On Monday, Biden traveled to Pennsylvania, where he condemned the violence that had marred some Black Lives Matter protests as “wrong in every way.”
“Rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting. Setting fires is not protesting,” Biden said. “None of this is protesting. It’s lawlessness, plain and simple.”
Biden also demanded that Trump disavow violence, saying “his failure to call on his own supporters to stop acting as an armed militia in this country shows how weak he is.”
The president didn’t bite when asked by reporters later in the day if he would condemn the actions of Kyle Rittenhouse, the teen Trump supporter who allegedly shot and killed two protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Instead, Trump defended him, saying Rittenhouse was “very violently attacked.”
Biden said in a statement Monday night that the refusal showed Trump was “too weak and too scared of the hatred he had stirred to put an end to it.”
“So once again, I urge the president to join me in saying that while peaceful protest is a right — a necessity — violence is wrong, period. No matter who does it, no matter what political affiliation they have. Period.”
“If Donald Trump can’t say that, then he is unfit to be president and his preference for more violence — not less — is clear,” Biden added.
Biden also called out the president for praising right-wing militants carrying Trump flags who fired paintball guns and other materials into a crowd of demonstrators in Portland, Oregon over the weekend.
Trump claimed they were “peaceful” because “paint is not bullets.”
Today’s press conference made it clear: we are all less safe because Donald Trump has failed at his job.We need a President who will stop violence — not incite it. pic.twitter.com/AhGNZCDQkr
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 1, 2020
One member of a right-wing group was shot and killed in a confrontation during the Portland demonstrations. It’s not yet clear what sparked the incident and if it was related to the protests. At the time of this writing, police have not named a suspect.
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