Kamala Harris added her voice to the effort by Democrats to rebut Donald Trump’s expected attacks in his acceptance speech on Thursday, as she blasted the Republican Convention week as an exercise in trying to give the president an ego stroke.
“Unlike the Democratic convention, which was very clear eyed about the challenges we are facing and how we will tackle them, the Republican convention is designed for one purpose, to soothe Donald Trump’s ego, to make him feel good,” she said in a speech from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. “But here’s the thing. He’s the president of the United States, and it is not supposed to be about him.”
Her speech, along with appearances by Joe Biden on MSNBC and CNN on Thursday, appeared to be an effort to blunt Trump’s attacks on Democrats, particularly on the issue of law and order. Trump has criticized local Democratic leaders as ineffective in controlling unrest in major cities, the latest in Kenosha, WI following a police officer’s shooting of Jacob Blake.
In her speech, Harris said that people are “rightfully angry and exhausted,” and said that it is “no wonder people are taking to the streets, and I support them.”
But she also condemned violence that has broken out during protests. On Wednesday, police arrested Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, and he faces a charge of first degree intentional homicide for shootings that left two people dead and one injured. Reports indicate that he identified with Blue Lives Matter in support of the police and attended a Trump rally earlier this year.
“We must also defend peaceful protests and peaceful protesters,” she said. “We should not confuse them with those looting and committing acts of violence, including the shooter, who was arrested for murder. Make no mistake, we will not let these vigilantes and extremists derail the path to justice.”
Kellyanne Conway, adviser to Trump, told reporters earlier on Thursday that the White House is not responsible for the private conduct of participants at Trump’s campaign rallies.
In her speech, Harris also faulted the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus, as well as the president’s plan to cut the payroll tax, which funds Social Security.