Aug. 26 (UPI) -- Vice President Mike Pence said the United States will "have law and order on the streets" during the third night of the Republican National Convention after two people were killed in a protest in Wisconsin.
Pence referred to "violence and chaos in the streets of our major cities" as the Trump administration has sent federal law enforcement to respond to nationwide protests against systemic racism and police brutality sparked by the police-involved killing of George Floyd and renewed by the shooting of Jacob Blake.
"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," said Pence. "We will have law and order on the streets of this country for every American of every race and creed and color."
Pence's comments came after President Donald Trump said he planned to send more federal law enforcement officers to Kenosha in response to protests after Blake was shot in the back seven times by a Kenosha Police officer, leaving him paralyzed. On Wednesday, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse and was arrested and charged with being a fugitive for justice and first-degree intentional homicide after fatally shooting two people at a protest Kenosha.
The vice president condemned the demonstrations during his speech, threatening legal action against those engaged in violence and destruction of property.
"President Trump and I will always support the right of Americans to peaceful protest," he said. "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 also offered condolences to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, while praising frontline workers and declaring the United States was on track to have a vaccine by the end of the year.
"After all the sacrifice in this year like no other, all the hardship, we're finding our way forward again," he said. "But tonight our hearts are with all of the families who have lost loved ones and have family members still struggling with serious illness. In this country we mourn with those who mourn, we grieve with those who grieve."
Second lady Karen Pence highlighted art therapy for members of the military experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and highlighted the work of various "heroes" amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"In these difficult times, we've all seen so many examples of everyday Americans reaching out a hand to those in need, those who in humility have considered others more important than themselves,'" she said. "We've seen healthcare workers, teachers, first responders, mental health providers, law enforcement officers, grocery and delivery workers and farmers and so many others. Heroes all!"
President Donald Trump's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, declared November's vote "the most critical election in modern history."
"This is not just a choice between Republican and Democrat or left and right," she said. "This is an election that will decide if we keep America America or if we head down an uncharted, frightening path toward socialism."
In addition to the vice president, other speakers included Sens. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; Sister Dede Byrne; congressional candidates Burgess Owens and Madison Cawthorn; outgoing presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway; Reps. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., and Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y.; Scott Dane, executive director of the Associated Contract Loggers and Truckers of Minnesota; Richard Grenell, former acting director of national intelligence; civil rights activist Clarence Henderson; Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, the vice president's national security adviser; Michael McHale, president of the National Association of Police Organizations; and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.
The event, which began Monday and was scheduled to end Thursday, has been largely virtual. Some small, official business has still taken place in Charlotte, N.C., which was selected to host the convention this year.
After some last-minute wrangling to attempt to move the convention to Jacksonville, Fla., the GOP settled on keeping Charlotte as its base, but severely limiting the number of in-person events that take place there.