US President Trump, Joe Biden clash over violence at anti-racism protests
As violence at anti-racism protests continued through the weekend, Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for president, challenged President Donald Trump, who is seeking a second term on a law-and-order plank, to condemn violence of “every kind” as he has himself.
President Trump has been quick to condemn violence at anti-racism protests, blaming it on “thugs”, “anarchists, agitators, and criminals”, and left wing radicals, whom he has tried to tie to Biden. He has been slow, however, to criticize killings by white police officers and white supremacists.
Biden, on the other hand, has been under mounting pressure to condemn violence accompanying the protests and dissociate himself from left wing activists involved in some of them.
“I condemn violence of every kind by anyone, whether on the left or the right,” Biden wrote in a tweet on Sunday, adding, “. And I challenge Donald Trump to do the same.”
Without addressing Biden’s challenge, Trump tweeted hours later. “When is Slow Joe Biden going to criticize the Anarchists, Thugs & Agitators in ANTIFA (anti-fascists)?”
Trump broke his silence on the shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man by white police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin days after saying late last week, “It was not a good sight”. He was referring to a video of the incident. But he has not condemned the shooting of two protestors by a white supremacist in the same city who reportedly self-identified himself as a Trump-supporter.
President Trump continued to pressure Democrats, who control Kenosha in Wisconsin and Portland in Oregon, the two cities in the grip of the ongoing unrest. He called Portland “a mess” and its Democrat mayor a “joke”. About Kenosha, he said the city would have ceased to be if had not insisted on sending federal troops there.
One man was killed in Portland on Saturday as a caravan of Trump supporters rolled through the city, getting into heated exchanges with protestors. Leader of a right-wing group Patriot Prayer identified the man as Jay Bishop and a “good friend”. Police have provided no details of the shooting. “Rest in Pace Jay,” Trump tweeted on Sunday.
Also on Sunday, one police officer was killed and another was wounded by an armed gunman in St Louis, Missouri. The incident was not related to the protests and authorities have said the suspected person has a long list of criminal charges and involvements.