Campaign

Biden: Trump ‘rooting for more violence’

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Thursday accused President Trump of “rooting” for violence amid the unrest in Kenosha, Wis., following the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

“He views this as a political benefit to him. You know, he’s rooting for more violence, not less. And he’s clear about that. And what’s he doing, he’s pouring more gasoline on the fire,” Biden said on MSNBC.

The former vice president cited comments from White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, who told Fox News earlier in the day that “the more chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence reigns, the better it is for the very clear choice on who’s best on public safety and law and order.”

Biden was responding to attacks from Vice President Pence a night earlier at the Republican National Convention, where Pence warned viewers they “won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America.”

“The problem we have right now is we’re in Donald Trump’s America,” Biden said.

Protests have persisted since Blake was shot seven times in the back by a police officer in Kenosha, and the demonstrations have grown violent at times.

Police on Wednesday arrested a 17-year-old who allegedly shot and killed two people late Tuesday during the protests.

Neither Trump nor Pence have specifically spoken about Blake, but both have called for law and order, and the president has vowed to send federal forces to quell unrest.

The scenes in Kenosha follow weeks of demonstrations in Portland, Ore., and broader protests over racial injustice in the wake of the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Rayshard Brooks.

Trump allies have attempted to tie the more violent aspects of the protests to Biden, arguing that he would cut police funding and accusing him of failing to condemn the violence as part of a broader effort to convince suburban voters that their lifestyle may be jeopardized if Trump is not re-elected.

But Biden has said he does not support calls to “defund the police,” and he has repeatedly condemned the violent aspects of the demonstrations, doing so again on Thursday.

“I condemn violence in any form whether it’s looting or whatever it is,” he said, noting that Trump had not personally condemned the shooting of two protesters.

“People have a right to be angry,” Biden added. “People have a right to protest.” 

Tags 2020 2020 campaign 2020 conventions 2020 republican convention deaths in police custody Donald Trump Fox News Jacob Blake Joe Biden Kellyanne Conway kenosha MSNBC Police shootings racial unrest systemic racism Wisconsin

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