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Joe Biden told MSNBC on Thursday that President Trump is "rooting for more violence, not less" in cities facing unrest due to protests against police brutality.

The backdrop: The Democratic nominee's comments came after four consecutive nights of turmoil in Kenosha, Wisconsin, following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man who was left paralyzed.

  • On Wednesday, a 17-year-old, who allegedly was acting as a member of a vigilante group, was charged with first-degree intentional homicide in Tuesday night's shooting deaths of two people during the protests in Kenosha.
  • The unrest there follows months of protests nationwide, sparked by the police killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville.

What he's saying: "What’s he doing — pouring more gasoline on the fire — I think he views it as a political benefit," Biden said of Trump.

  • Biden pointed to comments made by White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, who told Fox News that "the more chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence reigns, the better it is for the very clear choice on who's best on public safety and law and order."
  • Biden also said he would consider visiting Kenosha: "What I don’t want to do is become part of the problem. ... If I were president, I would be going. If I went, I would be trying to pull together the Black community as well as the white community."

Worth noting: He also shot down House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's suggestion that he should refuse to debate Trump.

  • "As long as the commission continues down the straight and narrow. I am going to debate him. ... I am going to be a fact-checker on the floor."

Go deeper

Dec 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Thursday night frights for Biden White House

Reproduced from Homebase; Chart: Axios Visuals 

President-elect Joe Biden is building an economic team to deal with a post-COVID economic free fall, and a jobs report coming out Friday — expected to show reduced hiring last month — is anticipated to give that group a preview of coming attractions.

Why it matters: Biden's economic advisers are worried any failure to inject money into the economy now will only multiply their challenges once they take office, but President Trump remains fixated on litigating his election loss.

House passes $1.9 trillion COVID relief package

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The House approved President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package early Saturday morning, sending it to the Senate for a possible rewrite before it gets to Biden's desk.

The big picture: The vote was a critical first step for the package, which includes $1,400 cash payments for many Americans, a national vaccination program, ramped-up COVID testing and contact tracing, state and local funding and money to help schools reopen.

7 hours ago - Health

Biden says it's "not the time to relax" after touring vaccination site

President Biden speaking after visiting a FEMA Covid-19 vaccination facility in Houston on Feb. 26. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that "it's not the time to relax" coronavirus mitigation efforts and warned that the number of cases and hospitalizations could rise again as new variants of the virus emerge.

Why it matters: Biden, who made the remarks after touring a vaccination site in Houston, echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who said earlier on Friday that while the U.S. has seen a recent drop in cases and hospitalizations, "these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic."