Biden visits site of George Floyd protests in Wilmington

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Hill's Campaign Report: Runoff elections in Texas, Alabama set for Tuesday Biden campaign slams White House attacks on Fauci as 'disgusting' Biden lets Trump be Trump MORE paid a visit to the site of Saturday night's protests in Wilmington, Del., amid the fallout from the death of George Floyd.

"We are a nation in pain, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us. We are a nation enraged, but we cannot allow our rage to consume us. We are a nation exhausted, but we will not allow our exhaustion to defeat us," Biden said in a Sunday statement posted to the social media site, accompanied by a photo of him in a mask speaking with a man and child across a line of police tape.

"The only way to bear this pain is to turn all that anguish to purpose," he added. "And as President, I will help lead this conversation — and more importantly, I will listen, just as I did today visiting the site of last night's protests in Wilmington."

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The nation is reeling after cities saw demonstrations turn violent amid growing outrage over the death of Floyd, an unarmed black man killed in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday. Wilmington saw what at first appeared to be peaceful protests turn violent Saturday as some demonstrators began looting businesses, causing the city's mayor to speak out.

"It's disheartening, disappointing," Mayor Mike Purzycki told Delaware News Journal on Sunday morning. "I'm trying to reconcile what happened with Minneapolis with what happened here. I'm feeling the revulsion in both cases. I think it's important that all sides come together and try to understand the grievances, but talk about solutions."

President TrumpDonald John TrumpWayfair refutes QAnon-like conspiracy theory that it's trafficking children Stone rails against US justice system in first TV interview since Trump commuted his sentence Federal appeals court rules Trump admin can't withhold federal grants from California sanctuary cities MORE on Sunday sought to pin the blame for the growing unrest on Biden and Democrats, calling for Democratic mayors and governors to "get tough" amid footage of violent street clashes and looting in cities including Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Washington, D.C.

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The president's rhetoric has drawn criticism from leaders who accuse him of further stoking racial tensions at a time when the unrest shows no sign of abating. Biden released a statement earlier on Sunday in which he acknowledged the importance of protesting police brutality while also condemning the violence seen at some of the demonstrations.

“The act of protesting should never be allowed to overshadow the reason we protest,” Biden said. “It should not drive people away from the just cause that protest is meant to advance.”

Protests ignited last week after a video emerged showing a white police officer kneeling on Floyd's neck as Floyd said he couldn't breathe. He died in police custody shortly afterward. 

Floyd's death, along with other similar recent incidents including the death of a black woman named Breonna Taylor who was shot and killed by white police officers in her home in Louisville, Ky., has become a flashpoint in a country already struggling with the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed black Americans in disproportionate numbers. 

Biden has seen strong support among older black voters, though recent remarks in which he said "you ain't black" if you vote for Trump sparked criticism even among some of his closest allies. 

A Washington Post-ABC News poll released Sunday found Biden with a double-digit lead over Trump, as the country prepares for an increasingly bitter election fight.