During the Republican National Convention on Wednesday night, Vice President Mike Pence criticized civil unrest in cities, warned about Hurricane Laura and made the case for four more years of the Trump administration.
Pence was delivering the evening’s keynote address from Fort McHenry, where Americans defended Baltimore Harbor from the British in the War of 1812 and inspired the national anthem.
In his speech to the RNC, Pence denounced violence in American streets but did not acknowledge the Black people who have been injured or killed by law enforcement. He brought up the violence that has erupted in Kenosha, Wisconsin, following the shooting by police of Jacob Blake.
Blake was shot in the back seven times on Sunday as he leaned into his SUV, three of his children seated inside. His family says he is paralyzed from the waist down.
A white 17-year-old police admirer was arrested earlier Wednesday on suspicion of first-degree intentional homicide after two people were shot to death during a third straight night of protests in Kenosha over Blake’s shooting.
Pence, accepting the GOP nomination for vice president, said, “The violence must stop, whether in Minneapolis, Portland or Kenosha.”
He added, “We will have law and order on the streets of this country for every American of every race and creed and color.”
As Hurricane Laura threatened the Texas and Louisiana coast, Pence said people in the path the storm should heed warnings about its strength, and he pledged the administration’s help.
“Stay safe and know that we’ll be with you every step of the way,” he said.
It was not clear until just before he took the stage that he would address the looming Category 4 hurricane.
The strengthening storm menaced the two states along the Gulf Coast, raising fears of a 20-foot (6-meter) storm surge that forecasters said would be “unsurvivable.” Authorities implored coastal residents of Texas and Louisiana to evacuate, but not everyone did before winds began buffeting trees back and forth.
Trump made a surprise appearance at the Fort McHenry following Pence’s speech.
The president, first lady, Pence and Pence’s wife, second lady Karen Pence, stood on-stage with their hands over their hearts as country music star Trace Adkins performed “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which Francis Scott Key was inspired to write as Americans protected the fort in the War of 1812.
Trump didn’t make any comments at the podium, but after the national anthem, he and the first lady greeted people in the audience, chatting with supporters while standing a few feet away.