Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday blasted President Trump's response to U.S. protests over racism and police misconduct, and vowed to try to heal the country's racial divide.
“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 longed plagued our country, not use them for political gain. I'll do my job, and I will take responsibility. I won't blame others. I'll never forget. I will never forget. I promise you, this job is not about me, it's about you. It's about us.”
Speaking in Philadelphia – a city rocked by sometimes violent demonstrations in recent days – the former vice president sought to draw a vivid contrast between himself and Trump, and was particularly critical of Trump's visit on Monday to a historic church across from the White House, which was preceded by law enforcement breaking up a peaceful crowd with smoke canisters and flash grenades.
"When peaceful protesters dispersed in order for a president, a president from the doorstep of the people's house, the White House, using tear gas and flash grenades in order to stage a photo op, a photo op - one of the most historic churches in the country or at least in Washington D.C. - we can be forgiven for believing the President's more interested in power than in principle. The president held up the bible at St. John’s church yesterday. I just wish he’d open it once in a while instead of brandishing it. If he opened it, he could have learned something.”
Biden said the killing of George Floyd, an African-American man who died at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer, was a “wake-up call” for a nation that must address its systemic racism.
“We can’t leave this moment thinking that we can once again turn away and do nothing. We can’t do that this time. We just can’t.”
Biden will attend Floyd’s funeral next Tuesday in Houston, according to the Floyd family attorney.
Former Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro on Tuesday endorsed Biden for president, saying Biden understands the urgent need to reform law enforcement practices.