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Joe Biden speaking at a campaign event in Pittsburgh.
Joe Biden speaking at a campaign event in Pittsburgh.
Image: PA

'It’s lawlessness, plain and simple': Joe Biden condemns rioting, looting and arson at protests

Biden also blamed Donald Trump for “stoking violence” in US cities.
Aug 31st 2020, 9:20 PM 20,165 93

JOE BIDEN HAS forcefully condemned the violence at recent protests across the US while also blaming President Donald Trump for provoking the divide that is sparking it.

The Democratic presidential nominee for the November election dismissed his opponent as incapable of tackling the violence himself.

“He doesn’t want to shed light, he wants to generate heat, and he’s stoking violence in our cities,” Biden said during a campaign stop in Pittsburgh.

“He can’t stop the violence because for years he’s fomented it.”

Biden went on to denounce rioting, looting and arson at recent protests.

“It’s lawlessness, plain and simple. And those who do it should be prosecuted,” he said.

The speech marks a new phase of the campaign as Biden steps up his travel after largely remaining near his home in Wilmington, Delaware, to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

And after centring his candidacy on Trump’s mishandling of the pandemic, Biden is making a broader push to argue that Americans will not be safe if Trump wins re-election.

That is an effort to blunt Trump’s “law and order” message, which the president is emphasising as some protests against racial injustice have become violent.

Trump tweeted today: “The Radical Left Mayors & Governors of Cities where this crazy violence is taking place have lost control of their ‘Movement.’ It wasn’t supposed to be like this, but the Anarchists & Agitators got carried away and don’t listen anymore – even forced Slow Joe out of basement!”

In Pittsburgh, Biden said of Trump: “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.”

Biden is seeking to cast recent protests as the Trump administration’s problem. However, Trump and Republicans are highlighting violence at protests as examples of what the country would look like under a Biden administration.

Kenosha

In Kenosha, Wisconsin, the National Guard was deployed to quell demonstrations in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man, that have resulted in some looting, vandalism and the shooting deaths of two protesters.

And this weekend, one of Trump’s supporters was shot at a demonstration in Portland, Oregon, prompting multiple tweets from Trump himself, including one accusing Biden of failing to criticise the “agitators” at the protests.

Yesterday, Biden strongly denounced violent acts on any side.

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“I condemn violence of every kind by anyone, whether on the left or the right. And I challenge Donald Trump to do the same,” he said in a statement.

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