Biden: I condemn violence in Portland, ‘challenge Donald Trump to do the same’
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Sunday condemned violence in Portland, Ore., after police said one person was fatally shot amid clashes between Black Lives Matter protesters and counterprotesters.
The Democrat urged President Trump to do the same, underscoring his message by noting that a death is tragic no matter what political views the victim held.
“I condemn this violence unequivocally. I condemn violence of every kind by anyone, whether on the left or the right. And I challenge Donald Trump to do the same,” Biden said in a statement Sunday.
“It does not matter if you find the political views of your opponents abhorrent, any loss of life is a tragedy. Today there is another family grieving in America, and Jill and I offer our deepest condolences,” he said, referring to his wife, Jill Biden.
The statement from the former vice president was released after police said a person was fatally shot in Portland after clashes erupted between Black Lives Matter protesters and a caravan of Trump supporters.
The victim of the shooting was wearing a hat with “Patriot Prayer” emblazoned across the front, according to reports. Patriot Prayer is a far-right group based in Portland that has repeatedly fought with protesters.
Biden urged unity in his statement, warning that America will remain divided under Trump.
“We must not become a country at war with ourselves. A country that accepts the killing of fellow Americans who do not agree with you. A country that vows vengeance toward one another,” Biden said. “But that is the America that President Trump wants us to be, the America he believes we are.”
He said Trump is “recklessly encouraging violence.”
“The job of a President is to lower the temperature. To bring people who disagree with one another together. To make life better for all Americans, not just those who agree with us, support us, or vote for us,” Biden said.
Trump and his campaign have been trying to cast a potential Biden presidency as unsafe for Americans, issuing dark warnings that protests and what they call riots could appear in any community. But following the recent violent clashes, Biden said the country is less safe under Trump’s leadership.
“Donald Trump has been president for almost four years. The temperature in the country is higher, tensions run stronger, divisions run deeper. And all of us are less safe because Donald Trump can’t do the job of the American president,” Biden said.
Biden’s statement builds on a message his campaign and other Democrats shared in a series of Sunday morning show appearances, accusing Trump of trying to incite violence to benefit his reelection campaign.
The Democrats’ accusations came after clashes between Black Lives Matter protesters and Trump supporters erupted after the fatal shooting in Portland as well as the fatal shooting of two protesters last week in Kenosha, Wis.
Officials arrested Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old from Illinois, after two protesters were killed in Kenosha. He faces multiple charges, including first-degree intentional homicide.
Protests over racial injustice and police brutality reignited after Kenosha police shot Jacob Blake last week.
Trump is expected to visit Kenosha on Tuesday amid the unrest.
A spokesperson for the Trump campaign was not immediately available for comment.