Speed Reads

Violence: Good or Bad?

Biden suggests Trump is 'too weak, too scared' to stand up to his supporters

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said in a speech Monday in Pittsburgh that while he condemned looting, arson, and violence off all types, President Trump is bent on "fomenting" and "stoking violence in our cities" to help his sagging re-election prospects. "He may believe mouthing the words 'law and order' makes him strong, but his failure to call on his own supporters to stop acting as an armed militia in this country shows you how weak he is," Biden said.

At a news conference hours later, Trump defended "peaceful" right-wing supporters who drove through downtown Portland, Oregon, on Saturday, shooting counter-protesters with bear spray and paintball guns. Unlike the bullet that killed one of his supporters, "paint is not bullets," he noted. Trump also defended Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old supporter charged with fatally shooting two people in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last week, killing one under murky circumstances before tripping as other protesters chased and tried to disarm him.

Biden responded with a new statement calling Trump "too weak, too scared" to "rebuke violence" by his supporters or "repudiate" Rittenhouse.

On Sunday, Biden had urged Trump to join him in condemning "violence of every kind by anyone, whether on the left or the right," and he repeated that challenge Monday night: "So once again, I urge the president to join me in saying that while peaceful protest is a right — a necessity — violence is wrong, period. No matter who does it, no matter what political affiliation they have. Period. If Donald Trump can't say that, then he is unfit to be president, and his preference for more violence — not less — is clear."