By Natalie Allison
U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn was among the featured speakers during Wednesday’s Republican National Convention’s primetime slot, praising law enforcement and the military while lambasting Democrats for purportedly attempting to “cancel” them.
Blackburn, Tennessee’s first woman to hold such a role, will soon become the state’s senior senator upon the retirement of U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, who is not seeking reelection this fall.
While Blackburn has remained a fervent supporter of President Donald Trump, her five-minute speech Wednesday made little mention of the president, largely focusing on portraying Republicans as the party that honors police officers and soldiers.
Repeatedly referring to them as “heroes,” Blackburn alleged Democrats don’t respect them because “they don’t fit into their narrative.”
“Leftists try to turn them into villains,” Blackburn said. “They want to cancel them. But I’m here to tell you these heroes can’t be canceled. Tennessee is full of them. After all, we’re the Volunteer State.”
She was apparently referring to the notion of “cancel culture,” in which individuals or groups that find themselves in the midst of controversy are permanently written off, or “canceled,” by the masses. Blackburn did not specifically mention the movement to defund police.
Tennessee received multiple mentions in the speech, including a reference to Double Springs Church of Christ in Cookeville and the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell.
She made a reference both to Trump, who Blackburn said “has stood up for our heroes every day,” and to Democratic nominee Joe Biden, who “tried to destroy these heroes,” Blackburn said.
Biden has repeatedly said he does not support defunding the police.
She also attacked Democrats for calling for stay-at-home orders early on in the pandemic before attempting to connect her criticism to Biden being “soft” on China.
“If the Democrats had their way, they would keep you locked in your house until you become dependent on the government for everything,” Blackburn said. “That sounds a lot like communist China to me.”
Blackburn spoke on night three of the four-day RNC event, which largely became virtual after originally being scheduled to take place in Charlotte, North Carolina and Jacksonville, Florida.
Long before Trump was president — or even the party’s presidential nominee — Blackburn was among the first prominent Republicans to publicly support him.
In an October 2015 rally at the Factory at Franklin, Blackburn also took the stage to speak.