Joe Biden in Kenosha

Trump has 'legitimized a dark side of human nature'

Joe Biden: "The underlying racism that is institutionalized in the United States that still exists and has for 400 years"

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US PRESS GROUP

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Thursday said President Trump has "legitimized a dark side of human nature” in remarks at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, Wis.

Speaking at a community gathering to address the recent civil unrest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, Biden said the unrest is not entirely Trump’s fault, but that the president had emboldened racists and inflamed racial tensions at a time when the nation is deeply divided.

The former vice president told a story about how protests had destroyed his hometown of Wilmington, Del., years ago following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He said he recently looked out over Wilmington and was briefly encouraged to see how it had been rebuilt.

“I said, don’t tell me things can’t change … but I made a mistake about something,” Biden said. “I thought you could defeat hate. It only hides. And when someone in authority breathes oxygen under that rock, it legitimizes those folks to come on out from under the rocks.”

Biden brought up Trump’s response to the white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville, Va., as evidence of the president’s failed leadership on race.

“It’s not all [Trump’s] fault,” Biden added. “But it legitimized a dark side of human nature. What it did though, was also expose what had not been paid enough attention to. The underlying racism that is institutionalized in the United States that still exists and has for 400 years. So we end up with a circumstance like we have here in Kenosha.”

At the church, Biden heard from community members, including a white business owner who said her store had been destroyed by rioters and a Black attorney who pleaded with him to address criminal justice reform.

Earlier in the day, Biden met with Blake’s family.

Blake’s attorney, Ben Crump, said the conversation focused on “changing the disparate treatment of minorities in police interactions, the impact of selecting Kamala Harris as a Black woman as his running mate, and Vice President Biden’s plans for change.”

“The vice president told the family that he believes the best of America is in all of us and that we need to value all our differences as we come together in America’s great melting pot,” Crump said.

“It was very obvious that Vice President Biden cared, as he extended to Jacob Jr. a sense of humanity, treating him as a person worthy of consideration and prayer.”

Trump toured Kenosha earlier in the week to highlight the businesses that had been destroyed as part of the protests. The president has blamed Democratic officials in cities for allowing protesters to destroy property.

“Let’s get something straight here, protesting is protesting … but none of it justifies burning, looting or anything else,” Biden said.

“So regardless how angry you are, if you loot or burn you should be held accountable the same as someone who has done anything else, period.”

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