Kamala Harris rebuts Republicans, assailing Trump for mishandling Covid-19
In a 20-minute speech in Washington, Harris assailed Trump’s leadership, criticizing him for ignoring the warning signs about the virus and prioritizing the stock market over the health of the American people.Updated: Aug 28, 2020, 03:22 IST
Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris criticized President Donald Trump for his handling of the coronavirus and sought to rebut the message Republicans have laid out this week at their party’s convention that the virus has been contained.
In a 20-minute speech in Washington, Harris assailed Trump’s leadership, criticizing him for ignoring the warning signs about the virus and prioritizing the stock market over the health of the American people.
“The Republican convention is designed for one purpose — to soothe Donald Trump’s ego,” Harris said. “To make him feel good. But it’s not supposed to be about him.”
She added: “It’s supposed to be about the health, safety and well being of the American people. And on that measure, Donald Trump has failed.”
Throughout the Republican National Convention, speakers have minimized the virus, referring to it only sporadically while it has disrupted everyday American life. Economic adviser Larry Kudlow referred to it in the past tense, saying, “It was awful. Health and economic impacts were tragic. Hardship and heartbreak were everywhere. But presidential leadership came swiftly and effectively with an extraordinary rescue for health and safety to successfully fight the Covid virus.”
But about 1,000 Americans are dying every day in the U.S. because of Covid-19, and Harris blamed the Trump administration.
“Donald Trump doesn’t have a plan,” she said. “He still doesn’t have a plan. Joe Biden released his first plan in March.”
Harris’s rebuke displayed the litigator skills Democrats were hoping she would bring to the ticket. Before her own presidential run, Harris bolstered her national profile as an incisive interrogator during high-profile congressional hearings. A former district attorney and attorney general of California, Harris often talked about wanting to “prosecute” the case against Trump during her presidential bid.
Harris also addressed the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot seven times in the back by a White police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Harris said she and Joe Biden spoke with the Blake family on Wednesday, praising them for their “extraordinary courage.”
“The life of a Black person in America has never been treated as fully human,” she said in promising a Biden administration would work to root out systemic racism.
The California Senator also expressed support for those protesting in Kenosha, but she was careful to distinguish the protests from the violence that has also broken out in recent days.
“We must always defend peaceful protest and peaceful protesters,” she said. “We should not confuse them with those looting and those committing acts of violence, including the shooter who was arrested for murder.”
She was referring to 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who has been charged in connection with a shooting that killed two and wounded one amid the protests.
Harris ignored a shouted question after her speech about whether she would visit Kenosha.