The Slatest

Here Is How RNC Speakers Addressed Two of the Most Pressing Issues in America Today

Mike Pence stands at a podium, with American flags behind him
“We made America great again,” Mike Pence said on the third night of the Republican convention. Saul Loeb/Getty Images

On the third night of the Republican National Convention—as protests against police violence and racism continued across the country in the aftermath of the shooting of Jacob Blake, and as a pandemic continues to cripple the country—the bulk of the speeches stuck to vague themes of patriotism, warm stories about Donald Trump, warnings about socialism, and less urgent policy issues like the convention favorite, school choice.* But there were some mentions of the nation’s two major, ongoing struggles—a few of them explicit, many of them indirect or coded—and we’ve gathered them here. (Some of the night’s speeches were prerecorded, before the most recent developments in Kenosha, Wisconsin, which is presumably why another major story, Hurricane Laura, was barely mentioned.)

Kristi Noem, governor of South Dakota, invoking an Abraham Lincoln quote about “worse than savage mobs” to describe what she sees as chaos in the streets:

It took 244 years to build this great nation—flaws and all—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. From Seattle and Portland to Washington and New York, Democrat-run cities across this country are being overrun by violent mobs. The violence is rampant. There’s looting, chaos, destruction, and murder. People that can afford to flee have fled. But the people that can’t—good, hardworking Americans—are left to fend for themselves.

Marsha Blackburn, senator from Tennessee, on the Democrats’ shared values with Communist China (and the pandemic caused by Communist China):

America is a nation of heroes. … The emergency room nurses who go back shift after shift. The medical researchers developing a vaccine and therapies to combat what the Chinese Communist regime unleashed on the world. The Double Springs Church of Christ members, lifting our country up in prayer and providing for those impacted.

Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and their radical allies try to destroy these heroes, because if there are no heroes to inspire us, government can control us. They close our churches, but keep the liquor stores and abortion clinics open. They say we can’t gather in groups at church, but encourage protests, riots, and looting in the streets. If the Democrats had their way, they would keep you locked in your house until you become dependent on the government for everything. That sounds a lot like Communist China to me. Maybe that’s why Joe Biden is so soft on them.

Dan Crenshaw, a congressman from Texas, on heroism:

But America’s heroism is not relegated to the battlefield. Every single day we see them, if you just know where to look. It’s the nurse who volunteers for back-to-back shifts caring for COVID patients because she feels that’s her duty. It’s the parent who will relearn algebra because there’s no way they’re letting their kid fall behind while schools are closed. It’s the cop that gets spit on one day and will save a child’s life the next.

Kellyanne Conway, soon-to-be former senior adviser to the president, also on heroism:

These everyday heroes have a champion in President Trump. The teacher who took the extra time to help students adjust to months of virtual learning. The nurse who finished a 12-hour shift and then took a brief break only to change her mask, gown, and gloves to do it all over again. The small-business owner striving to reopen after the lockdown was lifted, and then again after her store was vandalized and looted.

Michael McHale, president of the National Association of Police Organizations, on (again) chaos in the streets:

Unfortunately, chaos results when elected officials in cities like Portland, Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York make the conscious and very public decision not to support law enforcement. Shootings, murders, looting, and rioting occur unabated. The violence we are seeing in these and other cities isn’t happening by chance; it’s the direct result of elected leaders refusing to allow law enforcement to protect our communities.

Lee Zeldin, congressman from New York, on the president’s swift and masterful response to the pandemic. And also heroes:

So when my hometown Suffolk County executive told me late one Saturday night in April that the county’s stockpile of PPE was depleted because of COVID-19, I immediately thought of our doctors and nurses. Jared Kushner was on the phone with me right away and late into that night, wanting to help however possible. The very next day, President Trump announced he was immediately sending 200,000 N95 masks to Suffolk. It actually ended up being almost 400,000.

The president’s phenomenal effort delivered for our front-line workers. In the midst of a once-in-a-century pandemic—an unforeseeable crisis sent to us from a faraway land—the president delivered for our everyday heroes.

Burgess Owens, a former NFL player and a House candidate in Utah, on the civil unrest and with an interesting take on World War II history:

This November, we stand at a crossroads. Mobs torch our cities while popular members of Congress promote the same socialism my father fought against in World War II. 

Richard Grenell, former acting director of national intelligence, on the left-wing media:

Today, the Democrats blame a global pandemic that started in China on President Trump. And they still blame Russia for Hillary Clinton’s loss in 2016.

Mike Pence, vice president of the United States, on the pandemic (from China) and miracles:

We made America great again. And then the coronavirus struck from China. Before the first case of coronavirus spread within the United States, President Trump took the unprecedented step of suspending all travel from China. That action saved an untold number of American lives and bought us time to launch the greatest national mobilization since World War II.

As we speak we’re developing a growing number of treatments, including convalescent plasma, that are saving lives all across the country. Last week, Joe Biden said “no miracle is coming.” What Joe doesn’t seem to understand is that America is a nation of miracles, and we’re on track to have the world’s first safe, effective coronavirus vaccine by the end of this year.

Mike Pence on the protests:

My fellow Americans, we are passing through a time of testing. For in the midst of this global pandemic, just as our nation has begun to recover, we’ve seen violence and chaos in the streets of our major cities.

President Donald Trump and I will always support the right of Americans to peaceful protest, but rioting and looting is not peaceful protest, tearing down statues is not free speech. Those who do so will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. 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. 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.

Correction, Aug. 27, 2020: This post originally misstated that Jacob Blake was killed. He was shot but not killed.