Mike Pence formally accepts GOP nomination for vice president

BALTIMORE — Speaking from historic Fort McHenry, Mike Pence formally accepted the GOP nomination for a second term as vice president Wednesday night as he addressed the Republican National Convention.

The vice president’s acceptance speech came from the site of the fort where the raising of the American flag during the War of 1812 inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The raising of the flag signaled the United States’ victory against the British in the Battle of Baltimore, and Pence’s speech tied in with the theme for Night 3 of the convention, “Land of Heroes.”

“Four years ago I answered the call to join this ticket because I knew that Donald Trump had the leadership and the vision to make America great again,” Pence said. “And for the last four years, I’ve watched this president endure unrelenting attacks but get up every day and fight to keep the promises that he made to the American people. So with gratitude for the confidence president Donald Trump has placed in me, the support of our Republican Party and the grace of God, I humbly accept your nomination to run and serve as vice president of the United States.”

Trump went to Baltimore to attend Pence’s speech and joined the vice president on stage after his address.

In a last-minute tweak to his speech, Pence, 61, decided to make reference to the violence in Kenosha, Wisconsin, CNN reported.

“My fellow Americans, we are passing through a time of testing. But in the midst of this global pandemic, just as our nation has begun to recover, we’ve seen violence and chaos in the streets of our major cities,” Pence said. “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. Those who do so will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

“Let me be clear: the violence must stop -- whether in Minneapolis, Portland, or Kenosha,” 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 color.”

Pence also made reference to Hurricane Laura during his speech.

“Allow me to say a word to the families and communities in the path of Hurricane Laura. Our prayers are with you tonight and our administration is working closely with authorities in the states that will be impacted,” Pence said. “FEMA has mobilized resources and supplies for those in harm’s way. This is a serious storm and we urge all of those in the affected areas to heed state and local authorities, stay safe and know we’ll be with you every step of the way, to support, rescue, respond, and recover in the days and weeks ahead. That’s what Americans do.”

Pence has been a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump and has been a quiet force in smoothing over the president’s louder proclamations. Trump has nicknamed Pence “On Message Mike,” for his ability to deliver the president’s views without complaint, The Washington Post reported.

In July, Pence spoke with governors from both parties to discuss the reopening of schools, The New York Times reported. Pence stressed that the federal government wanted schools to reopen, telling the governors, “You all build your plan, we’ll work with you.”

“Pence has built the rarest of commodities in this administration, and that is a durable, close relationship with the president,” Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, told the Post. “And the operative word is ‘durable.’”

Infectious-disease expert Anthony Fauci, who has watched Pence chair the coronavirus task force, told the Post in an email that Pence is “a truly decent person, and very smart, who is trying to do his best in a very difficult and fluid situation.”

“I am sometimes referred to as ‘the skunk at the picnic’ but Pence never directly asks me, the skunk, to be quiet or leave,” Fauci wrote. He added that, “Some may say that Pence and his team are ‘too ideological’ but they are after all political people. This is not unexpected.”