Joe Biden spoke with local leaders in Wilmington, Delaware, on Monday morning after speaking with people at George Floyd protest sites on Sunday

By Sean Neumann
June 01, 2020 01:30 PM
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Joe Biden speaks with a man and a young woman at a protest site in Wilmington, Delaware on Sunday.
Joe Biden/Facebook

Joe Biden spoke with people at a George Floyd protest site on Sunday and then met with a group of community leaders at a Delaware church on Monday morning.

Biden's campaign shared an image of the presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee kneeling with a young black man and little girl at a protest site in Wilmington on Sunday. "We are a nation in pain, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us," Biden, 77, wrote in a statement alongside the photo, which was shared on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter on Sunday.

"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.

The next day, the former vice president met with community leaders, including Delaware Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, at Bethel AME Church in Wilmington. A pair of posts on Biden's Instagram Story showed him sitting, listening to community leaders, and taking notes at the church on Monday morning.

Meanwhile, Trump urged governors to increase arrests, according to the Associated Press, which also reported that Biden promised local community leaders at the Delaware church that he vows to address "institutional racism" in his first 100 days in office if elected president in November.

"Hate just hides. It doesn’t go away, and when you have somebody in power who breathes oxygen into the hate under the rocks, it comes out from under the rocks," Biden said at the church on Monday morning.

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Biden's activity on Sunday and Monday marks the second and third time the former vice president has been photographed outside his home in the past week, where he was self-quarantined in recent months as part of a nationwide social distancing effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 respiratory illness.

The pandemic has killed 104,300 in the U.S. as of June 1, according to the New York Times. The COVID-19 illness has disproportionately impacted the black community, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The coronavirus crisis took a backseat in the minds of many Americans in recent days, as protests occurred in cities across the country following the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minneapolis who died in police custody on May 25 after a white officer pinned him to the ground with a knee on his neck.

The officer, Derek Chauvin, was fired and arrested on third-degree murder charges. The three other officers involved with Floyd's death were also fired.

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo told CNN he believes the three officers with Chauvin were "complicit" in Floyd's death. "Silence and inaction — you're complicit. You're complicit," he said. "If there were one solitary voice that would have intervened ... that's what I would have hoped for."

Floyd's death sparked outrage that led to demonstrations in cities across the U.S. over the weekend.

The protests resulted in chaotic clashes with police after a number of cities enforced overnight curfews. Harrowing videos on social media in recent days showed police using violence against individuals at protest sites, including the use of rubber bullets, tear gas, clubs, and other riot gear. In one instance, a video showed a police cruiser driving into protesters in New York City. In another, an officer pointed a gun at a group of protesters before being restrained by another officer. A semi-truck barreled into a peaceful gathering of protesters along Minneapolis' I-35W highway.

Police departments across the country also reported injuries to officers, while the Associated Press reported Sunday night that at least 4,100 people were arrested over the weekend.

The Times reported a man in Louisville, Kentucky, was killed as police and the National Guard fired into a crowd of protesters. The outlet also reports two people in Davenport, Iowa, were killed. Beyond the loss of human life, buildings and police vehicles were set on fire in a number of cities across the nation.

President Donald Trump appeared to egg protesters on in a series of tweets over the weekend, calling protesters "thugs" on Thursday and seemed to threaten military violence against demonstrators. Trump was briefly ushered into a White House bunker on Friday night as protests took place outside across Washington D.C.

Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, spoke with both Biden and Trump on Friday. Philonise said Trump "didn't give me the opportunity to even speak" during their phone call.

"It was so fast," Philonise said of his phone call with Trump. "He didn't give me the opportunity to even speak. It was hard. I was trying to talk to him but he just kept like pushing me off like 'I don’t want to hear what you’re talking about.' I just told him I want justice. I said that I can't believe that they committed a modern-day lynching in broad daylight."

On Monday, Biden is scheduled to speak with mayors from Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago and St. Paul, Minnesota in a virtual call.

"The only way to bear this pain is to turn all that anguish to purpose," Biden's statement on social media read. "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."