Trump's re-election critical to preserving law and order: Pence

US President Donald Trump on stage with Vice-President Mike Pence after Mr Pence's speech at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland, on Wednesday. Mr Trump's arrival was met with chants of "four more years" from the crowd.
US President Donald Trump on stage with Vice-President Mike Pence after Mr Pence's speech at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland, on Wednesday. Mr Trump's arrival was met with chants of "four more years" from the crowd.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

BALTIMORE • US Vice-President Mike Pence has cast the re-election of President Donald Trump as critical to preserving law and order and economic viability, asserting that Democratic rival Joe Biden would set America on a path to socialism and decline.

Amid widening protests over the Wisconsin police shooting of Mr Jacob Blake, a black man, Mr Pence and other Republicans at their national convention described the Nov 3 election between Mr Trump and Mr Biden as a choice between law and order and lawlessness.

"The hard truth is you won't be safe in Joe Biden's America," Mr Pence told a crowd seated in folding chairs at historic Fort McHenry in Baltimore on Wednesday.

Accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump, Mr Trump joined Mr Pence on stage after the speech as the crowd chanted "four more years".

The police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, shot Mr Blake, 29, multiple times in the back at close range on Sunday, reigniting protests against racism and police brutality that erupted across the United States earlier in the year.

During a third night of unrest on Tuesday, three people were shot, two fatally. A teenager was arrested on homicide charges.

In his speech, Mr Pence said: "Let me be clear: the violence must stop - whether in Minneapolis, Portland or Kenosha. 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."

Mr Biden said earlier that he had spoken with Mr Blake's family on Wednesday and, like the family, called for an end to the violence.

Mr Pence spoke at the Fort McHenry National Monument in Baltimore, Maryland - a federal facility that is the site of the battle during the War of 1812 that inspired Francis Scott Key to write The Star-Spangled Banner.

Mr Pence sought to reshape the narrative around the economy, casting the millions of jobs lost to the pandemic as a temporary setback.

Despite lagging behind Mr Biden in opinion polls, Mr Trump gets higher marks as a steward of the economy than his Democratic rival does.

 
 
 
 

US Vice-President Mike Pence spoke at the Fort McHenry National Monument in Baltimore - a federal facility that is the site of the battle during the War of 1812 that inspired Francis Scott Key to write The Star-Spangled Banner. Mr Pence sought to reshape the narrative around the economy, casting the millions of jobs lost to the pandemic as a temporary setback. Despite lagging behind Mr Biden in opinion polls, Mr Trump gets higher marks as a steward of the economy than his Democratic rival does.

"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," Mr Pence said.

"President Trump set our nation on a path to freedom and opportunity from the very first day of this administration. But Joe Biden would set America on a path of socialism and decline," he added.

Mr Pence was put in charge of the Trump administration's response in the pandemic's early days, although Mr Trump quickly became the face of the White House response and was criticised for minimising the threat from the virus.

The political fallout also hit Mr Trump's re-election campaign, cutting into his support in opinion polls, which show that Americans trust Mr Biden, 77, more than Mr Trump, 74, to handle the pandemic.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 28, 2020, with the headline 'Trump's re-election critical to preserving law and order: Pence'. Subscribe