"This president long ago forfeited any moral leadership in this country. He can’t stop the violence – because for years, he has fomented it," Joe Biden said Monday

By Ashley Boucher
August 31, 2020 08:04 PM
Advertisement
Joe Biden
SAUL LOEB/getty images

Joe Biden spoke out against violence in an impassioned campaign speech on Monday, which was later criticized by Donald Trump.

Speaking from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Biden made it clear that he opposes violence "in every form it takes," including "unwarranted police shootings and excessive force."

Biden cited examples of the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, as well as the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last week.

Biden also slammed Trump's "law and order" refrain, pointing out that the violence Trump is promising to end is occurring under his presidency.

"This president long ago forfeited any moral leadership in this country. He can’t stop the violence – because for years he has fomented it," Biden said, echoing a statement he released on Sunday regarding Trump's response to violence in Portland, Oregon, over the weekend. "He may believe mouthing the words 'law and order' makes him strong, but his failure to call on his own supporters to stop acting as an armed militia in this country shows you how weak he is."

"We are facing multiple crises – crises that, under Donald Trump, keep multiplying," he continued. "COVID. Economic devastation. Unwarranted police violence. Emboldened white nationalists. A reckoning on race. Declining faith in a bright American future."

"The common thread?" Biden said. "An incumbent president who makes things worse, not better. An incumbent president who sows chaos rather than providing order. An incumbent president who fails in the basic duty of the job: to advance the truths that all of us are born with a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Biden said he wants the United States to be "safe from COVID, safe from crime and looting, safe from racially motivated violence, safe from bad cops" — all things he said will not happen if Trump is reelected.

"And let’s be crystal clear: Safe from four more years of Donald Trump," he added.

After Biden delivered his speech, Trump took to Twitter to share his thoughts.

"Just watched what Biden had to say," he wrote. "To me, he’s blaming the Police far more than he’s blaming the Rioters, Anarchists, Agitators, and Looters, which he could never blame or he would lose the Radical Left Bernie supports!"

However, Biden said in his speech that he believes looters and rioters should be prosecuted.

RELATED VIDEO: Joe Biden Accepts Democratic Nomination

"I want to be clear about this: Rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting. Setting fires is not protesting," he said. "None of this is protesting – it’s lawlessness – plain and simple."

"I look at this violence and I see lives and communities and the dreams of small businesses being destroyed and the opportunity for real progress on the issues of race and police reform and justice being put to the test," Biden said. "Donald Trump looks at this violence and sees a political lifeline."

During his press conference Monday afternoon, Trump claimed Biden only addressed violence among right-wing extremists. When asked by a reporter about the violence from Trump supporters in Portland, he claimed that they were "peaceful."

Answering questions from reporters, Trump appeared sympathetic toward Kyle Rittenhouse, who has been charged with murder for opening fire on protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last week, killing two people.

"That was an interesting situation, you saw the same tape as I saw. And he was trying to get away from them, I guess, looks like. And he fell and then they very violently attacked him," Trump said, adding that the shooting is currently under investigation. "I guess he was in very big trouble. He probably would have been killed."

Video footage of the shooting shows Rittenhouse, 17, firing twice at two different groups of people, falling after he had already killed someone, Axios reported.

"Everything should be taken care of [by] law enforcement," Trump added when asked by another reporter if he believes private citizens should be responding to protests.