Trump to Hammer Biden in 'Tough Speech' at GOP Convention Closing

Trump RNC
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump attend Mike Pence’s acceptance speech for the vice presidential nomination during the Republican National Convention at Fort McHenry National Monument on August 26, in Baltimore. Trump's speech tonight will be delivered from the South Lawn of the White House, as thousands of people along the Gulf Coast are reeling from the devastating Hurricane Laura. Drew Angerer/Getty

President Donald Trump plans to go on the attack against Democratic rival Joe Biden in what the campaign is calling a "tough speech" to close out the GOP convention Thursday evening as thousands of people in the South are dealing with the fallout from Hurricane Laura.

"We really believe the media generally has ignored or glossed over many of the criticisms of Joe Biden's record and what his plans for the future are, should he be elected," Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh told reporters Thursday. "The best way to really punch through is if the president delivers this message himself, so tonight the president will deliver a tough speech because Americans have tough choices in front of them."

The speech will seek to lay out "two distinct visions—the president's vision against Joe Biden's vision," he said, and areas highlighted will include the economy, trade, energy policy, crime and the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump's speech will be delivered from the South Lawn of the White House, as thousands of people along the Gulf Coast are reeling from the devastating Hurricane Laura, which made landfall in Louisiana overnight as a Category 4 storm.

"The president will talk about the hurricane and the preparations that have been made and ask for God's blessing for the people in its path," Murtaugh said.

Biden's campaign stopped short of calling for Trump to postpone his speech during the national emergency but questioned his leadership to handle the disaster.

"We didn't hear anything about the hurricane last night," Biden senior campaign adviser Symone Sanders told reporters Thursday. "When Joe Biden is president, people won't have to wonder if leadership will be standing with them, if they have the resources they need. We will do the job."

Vice President Mike Pence, during his address Wednesday night, briefly mentioned the storm at the start of his speech.

"This is a serious storm. We urge all those in the affected areas to heed state and local authorities," he said. "Stay safe, and know that we'll be with you every step of the way to support, rescue, response, and recovery in the days and weeks ahead."

Pete Buttiegeg, a former Democratic presidential candidate who is now a key surrogate for the Biden campaign, echoed Sanders' sentiment questioning the administration's leadership.

"Americans are hurting right now," he told reporters on the same Biden campaign call. "Americans are hurting because of the dangers posed by this storm. we need leaders with compassion, with empathy."

Trump was scheduled to attend a briefing at the FEMA headquarters in Washington, D.C., Thursday afternoon, after hosting a fundraiser at the Trump International Hotel that was expected to bring in $10 million for his campaign and the GOP.

Trump has been in contact with governors of the affected states and other senior administration leaders tasked with disaster assistance, including Department of Homeland Security head Chad Wolfe.

"President Trump is committed to deploying the full resources of the Federal Government to rescue those in distress, support those in the region affected, and restore disruptions to our communities and infrastructure," press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement.