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Democrats deploy Harris in hopes of upstaging Trump’s convention finale

President Donald Trump speaks during a Cabinet Meeting in the East Room of the White House, Tuesday, May 19, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump will close out his party’s national convention tonight by basking in the Republican limelight — but one of his Democrat rivals hopes to spoil the celebration.

Sen. Kamala Harris, Joe Biden’s running mate, is set to speak this afternoon in Washington, aiming to pre-empt the president’s formal acceptance of his party’s nomination.

Harris is the least of the many distractions threatening to pull focus away from Trump’s big moment.

Hurricane Laura roared ashore in Louisiana overnight as a category-4 storm, while protesters again took to the streets in the Wisconsin city of Kenosha in the name of Jacob Blake, a Black father of three who was shot seven times in the back by police.

There, authorities also say a 17-year-old gunman who admired police killed two demonstrators and injured a third — shootings captured on video posted online.

On Wednesday, as he accepted the Republican nomination for vice-president, Mike Pence leaned into the civil unrest raging in Kenosha, declaring that only Trump can restore “law and order” across the U.S.

Throughout the week, the Republicans have sought to depict Biden as a doddering Democratic puppet of the “radical left” whose party would be powerless to re-establish calm on American streets.

“President 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 and those who do so will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Pence said.

“Too many heroes have died defending our freedom to see Americans strike each other down. We will have law and order on the streets of this country for every American, of every race and creed and colour.”

Pence made no mention of Blake by name — a distinction Democrats were only too happy to make after Harris and Biden spoke to his family members Wednesday.

Harris confirmed the news of her coming speech in a videoconference with Michigan members of Congress, her first solo event as the vice-presidential nominee, where she described “two systems of justice in America” and accused Republicans of seeking to suppress the Black vote.

“We need to fight … for the ideal that says all people are supposed to be treated equally, which is still not happening.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 27, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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