Joe Biden on Thursday lambasted President Donald Trump’s response to recent racial tensions and brought up Trump’s 2017 remarks about racial violence in Charlottesville, Va., as the Democratic presidential nominee campaigned in Kenosha, Wis., a city rocked by violence and unrest.
“This president continues to try to divide us, give succor to the white supremacists, talks about how there’s really good people ‘on both sides,’” Biden said at an event at a Lutheran church in Kenosha.
The former vice president also said Trump “legitimizes a dark side of human nature.”
From the archives:Trump defends comments on Charlottesville violence
Biden’s trip to Kenosha — which his campaign billed as an effort to “bring together Americans to heal and address the challenges we face” — comes after Trump visited the city on Tuesday and blamed Democratic leaders for the “destruction” that he surveyed. Kenosha has seen protests and vandalism since the Aug. 23 police shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, with the violence peaking on Aug. 25, when police say 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse shot and killed two people. Trump has declined to criticize Rittenhouse.
Biden met with members of the Blake family and their legal team ahead of his speech, with Blake himself calling in from his hospital bed. Trump has said he wasn’t planning to speak with the Blake family because they wanted a lawyer on the call and he thought that was “inappropriate.”
Trump’s re-election campaign said the Blake family’s lawyer is a Biden supporter. The president’s team also went after Biden by tweeting out an awkward moment from his Kenosha event, when the Democratic challenger stopped himself from elaborating on his tax policies by saying he is “not going to lay it out for you — I won’t now because they’ll shoot me.”
In a RealClearPolitics moving average of Wisconsin polls as of Thursday, Biden is leading Trump by 4.0 percentage points, ahead of the Democratic challenger’s average polling edge of 3.3 points in the top battleground states that are likely to decide the Nov. 3 election.
In addition to their trips to Wisconsin, Biden and Trump also have traveled to other swing states this week as their White House campaigns ramp up following last month’s party conventions. Biden visited Pennsylvania on Monday, and Trump was due in Pennsylvania’s Westmoreland County on Thursday night for a campaign rally after giving a speech in North Carolina on Wednesday.
Biden attacked Trump in a statement released ahead of the president’s Pennsylvania trip, saying his “mishandling of the economy and the coronavirus pandemic has caused millions of people across the Commonwealth to file for unemployment since March, has led to a staggering unemployment rate of over 13% in Westmoreland County, and caused nearly 8,000 Pennsylvanians to lose their lives from the virus.”
The main U.S. equity gauges finished down sharply on Thursday as tech stocks tumbled. The selloff comes after the S&P 500
notched fresh record closes on Wednesday, while the Dow
ended within 1.5% of its February peak.