WASHINGTON — Joe Biden on Wednesday denounced the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin and urged protesters not to respond by engaging in violence.
“What I saw on that video makes me sick. Once again a black man, Jacob Blake, has been shot by the police in broad daylight with the whole world watching,” Biden said in a video posted Wednesday, adding that he had spoken to Blake’s family and assured them that “justice must and will be done.”
“Protesting brutality is a right and absolutely necessary. But burning down communities is not protest, it’s needless violence. Violence that endangers lives,” the Democratic presidential nominee continued. “That’s wrong.”
The taped video was Biden’s first public appearance this week as he lays low during the Republican convention and dispatches running mate Kamala Harris and campaign surrogates to press his message that President Donald Trump has botched the handling of the coronavirus crisis.
His remarks serve as a rebuttal to Trump and his allies who have sought to portray Biden as beholden to extremists resorting to violence in the midst of a backlash to racism and police shootings. Biden has denounced violence and rejected left-wing calls to “defund the police.”
A major theme of the GOP convention is to portray Democrats as agents of chaos and anarchy.
Biden spokesman Andrew Bates said Wednesday that the GOP convention has been full of “toxic divisiveness, Twilight Zone conspiracy theories and dangerous misinformation about the pandemic that Trump has failed to make headway with for months.”
In a text message to supporters Wednesday, Harris “prebutted” Vice President Mike Pence’s anticipated remarks later Wednesday.
“I’m not worried about what he’s going to say — I know it will be nothing but lies,” she wrote, before asking for a donation to the campaign.
At a fundraiser Wednesday held by Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, the vice presidential nominee promised that Biden would not condition U.S. aid to Israel on its actions.
“Joe has made it clear he will not tie security assistance to any political decisions that Israel makes, and I couldn’t agree more,” she said, according to a pool report. “As vice president, Joe Biden helped ensure unwavering support for Israel’s security.”