Aug 30, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden condemns violence on all sides after deadly Portland shooting

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden delivers his acceptance speech
Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Democratic nominee Joe Biden issued a statement unequivocally condemning violence on all sides after a man was fatally shot Saturday night during a clash between supporters of President Trump and anti-racism protesters.

Why it matters: As Biden prepares to address civil unrest this week, he is looking to set a marker for Trump and put the burden on him to speak to all sides on an issue that is roiling America and the presidential campaign.

  • The Trump campaign has sought to paint Biden as unwilling to condemn the violent protests that have unfolded in places like Portland and Kenosha, despite the former vice president having done so several times.
  • In the wake of a flood of tweets and retweets by Trump that defended aggressive actions by his supporters in Portland, Biden demanded that the president help "lower the temperature."

What he's saying: "The deadly violence we saw overnight in Portland is unacceptable. Shooting in the streets of a great American city is unacceptable. I condemn this violence unequivocally. I condemn violence of every kind by anyone, whether on the left or the right. And I challenge Donald Trump to do the same."

  • "It does not matter if you find the political views of your opponents abhorrent, any loss of life is a tragedy. Today there is another family grieving in America, and Jill and I offer our deepest condolences."
  • "We must not become a country at war with ourselves. A country that accepts the killing of fellow Americans who do not agree with you. A country that vows vengeance toward one another. But that is the America that President Trump wants us to be, the America he believes we are."

Biden continued: "What does President Trump think will happen when he continues to insist on fanning the flames of hate and division in our society and using the politics of fear to whip up his supporters? He is recklessly encouraging violence."

  • "He may believe tweeting about law and order makes him strong — but his failure to call on his supporters to stop seeking conflict shows just how weak he is. He may think that war in our streets is good for his re-election chances, but that is not presidential leadership — or even basic human compassion."
  • "Donald Trump has been president for almost four years. The temperature in the country is higher, tensions run stronger, divisions run deeper. And all of us are less safe because Donald Trump can’t do the job of the American president."
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