Biden takes Trump to task for fanning 'flames of hate' in protests

Henrietta Brewer
June 2, 2020

Moments before a second night of curfew was imposed in Washington, D.C. on Monday, violent clashes erupted outside the White House between USA military and park police and protesters demonstrating against police brutality in the wake George Floyd's death last week. Trump visited St John's Church, where he held up a Bible and posed for photographs with staffers and Cabinet members, but did not offer a prayer.

Biden is aiming to strike a careful balance between validating anger over police mistreatment of minorities while condemning violence as a response.

"This is the case for Joe Biden: He can be a uniter, he can be a safe, trusted voice, but he can also signal a return to some sanity around race politics for some people who have been turned off by the Trump era", said Joel Payne, a political strategist who oversaw African-American advertising for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign. "And maybe most important - who we want to be".

"I will seek to heal the racial wounds that have long plagued this country - not use them for political gain", Biden said.

Biden - who's traveling outside of his home state of DE for the first time in two-and-a-half months since the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the country - will deliver his comments from the Philadelphia City Hall. But protests against widespread racial injustice in the USA have persisted, with some calling on prosecutors to charge other officers as accomplices Floyd's death.

"Look, I look at the presidency as a very big job".

President Trump's campaign responded swiftly to the speech, suggesting without any evidence that Biden is supportive of the destruction of property that has accompanied protests.

"We have to help white suburban Americans understand that this is a human life and what if it was your son, or your brother, or your uncle", said Representative Val Demings, a black former police chief and Democrat from Florida being considered as a running mate for Biden.

Biden called on Congress to make a "down payment" on what he said would be the "work of a generation" in excising systemic racism, including launching a national police oversight board if he is elected in November.

After visiting with community and faith leaders in Wilmington, Delaware, on Monday, Biden hosted a conference call with several mayors to discuss the protests.

Biden called Floyd's death a "wakeup call for our nation, for all of us". They're still being heard. "If he did, he'd find the First Amendment", Biden said, reading the passage about the "the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances'". They are echoing throughout this nation. "And I won't either", Biden said, but promised, "I won't fan the flames of hate". "They speak to a nation where more than 100,000 people have lost their lives to a virus and 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment - with a disproportionate number of these deaths and job losses concentrated in the black and minority communities", Biden said.

And he will stress that Floyd's words "speak to a nation where every day millions of people - not at the moment of losing their life, but in the course of living their life - are saying to themselves, "I can't breathe".

Other reports by iNewsToday