Kamala Harris slams Trump's handling of coronavirus: 'He was scared'

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris lambasted President Donald Tru...

Posted: Aug 27, 2020 1:00 PM
Updated: Aug 27, 2020 7:30 PM

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris lambasted President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic in a speech Thursday designed to prebut Trump's own appearance at the Republican National Convention hours later.

Ticking through what she characterized as Trump's early missteps, she said: 'Donald Trump froze. He was scared. And he was petty and vindictive.'

She said Trump was 'fixated on the stock market' and 'caved' to the Chinese government.

'And here's what you have to understand about the nature of a pandemic: It's relentless. You can't stop it with a tweet. You can't create a distraction and hope it'll go away. It doesn't go away,' she said.

Harris' remarks were part of the Joe Biden campaign's efforts to counter Trump -- a push that also included Biden interviews on cable news channels Thursday afternoon and a blistering new ad set to run before the President accepts his party's renomination.

She said Trump 'doesn't understand the presidency' and believes it is 'all about him.' She said Trump has shown 'a reckless disregard for the well-being of the American people.'

'The Republican convention is designed for one purpose: To soothe Donald Trump's ego, to make him feel good,' Harris said. 'But here's the thing: He's the President of the United States, and it's not supposed to be about him. It's supposed to be about the health and the safety and the well-being of the American people.'

'And on that measure,' she added, 'Donald Trump has failed.'

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Her speech echoes a new two-minute ad Biden's campaign is set to air on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox News ahead of the convention. The ad is primarily a positive spot focused on Biden's biography, but it also jabs Trump's fitness for the job and handling of key issues.

'Some people are always in a hurry. They run when they could walk. Race up steps when others take it slow,' a narrator says at the start of the ad as images of Biden running and biking are paired with viral video of Trump cautiously walking down a ramp earlier this year at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

The ad then pivots to Biden's biography, including the tragedy that has defined his life, and features Biden touting the country's ability to overcome this moment.

'America is an idea, an idea stronger than any army more powerful than any dictator or tyrant,' Biden says in the ad. 'And it's an idea as alive and powerful today as it was when it was first proposed.'

The ad is part of the $26 million the campaign plans to spend on digital and television ads around the Republican convention.

Trump will accept his party's nomination with a speech on the South Lawn of the White House on Thursday night. The speech will mark the end to the Republican convention, a four-night event where the party sought to present a softer, gentler version of the President while reinventing his own record on everything from the coronavirus to the economy to immigration.

'At no time before have voters faced a clearer choice between two parties, two visions, two philosophies, or two agendas,' Trump is expected to say, according to excerpts of Trump's speech provided to CNN. 'We have spent the last four years reversing the damage Joe Biden inflicted over the last 47 years. At the Democrat convention, you barely heard a word about their agenda. But that's not because they don't have one. It's because their agenda is the most extreme set of proposals ever put forward by a major party nominee.'

Almost all of the Republican speakers have also criticized the Biden-Harris ticket, casting it as radical and out-of-touch with America.

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But Biden's campaign has also sought to signal discord among Republican ranks during the GOP convention, touting the endorsement of hundreds of staffers who worked for the last three Republican presidential nominees -- Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, the late Arizona Sen. John McCain and former President George W. Bush. Trump, however, remains overwhelming popular among Republican voters.

All of this is playing out as the latest instance of racial turmoil, this time in Kenosha, Wisconsin, after a police officer shot 29-year-old Jacob Blake.

The tumult continued later in the week, when two people were shot and killed during a night of unrest. Police arrested Illinois teen Kyle Rittenhouse on Wednesday and charged him with first-degree intentional homicide.

Trump has yet to comment on the Blake shooting, but Biden and Harris have talked with the Blake family.

Harris also addressed the shooting of Blake and the unrest that has followed in her Thursday afternoon speech.

She called video of Blake being shot in the back 'sickening to watch.'

'Seven times in the back. In broad daylight in front of his three young sons,' Harris said. 'As Vice President Biden put it the shots fired at Mr. Blake pierced the soul of our nation, it's sickening to watch. It's all too familiar. And it must end.'

