t stop it with a tweet. You can’t create a distraction and hope it’ll go away. It doesn’t go away. By its nature, a pandemic is unforgiving,” she said. “If you get it wrong at the beginning, the consequences are catastrophic. It’s very hard to catch up…President Trump got it wrong in the beginning.”
Harris also addressed the Aug. 23 police shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, which has triggered consecutive days of protests that have grown chaotic and violent at times.
“The shots fired at Mr. Blake pierced the soul of our nation. It’s sickening to watch. It’s all too familiar. And it must end,” she said. “The reality is that the life of a Black person in America has never been treated as fully human and we have yet to fulfill that promise of equal justice under law.”
Harris noted that she and former U.S. Vice President and 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has spoken with the Blake family, while expressing support for peaceful protests against racial injustice and police brutality.
The remarks came hours before Trump is slated to accept the Republican Party’s nomination for reelection in a speech from the White House South Lawn.
Trump will “unload on” Biden and go after him on “everything from the economy to trade,” according to Politico, citing people familiar with the address.
Trump is also expected to address the shooting of Blake, which came some three months after George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
His death sparked weeks-long protests and social unrest across the United States and has led to a nationwide reckoning over police brutality and systemic racism.
The White House has beefed up security for Trump’s speech as protesters are expected to gather around the presidential residence on Thursday night.
The finale of the 2020 RNC, under the theme “Land of Greatness,” will also feature virtual speeches from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, former New York City mayor and Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, and the president’s daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump.