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Tuesday, 1 September 2020

'Do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really?' Joe Biden slams Donald Trump for linking him to violence and accuses president of 'poisoning our very democracy' in Pittsburgh speech denouncing rival's leadership

Joe Biden ridiculed President Donald Trump for some of the attacks he's made about the Democrat, while making the case he's the president who can bring people together, the opposite of Trump, who Biden said was 'poisoning our very democracy.'  
'You know me, you know my heart, you know my story, my family story - ask yourself, do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really?' Biden said from Mill 19, a converted steel mill, on a Monday trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pushing back on team Trump's assertion that Biden's a leftist in cahoots with the most destructive protesters.  
Biden used the speech to show support for the families of black people killed or wounded by the police - including George Floyd and Jacob Blake - but also to denounce the rioting and destruction that has occurred in recent days, blasting Trump for 'stoking violence in our cities.'   
Democratic nominee Joe Biden ridiculed President Donald Trump and his campaign for some of the attacks being made against the Democrat. 'Ask yourself, do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really?'
Democratic nominee Joe Biden ridiculed President Donald Trump and his campaign for some of the attacks being made against the Democrat. 'Ask yourself, do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really?'
Joe Biden made his remarks in front of an audience of reporters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Monday, as the Democrat hasn't had rallies since early March because of COVID-19 concerns
Joe Biden made his remarks in front of an audience of reporters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Monday, as the Democrat hasn't had rallies since early March because of COVID-19 concerns
Biden says Trump can't stop violence as he 'fomented it'
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Joe Biden (left) delivered pizza to firefighters in Pittsburgh after he delivered a speech there Monday
Joe Biden (left) delivered pizza to firefighters in Pittsburgh after he delivered a speech there Monday 
Joe Biden (left) paid a quick trip to the Pittsburgh Firefighters Local Number 1 and brought firefighters some pizza
Joe Biden (left) paid a quick trip to the Pittsburgh Firefighters Local Number 1 and brought firefighters some pizza 
Democratic nominee Joe Biden posed for a group photo with members of Pittsburgh Firefighters Local Number 1
Democratic nominee Joe Biden posed for a group photo with members of Pittsburgh Firefighters Local Number 1 
Joe Biden engages with firefighters and the press during a campaign stop Monday in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Joe Biden engages with firefighters and the press during a campaign stop Monday in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 
Joe Biden traveled to Pittsburgh Monday to deliver remarks about how President Donald Trump is contributing to the race-fueled disorder playing out in the streets of several American cities
Joe Biden traveled to Pittsburgh Monday to deliver remarks about how President Donald Trump is contributing to the race-fueled disorder playing out in the streets of several American cities
Biden mocks Trump's talking points in speech on protest violence
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'I want to make it absolutely clear, so I'm going to be very clear about all of this. Rioting is not protesting, looting is not protesting, setting fires is not protesting. None of this is protesting.' 
'It's lawlessness plain and simple,' Biden said. 
'Violence will not bring change, it will only bring destruction,' he continued. 'It's not what Dr. King or John Lewis taught,' he said of the late civil rights leaders. 'And it must end.' 
He then focused on Trump's role in the escalating clashes that happened over the weekend between Black Lives Matter demonstrators, police, and Trump-aligned groups.  
'He can't stop the violence - because for years he has fomented it,' Biden said. 
'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. 
Over the weekend, Trump supporters drove into Portland and hit Black Lives Matter demonstrators with paint balls and pepper spray. Things escalated to the point where one Trump supporter was killed.   
Biden condemned the escalation in a statement Sunday.    
'I condemn violence of every kind by anyone, whether on the left or the right. And I challenge Donald Trump to do the same,' the former vice president said. 
Portland was preceded by the killing of two Black Lives Matter-aligned protesters, allegedly by 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, a Trump supporter in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where Blake, a black man, had been shot in the back by police in front of his children. 
Trump is headed to Kenosha, Tuesday, but is not expected to meet with Blake's family. Instead he'll speak with law enforcement and survey property damage. The state's Democratic governor has asked Trump to stay away, but the president has refused, setting up the scene for another escalation.  
'Does anyone believe there will be less violence in America if Donald Trump is re-elected?' Biden asked during his speech. 
The Democratic nominee accused Trump of using the chaos as a 'political lifeline.'   
'Having failed to protect this nation from a virus that has killed more than 180,000 Americans, Trump posts all cap tweets screaming "LAW AND ORDER" to save his campaign,' Biden said. 
'One of his closest political advisers in the White House doesn't even bother to speak in code. She just comes out and says it: "The more chaos - and violence - the better it is for Trump's reelection,"' Biden continued. 
He was referring to comments made by the outgoing counselor to the president, Kellyanne Conway.    
'The more chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence reigns, the better it is for the very clear choice on who’s best on public safety and law and order,' Conway said on 'Fox & Friends' last week.  
'This is a sitting president of the United States. He's supposed to be protecting this country,' Biden scoffed. 'But instead he's rooting for chaos and violence.' 
Biden then cast himself as the person who could fix it, pointing out that he had talked to Blake's family members and visited relatives of Floyd, a black man who was kneed in the neck by a white officer until he passed out and died on Memorial Day, inspiring the first round of Black Lives Matter protests.  
'I believe I can bring those fighting for racial justice to the table,' Biden said. 
'I have worked with the police in this country for over forty years. I know most cops are good and decent people. I know the risk they take every day with their lives,' he continued. 
'And I am confident I can bring the police to the table,' the former vice president added.    
Biden has long been hitting Trump on his COVID-19 repsonse and wrapped that into the speech as well.  
'We are facing multiple crisis - crisis that, under Donald Trump, keep multiplying: COVID, economic devastation, unwarranted police violence, emboldened white nationalists, a reckoning on race, declining faith in a bright American future,' he said. 
'The common thread? An incumbent president who makes things worse, not better,' Biden said. 'An incumbent president who sows chaos rather than providing order,' he said. 
Several times, Biden asked Americans if they felt 'safer' under Trump. 
'Mr. Trump - you want to talk about fear? Do you know what people are afraid of in America? They're afraid they're going to get COVID. They're afraid they're going to get sick and die. And that is in no small part because of you.' 
Biden also pushed that Americans felt less safe because Trump was trying to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and Social Security. 
And he argued that Americans felt left safe because Trump was disappointing them in global affairs too.   
'The Kremlin has put bounties on the heads of American soldiers,' Biden said. 'And instead of telling Vladimir Putin that there will be a heavy price to pay if they dare touch an American soldier - this president doesn't even bring up the subject in a phone call.' 
In Syria too, when Russian forces recently injured American troops, 'the president didn't say a word. He didn't lift a finger,' Biden charged.   
'Never before has an American president played such a subservient role to a Russian leader,' Bidens aid. It's not only dangerous - it's an embarrassment. Not even America's troops can feel safer under Trump.'
'Donald Trump's role as a bystander in his own presidency extends to the economic pain being felt by millions of Americans,' the former vice president added. 
Biden used parts of the speech to push back on ways Trump has tried to characterize him.  
He pointed to how Trump has been running advertisements against him, warning voters of what will happen in 'Biden's America,' using imagery from the past few weeks. 
'Trump and Pence are running on this - and I find it fascinating - "you won't be safe in Joe Biden's America,' Biden said. 
'What's their proof? The violence we're seeing in Donald Trump's America. These are not images of some imagined Joe Biden America in the future, these are images of Donald Trump's America today,' Biden continued. 
'He keeps telling you, if only he was president, it wouldn't happen. If he was president, you'd feel safe. Well he is president, whether he knows it or not,' Biden said. 
Biden also pushed back on some of the ways Trump has tried to hurt him in Pennsylvania specifically.
'I am not banning fracking. Let me say that again, I am not banning fracking. No matter how many times Donald Trump lies about me,' Biden said. 
Biden ended the speech by calling Trump 'a toxic presence in our nation for four years.' 
'Poisoning how we talk to one another. Poisoning how we treat one another. Poisoning the values this nation has always held dear. Poisoning our very democracy,' Biden said. 
'Now - in just a little over 60 days - we have a decision to make,' Biden said. 'Will we rid ourselves of this toxin? Or will we make it a permanent part of our national character?'  
Trump responded to the speech by tweeting, 'Just watched what Biden had to say. To me, he’s blaming the Police far more than he’s blaming the Rioters, Anarchists, Agitators, and Looters, which he could never blame or he would lose the Radical Left Bernie supports!' 
Biden didn't respond to reporters' questions when he left the Pittsburgh venue, including why he didn't give the address in Kenosha instead. 
Later Monday afternoon, as he delivered pizza to firefighters on Pittsburgh, Biden suggested he could be making a Wisconsin trip soon. 
'I’m checking it out now. We hope to be able to do that,' Biden said, ignoring a reporter's follow-up question about the appropriateness of Trump's Tuesday trip. 
Biden was briefly screamed at by a heckler standing on top of a white truck as he arrived at Firefighters Local Number 1, who yelled at the former vice president, 'Where's Hunter?' and said Pennsylvania wouldn't vote for him. 
'Don't jump!' Biden responded and then ignored him, according to the print pooler. 
Joe Biden greets reporters at the New Castle Airport in New Castle, Delaware, before heading to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to deliver a speech Monday
Joe Biden greets reporters at the New Castle Airport in New Castle, Delaware, before heading to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to deliver a speech Monday 
Joe Biden boards a charter plane bound for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Monday. Trump campaign officials said that Biden is 'clearly rattled,' which is why he moved up his swing state travel by a week
Joe Biden boards a charter plane bound for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Monday. Trump campaign officials said that Biden is 'clearly rattled,' which is why he moved up his swing state travel by a week 
President Donald Trump used Twitter Monday to suggest that Democrats had 'lost control of their "movement,'" after there were escalations in violence over the weekend
President Donald Trump used Twitter Monday to suggest that Democrats had 'lost control of their 'movement,'' after there were escalations in violence over the weekend 
President Donald Trump suggested that 'slow Joe' was coming out of his Delaware basement because 'Anarchists & Agitators got carried away'
President Donald Trump suggested that 'slow Joe' was coming out of his Delaware basement because 'Anarchists & Agitators got carried away' 
Earlier Monday Trump had continued to place the blame of the continued clashes between protesters of different ideologies and the police on the 'Radical Left Mayors & Governors of Cities,' tweeting that they 'lost control of their 'movement.'' 
'It wasn't supposed to be like this, but the Anarchists & Agitators got carried away and don't listen anymore - even forced Slow Joe out of the basement,' the president wrote. 
Biden, who has been trying to show a clear distinction between how he views the coronavirus threat compared to the president, flew to Pittsburgh on a charter plane and only had reporters in his audience. 
It was the same format Biden used when he delivered his remarks to the Democratic National Convention earlier this month from Wilmington, Delaware.  
Trump, on the other hand, invited 1,500 people to the White House for his Republican National Convention speech last Thursday, where most didn't wear masks nor practice social distancing. 
Biden said last week that he planned to start traveling to swing states after the Labor Day holiday. 
Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller floated that Biden was 'clearly rattled' and 'panicking,' which is why he moved up his campaign travel a week.   
Pennsylvania continues to be a key swing state in the November election.
On a Trump campaign call with reporters Monday, campaign officials had the sheriff of Butler County, Pennsylvania, Michael Slupe, deliver remarks, tying leftist protesters with Biden. 
'They are Joe Biden supporters. They are ruining America!' Slupe yelled during the call. 'These are not peaceful protesters. They are criminals.'  
Trump will also visit Western Pennsylvania on Thursday, appearing at the Latrobe airport for an evening campaign event. 
While Pittsburgh votes heavily Democratic, the outskirts - including Butler and Westmoreland County, where Latrobe is located - tend to be more red, and could help decide Trump and Biden's fate in the state.  

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