Pence Says Trump Has 'Certainly Kept Things Interesting' Before President Drops in on RNC Speech
Accepting his party's nomination for the second time, Vice President Mike Pence wrapped up a speech rallying Republican supporters against Joe Biden on Wednesday night before President Donald Trump made an unannounced appearance with his wife and the country singer Trace Adkins.
"He does things his own way, on his own terms," Pence, 61, said outside Fort McHenry in Maryland during his Republican National Convention speech, in which he voiced his support for his running mate's provocative leadership.
"He's certainly kept things interesting," Pence said, before Trump later appeared to end the third night of the convention.
Pence sang a different kind of patriotic tune during his acceptance speech, proclaiming that "we will have law and order on the streets of America," in clear reference to ongoing protests against racial injustice and other unrest touched off by the May 25 killing of George Floyd.
While many demonstrations have been peaceful, some have spasmed into violence and destruction, which conservatives have pinned on Democratic politicians like Biden — though Biden has also spoken out against rioting.
"Let me be clear: The violence must stop, whether in Minneapolis, Portland or Kenosha," Pence said Wednesday.
The vice president repeatedly thanked police during his speech and at one point paused his nearly 40-minute address to honor an officer who was fatally shot while working.
Pence did not mention Floyd's name or any other Black people shot or killed by police in recent months — such as Breonna Taylor or Jacob Blake, who was filmed being shot in the back by an officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sunday, leaving him partially paralyzed.
“The American people know we don’t have to choose between supporting law enforcement and standing with our African-American neighbors to improve the quality of their lives, education, jobs and safety,” he said.
Before the president's surprise appearance — which had been teased only in that the RNC said he would have involvement in every night of the convention — the vice president's speech aimed at defending the administration's track record while contrasting Trump's politics with Biden.
However, Pence repeated a number of falsehoods about the Democratic nominee that have already been widely debunked — including his stance on immigration and police reform — while claiming Biden would be "nothing more than a trojan horse for the radical left." (Biden has long been criticized within the Democratic Party's more liberal wing for being too moderate.)
Elsewhere, Pence celebrated Trump's much scrutinized response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Trump's critics say the president and his executive branch staff — including Pence, the leader of the government's coronavirus task force — have failed to protect U.S. from the respiratory illness, which also led to the worst economic fallout since the Great Depression as much of the country instituted shutdowns to slow infections.
At the time of Pence's speech, at least 179,519 people have died from the COVID-19 illness in the U.S., according to a New York Times tracker.
But Pence told supporters "the choice is clear" in November.
“Last week, Joe Biden said democracy is on the ballot, but the truth is, our economic recovery is on the ballot, law and order are on the ballot. But so are things far more fundamental and foundational to our country,” Pence told the crowd of about 100 supporters, including his mother, Nancy, whom he stopped to thank.
“It’s not so much whether America will be more conservative or more liberal, more Republican or more Democrat," Pence said. "The choice in this election is whether America remains 'America.' ”