Analysis: RNC Condemned Anti-Racism Protesters, But Praised Police “As The Best Of Us”
The third night of the Republican National Convention continued to show an alternate reality, as it ignored one of the biggest stories in America: ongoing police brutality that is plaguing a nation of people who are begging, crying, screaming, marching, and dying for it to stop.
Night three of the Republican National Convention had a glaring omission: there was one direct reference to protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and several condemnations of anti-racism protesters—but Jacob Blake’s name was not mentioned once. Or Breonna Taylor’s. Or Elijah McClain’s. Or George Floyd’s. Or anyone whose death or injury at the hands of police has inspired a months-long wave of anti-racism protests across the nation.
Also missing from the RNC was the news that a 17-year-old armed white suspect drove over state lines from Illinois to Wisconsin and shot and killed two people with an AR-15-style rifle, and injured another. The suspect was arrested Wednesday and charged with first-degree intentional homicide, but you wouldn’t know that from watching the RNC.
Just hours before the RNC’s third night kicked off, the NBA, WNBA, and MLB boycotted games because of ongoing unrest in Kenosha and systemic police brutality. During the primetime convention speeches, reports emerged that NBA teams may cancel the rest of the season entirely. But there was no acknowledgment of this by GOP speakers.
Instead, they continued to peddle false claims, like that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is a socialist who wants to defund the police (but he’s not, and he doesn’t).
Vice President Mike Pence, who officially accepted his renomination as VP in the keynote speech Wednesday night, said, “Last week, Joe Biden didn’t say one word about the violence and chaos engulfing cities across this country. Let me be clear: the violence must stop — whether in Minneapolis, Portland, or Kenosha.”
In fact, Biden and DNC speakers focused heavily on the issue of systemic racism and support for the Black Lives Matter movement as an explicit theme for the week.
Pence went on to say, “Too many heroes have died defending our freedoms to see Americans strike each other down. We will have law and order on the streets of America.”
Pence did not mention the American who killed other Americans in Kenosha on Tuesday night.
He did, however, mention Dave Patrick Underwood, a Dept. of Homeland Security officer, who was killed by a far-right extremist. But for those who listened to Pence’s telling of it, they would believe that Underwood was “shot and killed during the riots in Oakland.”
How many Americans watching Pence’s speech, who only know that Dave Patrick Underwood was “killed during the riots in Oakland,” realize that he wasn’t killed by protesters, but by a far-right extremist?— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) August 27, 2020
“America will never forget Dave Patrick Underwood and his service and sacrifice to this nation,” Pence said to Underwood’s sister, Angela, who was in attendance at his speech. And yet Pence appeared to forget (or more likely, intentionally omit) that Underwood’s death came at the hands of a member of the Boogaloo movement, a far-right, anti-government extremist movement.
Mike Pence mentioned that a cop was killed during protests in Oakland.— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) August 27, 2020
He didn't mention he was killed by a far-right militiaman who implored a Boogaloo Facebook group to undermine BLM protests and "Use their anger to fuel our fire."https://t.co/osiKodCAPE
Tim Miller, a former staffer for Jeb Bush and the political director of a group called Republican Voters Against Trump, said on Wednesday night’s NowThis livestream commentary that he was “blown away by the David Underwood deal.”
“He was killed by a Boogaloo in a drive by shooting,” Miller said.
Other NowThis guest commentators chimed in on the stream: “That [Republicans] cannot even bring themselves to acknowledge the death of Black people at the hands of law enforcement and offer a single idea about how to address this devastation and collective trauma is… depressing and pathetic,” said Adrianne Shropshire, the executive director of BlackPAC, an independent group focused on Black voters.
“There are multiple catastrophes unfolding continually in the country and you would never know other than a few moments where the speakers decide to ‘look stern’ for a moment,” said Daniel Nichanian, editor of The Appeal.
Pence says the violence "must stop" in Kenosha and elsewhere, and calls for "law and order." He mentions slain officer Dave Patrick Underwood.— Kathryn Watson (@kathrynw5) August 27, 2020
He discusses supporting Black communities. He does not mention Jacob Blake, or any other Black Americans hurt or killed by police.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) claimed in her speech Wednesday night that “leftists try to turn [police] into villains. They try to ‘cancel’ them.” The official Democratic Party platform does not include defunding or abolishing police.
Earlier on Wednesday, it was reported that Pence would address the violent events of Tuesday night in Kenosha, but he evidently backtracked on that.
It’s not just that Pence other high-profile speakers failed to mention Blake, Taylor, or Floyd Wednesday night. It’s that the omissions also came after the RNC featured on Monday the St. Louis couple who waved their guns at peaceful BLM protesters—and were charged with a felony crime for doing so.
Nothing random about the murders in Kenosha. You don’t get a white 17 year old killing protestors w/ an AR-15 w/out the President first vilifying protestors, a gun lobby that has cowed Congress into allowing the sale of weapons of war, & a racism stoked by Trump & his enablers.— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) August 26, 2020
Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot multiple times in the back by Kenosha police when getting into his car, where his children were inside. Blake was there to try and break up a fight, according to family attorney Benjamin Crump.
Despite Pence’s claims, Biden on Wednesday released a video directly addressing the police shooting of Blake:
Once again, a Black man — Jacob Blake — was shot by the police. In front of his children. It makes me sick.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 26, 2020
Is this the country we want to be?
Needless violence won’t heal us. We need to end the violence — and peacefully come together to demand justice. pic.twitter.com/WdNqrxA3PK
Blake is paralyzed from the waist down, according to attorney Crump. At a press conference Tuesday, Blake’s father, Jacob Blake, Sr., said, "They shot my son seven times. Seven times. Like he didn't matter. But my son matters."
At the same press conference, Blake’s sister said to the public: “I don’t want your pity. I want change.”