Harris, who is the first Black and South Asian woman nominated to the ticket of a major political party and would become the first female vice president if elected, said that 'the reality is that the life of a Black person in America has never been treated as fully human.'

Tying Blake's shooting to the police killings of George Floyd in Minnesota and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky and the slaying of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, Harris backed protesters who have filled the streets of American cities in recent months -- but drew a line between 'peaceful protesters' and 'those looting and committing acts of violence,' including the 17-year-old Trump supporter from Illinois who police say shot and killed two people in Kenosha.

'It's no wonder people are taken to the streets, and I support them. We must always defend peaceful protest and peaceful protesters,' Harris said. 'We should not confuse them with those looting and committing acts of violence, including the shooter, who was arrested for murder. And make no mistake, we will not let these vigilantes and extremists derail the path to justice.'

This story has been updated with Harris' comments on Thursday.

New York

Cases: 1242561

Reported Deaths: 40993
CountyCasesDeaths
Queens1550597836
Kings1519718037
Suffolk1259252577
Nassau1127022540
Bronx1038695255
Westchester837081789
New York744523434
Erie513841360
Richmond442101373
Monroe43659753
Rockland31509806
Orange28386642
Onondaga27190524
Oneida16502341
Dutchess16327304
Albany15981252
Niagara11822239
Broome10866254
Saratoga898479
Schenectady8480122
Ulster7548189
Rensselaer6693102
Putnam638674
Chemung5534107
Chautauqua546056
Oswego481663
Ontario464781
Steuben4541131
Cayuga431069
Sullivan376548
Genesee363098
Wayne360650
Herkimer352851
St. Lawrence349656
Cattaraugus334460
Jefferson309421
Madison307375
Livingston264538
Tompkins261322
Cortland260453
Columbia239769
Allegany232875
Montgomery216772
Tioga216754
Wyoming211441
Clinton209117
Fulton203948
Warren200437
Greene199557
Orleans189868
Chenango170439
Otsego162323
Lewis145123
Washington143823
Seneca120345
Franklin11039
Delaware99019
Essex95916
Schoharie8825
Yates79516
Schuyler71010
Hamilton1451
Unassigned39101
Out of NY0164

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2988326

Reported Deaths: 33589
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles101466213848
San Bernardino2512131560
Riverside2394122517
San Diego2117872103
Orange2108132367
Santa Clara926251065
Kern84644565
Fresno81294932
Sacramento791221080
Alameda66583757
Ventura60368412
San Joaquin56642748
Contra Costa51573446
Stanislaus42337739
Tulare40655501
Monterey35418250
San Mateo31805294
San Francisco28853254
Imperial25140463
Solano24732105
Santa Barbara24149231
Sonoma23607234
Merced23492296
Kings19125133
Placer16995173
San Luis Obispo15466128
Madera13193130
Santa Cruz12026113
Marin11482153
Yolo10406131
Shasta9594117
Butte9359121
El Dorado757544
Sutter756077
Napa735639
Lassen509413
San Benito488243
Yuba481827
Tehama397142
Tuolumne330438
Nevada314473
Mendocino307631
Amador298629
Lake250428
Humboldt229424
Glenn189419
Colusa16919
Calaveras159623
Siskiyou140813
Mono10834
Inyo92429
Del Norte8532
Plumas5735
Modoc3793
Mariposa3444
Trinity3024
Alpine730
Sierra700
Unassigned00

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 133205

Reported Deaths: 1800
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah28337458
Washington18644171
Marion16172238
Clackamas11642138
Lane8272108
Jackson689285
Umatilla676568
Deschutes495236
Yamhill318245
Malheur313152
Linn310846
Polk244640
Klamath242838
Josephine173533
Jefferson170225
Benton169514
Douglas167743
Union111416
Wasco107123
Columbia104318
Lincoln99117
Hood River95121
Coos93715
Morrow93310
Clatsop6865
Crook61010
Baker5685
Tillamook3652
Curry3245
Lake2305
Grant2131
Harney1754
Wallowa963
Gilliam511
Sherman470
Wheeler201
Unassigned00