Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden struck a blow at President Trump’s focus on law and order during a summer of protests and violence in many U.S. cities, asking voters “does anyone believe there will be less violence in America if Donald Trump to be re-elected?
Speaking in Pittsburgh on Monday, the former vice president said that “this president has long since lost all moral leadership in this country. He can’t stop the violence – because he’s been burning it for years … fires are burning and we have a president who ignites the flames instead of fighting the flames. “
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And Biden says Trump “may believe the words law and order make 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’s address is the first of two dueling speeches by the two presidential nominees as they trade fire this week over riots that shook cities from coast to coast this summer over police brutality and racial injustice.
The Trump campaign quickly noted that Biden on Monday did not mention or condemn the Antifa movement, which the Trump administration blames for much of the violence perpetrated during the riots.
Trump’s communications campaign director, Tim Murto, said: “As predicted, Joe Biden today failed to condemn left-wing mobs that burn, plunder and terrorize American cities. He failed to convict Antifa. He failed to condemn the people who called the police “cancer” or the people on his campaign staff who called them “pigs.” “
And Murto repeated the remark that “you will not be safe in Joe Biden’s America.”
On Tuesday, the president came in turn as he traveled to Kenosha, Wisconsin, despite requests from the country’s Democratic Party governor not to come to emphasize his focus on law and order in a city affected by violence following a police shooting the week before. a black man who resumed protests across the country.
The president has repeatedly warned that unrest will only escalate if Biden is elected in November. But the former vice president, rejecting, stressed that the current unrest is coming under Trump’s supervision.
“These are not images of some imaginary Joe Biden America in the future, these are images of Donald Trump’s America today,” Biden said.
Contrary to the president’s claims that Biden would rule as a radical, Biden stressed that “you know me. You know my heart. You know my story, the story of my family. Ask yourself, do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rebels? Really? I want a secure America. “
Biden condemned the violence during the protests, stressing that “the riots are not protests. The robbery is not a protest. Firing fires is not a protest. None of this protests. This is lawlessness, clear and simple. And those who do it must be persecuted. “
Moments after the speech ended, the president responded on Twitter.
“I was just looking at what Biden had to say. To me, he blames the police far more than he blames the bandits, anarchists, agitators and robbers he could never blame or would lose the support of the radical left Bernie!” he insisted.
The president’s trip to Kenosha seems to be a kind of tour of victory – as he admits to easing tensions in the city after the National Guard restored the semblance of order.
“If I had NOT insisted on activating the National Guard and entering Kenosha, Wisconsin, there would be no Kenosha at the moment,” Twitter wrote on Monday. “Besides, there would be a lot of death and injury. I want to thank law enforcement and the National Guard. See you on Tuesday!”
But Democratic Gov. Tony Evers had already sent National Guard troops into the city before the president’s move.
Following the announcement on Saturday that the president will go to Kenosha, Biden is under increasing pressure to visit the key state in the general election. But Biden’s decision to speak from Pennsylvania – another crucial swing state – appears to be a move to put a little space between himself and the rampant violence, as 29-year-old Jacob Blake was shot seven times on Aug. 23, police said. Kenosha officer Rusten Shesky.
A video seen on social media shows Shesky shooting Blake as he reached into his car, where Wisconsin officials later said a knife had been found. The shooting, a witness to his children who were in the vehicle, left Blake paralyzed from the waist down.
During the protests sparked by the shooting, the self-described militia member was accused of fatally shooting two people and injuring a third. Teenager Kyle Rittenhouse faces murder charges in the shooting; his lawyer has declared self-defense.
Riots across the country were sparked by the death of black George Floyd in late May while he was in police custody in Minnesota. Trump, who denounced the protesters as “thugs” while sharply defending the police, in the summer threw American cities under liberal leadership as besieged by violent and illegal anarchy. While many of the demonstrations were peaceful, riots and looting began in a handful of cities.
The president has been emphasizing the law and order since the protests erupted in late spring – a tweet and retweeted it many times in recent days – and this has been a major topic at last week’s Republican National Convention. The focus is on when Trump is trying to win back suburban voters who backed him in 2016 but ran away from the GP in the 2018 midterm elections.
Biden – speaking on a day when the number of new coronavirus cases in the United States exceeded 6 million – also denied the president regarding the pandemic.
“Mr. Trump, do you want to talk about fear? Do you know what people in America are afraid of?” He said. “They’re afraid they’ll get COVID. They are afraid that they will get sick and die. And this is not a small part because of you. “
Biden limited his speech to arguing that “Trump has been a toxic presence in our nation for four years.”
Pointing to the upcoming elections, he noted that “we have to decide: will we get rid of this toxin or will we make it a permanent part of the character of our nation.”
Biden gave his address at Mill 19, a rebuilt historic Pittsburgh steel plant. Outside the event – which was not open to the public – about a hundred Biden supporters gathered.
Madeleine Rivera and Ali Rafa of Fox News contributed to this story