Joseph R. Biden said Friday that the death of George Floyd is a reminder of how the “original sin of this country still stains our nation today” and demands the nation rally behind the black community.
Mr. Biden said Mr. Trump is stoking division and “encouraging violence” at a time when elected leaders should be emphasizing unity and bringing people together to “root out systemic racism.”’
“It is time for us to take a hard look at the uncomfortable truths,” Mr. Biden said. “It is time for us to face that deep open wound we have in this nation.”
“We need justice for George Floyd,” he said.
Mr. Floyd died after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, kept a knee pressed on the back of his neck for several minutes until he stopped breathing.
The episode was captured in cellphone footage and has ignited protests across the country that have led to some looting and rioting.
Mr. Trump weighed in early Friday morning on Twitter, saying he could sit on the sidelines, and saying that if “Radical Left” Mayor Jacob Frey couldn’t get the situation under control he would send in the National Guard.
“These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen,” Mr. Trump said. “Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way.”
“Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” Mr. Trump said. “Thank you!”
Mr. Biden said this is not the time for “incendiary” Tweets, and no time “to encourage violence.”
“We are a country with an open wound, and none of us can turn away, none of us can be silent, none of us can any longer hear the words, ‘I can’t breath’ and do nothing,” he said.
Mr. Biden called for “real police reform” that holds cops to a higher standard and weeds out bad cops. He said the nation must confront abuses of power.
“We need to stand up as a nation with the black community, with all minority communities, and come together as one American,” he said. “That’s the challenge we face.”
“If we simply allow this wound to scab over once more without treating the underlying injury we will never truly heal,” he said.
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