Washington, Jun 3 (PTI) Accusing the US President of fanning the flames of hate for political gain following the custodial killing of George Floyd, Democratic presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden has said that Donald Trump was preening and sweeping away all the guardrails that have long protected the American democracy.
The US is in the midst of the biggest civic unrest in the history of the country following the death of 46-year-old African-American Floyd who was pinned to the ground as a white police officer kneeled on his neck, killing him on the spot in Minneapolis on May 25.
Curfew was imposed in several cities on Tuesday, including New York and Washington DC, as most protests turned violent during the night. In some cases, peaceful protests turned violent resulting in large scale looting, damage to properties and monuments, and vehicles being set ablaze.
“The president held up the Bible at St. John's Church yesterday. I just wish he opened it once in a while instead of brandishing it. If he opened it, he could have learned something. They're all called to love one another as we love ourselves. It's really hard work but it's the work of America,” Biden said in a major policy speech on Tuesday.
'I won't traffic in fear and division. I won't fan the flames of hate. I'll seek to heal the racial wounds that have long plagued our country, not use them for political gain. I'll do my job and I'll take responsibility -- I won't blame others,' Biden said.
His remarks came after peaceful protesters in a park outside the White House were hit with tear gas so that Trump could cross the park and visit St. John's Church for a photo opportunity, a move that the Episcopal bishop that oversees the church later condemned.
Republican Party candidate Trump and his Democractic Party rival Biden are set to contest the presidential election on November 3.
“Donald Trump isn't interested in doing that work. Instead, he's preening and sweeping away all the guardrails that have long protected our democracy, guardrails that have helped make possible this nation's path to a more perfect union....,' he said.
The 77-year-old former vice president said that it is a wake-up call to the nation.
“The country is crying out for leadership, leadership that can unite us, leadership that brings us together, leadership that can recognise pain and deep grief of communities that have had a knee on their neck for a long time,” he said in his remarks in Philadelphia.
It was Biden's first trip outside Delaware in months after the coronavirus pandemic put a halt to in-person campaign activities.
There's no place for violence, no place for looting or destroying property or burning churches or destroying businesses, he said.
“Nor is it acceptable for our police, sworn to protect and serve all people, to escalate tension, resort to excessive violence,” Biden said, noting that there is a need to distinguish between legitimate peaceful protests and opportunistic violent destruction.
“We have to be vigilant about the violence that's being done by this incumbent president to our economy and to the pursuit of justice,' he said, adding that one could be forgiven for believing President Trump was more interested in power than in principle, more interested in serving the passions of his base than the needs of the people in his care.
For that's what the presidency is, the duty to care, to care for all people. Asserting that the US is a nation of values, Biden said that the freedom to speak is a cherished knowledge that lives inside every American almost from the time one was a kid.
“We're going to not allow any president to quiet our voice. We won't let those who see this as an opportunity to sow chaos throw up a smokescreen to distract us from very real and legitimate grievances at the heart of these protests,” he said.
Recollecting the last words of Floyd “I can’t breathe,” Biden said that they are still being heard. “They’re echoing across this nation,” he said.
However, the Trump Campaign accused Biden of standing with the rioters.
Reacting to Biden's attack on Trump, his campaign accused the former vice president of siding with the rioters.
“Joe Biden's campaign made it clear that they stand with the rioters, the people burning businesses in minority communities and causing mayhem, by donating to post bail for those arrested,” said Katrina Pierson, Trump 2020 senior advisor.
Pierson alleged that Biden has a history of cozying up to notorious racists in the Senate, he attempted to inflame race relations by claiming Republicans want to put Black Americans ‘back in chains,’ and told a Black radio host that Blacks who didn't support him ‘ain't Black.’ “He topped that off today by repeating the erroneous claim that protesters in Lafayette Park were tear gassed last night to clear a path for President Trump, when the Park Police says they used no tear gas and were not aware that the President was coming through,” she said.
Pierson alleged that over the course of his public life, Biden has used the politics of racial division when they suited his needs and he is doing it again.
“In contrast, President Trump has addressed the nation twice, expressed horror and sorrow for the death of George Floyd, stood with the peaceful protestors, and made it clear that he would not abide our cities being overtaken by violent, uncontrollable rioters.
'President Trump is restoring the nation to order and is clearly the leader we need to return the country to peace and prosperity,” she said. PTI LKJ RS AKJ