Joe Biden Condemns Portland Violence, Accuses Trump of 'Fanning the Flames of Hate'

Former Vice President Joe Biden delivers a speech for the 2020 Democratic National Convention from the Chase Center in Wilmington, Del., August 20, 2020. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden released a statement Sunday accusing President Trump of “fanning the flames of hate” that he said led to the Saturday night violence in Portland that resulted in one death.

“As a country, we must condemn the incitement of hate and resentment that led to this deadly clash,” Biden said in his statement. “It is not a peaceful protest when you go out spoiling for a fight. What does President Trump think will happen when he continues to insist on fanning the flames of hate and division in our society and using the politics of fear to whip up his supporters?”

A man was shot and killed Saturday night during clashes in Portland between Black Lives Matter protesters and a caravan of Trump supporters who drove trucks through the downtown streets. The man appeared to be wearing thin blue line patches, which indicate support for police officers, and a hat with the logo for the right-wing group Patriot Prayer. Members of the caravan shot paintball guns from pickup trucks at protesters, who threw projectiles back at them.

Protests and rioting have been ongoing in Portland for more than 90 days since the police custody death of George Floyd in May.

Biden said Trump is “recklessly encouraging violence,” adding that he condemns “violence of every kind by anyone, whether on the left or the right.”

“He may think that war in our streets is good for his reelection chances, but that is not presidential leadership — or even basic human compassion,” Biden said. “The job of a president is to lower the temperature. … The temperature in the country is higher, tensions run stronger, divisions run deeper. And all of us are less safe because Donald Trump can’t do the job of the American president.”

Trump responded to the reports of violence in the city by calling for the National Guard to be brought in to quell the unrest. The president also shared a video of the pro-Trump caravan that drove into Portland, calling them, “GREAT PATRIOTS!”

“The big backlash going on in Portland cannot be unexpected after 95 days of watching and incompetent Mayor admit that he has no idea what he is doing,” Trump said in a Sunday tweet. “The people of Portland won’t put up with no safety any longer. The Mayor is a FOOL. Bring in the National Guard!”

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