Last Updated on August 31, 2020
Former Vice President and current presidential candidate Joe Biden made his first public statement condemning violence, rioting, looting, and arson instigated by Black Lives Matter and Antifa activists Monday, though he completely omitted any reference to those groups and instead pontificated about “right wing militia, white supremacists and vigilantes with assault weapons.”
Biden’s statement came after the murder of Trump supporter Aaron Danielson in Portland over the weekend, which was referenced by Republican candidate President Donald Trump on Twitter.
“The senseless violence of looting and burning and destruction of property… I want to make it absolutely clear, let me very clear about all of this, rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting. Setting fires is not protesting,” Biden said.
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“It’s lawlessness, plain and simple. And those who do it should be prosecuted. Violence will not bring change. It’ll only bring destruction.”
Biden also queried rhetorically, “Do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really?”
Joe Biden: “Rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting. Setting fires is not protesting. None of this is protesting. It's lawlessness, plain and simple. And those who do it should be prosecuted. Violence will not bring change. It'll only bring destruction.” pic.twitter.com/BCwnb7QUte
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) August 31, 2020
The former Vice President appeared to omit any reference in his remarks to the left-wing militant groups Black Lives Matter and Antifa, who have been solely responsible for the violence, rioting, looting and arson he condemned in the statement.
Biden also implied that the real source of violence are right wing militants: “[Trump’s] got no problem with right wing militia, white supremacists and vigilantes with assault weapons, often better armed than the police, often in the middle of the violence.”
The “vigilantes with assault weapons” line is a reference to 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who reportedly shot three Black Lives Matter activists who attacked him with thrown objects, a skateboard, and handguns.
Rittenhouse has since been charged with “first-degree intentional homicide,” a charge that does not align with video evidence of the incident that shows him acting in self-defense.