Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will attack President Donald Trump’s “law and order” message toward violent protests by arguing Trump “forfeited any moral leadership in this country” because he fomented violence rather than halting it.
“This president long ago forfeited any moral leadership in this country,” Biden says in remarks prepared for a speech in Pittsburgh Monday afternoon. “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 condemned violence Sunday at racial justice protests in Portland, as he has for months for other demonstrations.
“The deadly violence we saw overnight in Portland is unacceptable,” Biden said. “Shooting in the streets of a great American city is unacceptable. I condemn this violence unequivocally. I condemn violence of every kind by any one, whether on the left or the right.”
Kenosha, Wisconsin, has become the latest flashpoint in violent protests, after the police shooting Aug. 23 of Jacob Blake, a Black father who was left paralyzed from the waist down. A 17-year-old, Kyle Rittenhouse, was charged with shooting to death two people during the ensuing protests.
Trump plans to visit Kenosha on Tuesday, but Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, has asked him to reconsider.
Trump warned in his Republican National Convention speech Thursday that Democrats sought to defund police and pass legislation to reduce law enforcement.
“No one will be safe in Biden’s America,” said Trump, who has been endorsed by several police unions.
The protests have become a rallying cry for both parties, with Democrats calling for a reckoning on racial justice while Republicans urge greater law enforcement.
“We need justice in America,” Biden said Monday in prepared remarks. “And we need safety in America.”
Under Trump, the Department of Homeland Security deployed federal officers to Portland in July, despite opposition from the governor and mayor, to bolster the defense of the federal courthouse against vandalism and arson.
Biden has denied wanting to defund police, despite the rallying cry from protesters, while arguing for greater funding for training police. He and his campaign officials suggested last week that Trump and his campaign expect to benefit politically from stoking confrontations at the protests.
Biden will suggest that the common thread running through the crises facing the country – the coronavirus pandemic, economic devastation, unwarranted police violence – is Trump.
“Does anyone believe there will be less violence in America if Donald Trump is reelected?” Biden will ask in prepared remarks. “An incumbent president who makes things worse, not better. An incumbent president who sows chaos rather than providing order.”