(CNN)Vice President Mike Pence will step into the Republican National Convention’s leading role Wednesday evening as the party looks to push President Donald Trump’s pro-police “law and order” message on the same night sports stars make a historic protest against police brutality.
Pence is expected to make the case that Joe Biden would lead the country in a dangerously liberal direction as he defends the Trump presidency. A major theme of both his address and the night as a whole will be support for law enforcement. The theme of the night contrasts sharply with National Basketball Association, Women’s National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball teams announcing they will not play in their Wednesday night games to protest police violence against Black people.The Milwaukee Bucks decided against playing Game 5 of their playoff series against the Orlando Magic in protest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake — a 29-year-old Black man who was shot multiple times in the back as he tried to enter an SUV with his children in the vehicle — in Kenosha, Wisconsin, which is close to Milwaukee. The two other playoff games scheduled to be played Wednesday night were then also postponed as players decided to join the Bucks in the protest.How to watch night three of the RNCIt’s a historic moment in the sporting world that will stand starkly against the Republican messages of support for police and regular calls for athletes to stick to sports instead of making political statements. Pence is expected to address players kneeling during the National Anthem as a form of protest against police brutality and both Trump and Pence have repeatedly criticized players who have taken a knee as disrespectful to the flag and to American values. Read MoreThroughout the spring and summer as Americans filled the streets to protest the death of George Floyd, Pence has tried to reframe the debate as an attack on police. In numerous swing state appearances this summer, he has inaccurately suggested that the former vice president would side with far-left activists who favor defunding the police. He is expected to renew those criticisms on Biden and the vow that both he and Trump have made to “back the blue” in the midst of protests against police Wednesday during his speech at Fort McHenry, making the Trump campaign’s case that the 2020 election is a choice between “freedom and opportunity” and a future of “socialism and decline.”A senior Republican official told CNN’s Jeff Zeleny that Pence will use his remarks to define the Democratic ticket as “out of touch and dangerous for America.”The former Indiana governor is also expected to address the violence in Wisconsin following Blake’s shooting. Two people were killed overnight and a third injured during the third night of protests in Kenosha. Antioch Police Deputy Police Chief Geoffrey Guttschow told CNN that Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, turned himself in on Wednesday at the Antioch police headquarters. Rittenhouse lives in Antioch, which is about 20 miles from Kenosha, where the shooting took place during the protest.Michael “Mick” McHale — a 27-year veteran of the Sarasota, Florida, police department — is expected to highlight why police officers support Trump.”I’m proud that the overwhelming majority of American police officers are the best of the best and put their lives on the line without hesitation. And good officers need to know that their elected leaders and the department brass have their backs,” McHale will say, according to prepared remarks.”The violence we are seeing in these and other cities isn’t happening by chance; it’s the direct result of elected leaders refusing to allow law enforcement to protect our communities,” he will add.Trump has repeatedly argued that his administration embodies “law and order” and that his administration is the only thing preventing chaos in the streets of America, even though most of the protests since Floyd’s death have been peaceful.Though Biden has explicitly rejected calls to defund the police, Pence previewed the sharp attacks that he will make on the former vice president during a July visit to Wisconsin when he portrayed Biden as a hapless tool of left-wing activists who would cave to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.Pence has twisted Biden’s words in an interview with activist Ady Barkan when he said he “absolutely” agreed that some police funding should be redirected.The vice president argued that Biden’s comment showed he had “capitulated to the radical left-wing mob” and told voters “the hard truth is: you won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America.”Second Lady Karen Pence previewed her own speech during an appearance on “Fox and Friends,” in which she said she would focus on the military community and her work connecting military spouses with employment opportunities. She said she would also speak about the work she has done on initiatives to prevent suicide among veterans.”It’ll be an exciting night to highlight the heroes in this great country,” she said during the interview.This is a breaking story and will be updated.