Ahead of Trump’s nomination acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention on Thursday, Biden addressed the violence in Wisconsin sparked by the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man shot seven times in his back, leaving him paralyzed.
“He views this as a political benefit. He’s rooting for more violence, not less,” Biden said during an interview with MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell, pointing to comments from White House adviser Kellyanne Conway calling the protests a political boost for Trump. (Watch below.)
“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, who is stepping down from her White House job next week, said earlier on Thursday.
Biden also responded to Vice President Mike Pence’s RNC speech in which he said people “won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America” and depicted the election as a choice between “law and order” and lawlessness.
“The problem we have right now is we’re in Donald Trump’s America,” Biden said on MSNBC. “COVID is out of control.”
He added: “What bothers me the most, is that he’s pouring gasoline on the racial flames that are burning now. ... This is a real problem, and it keeps getting worse under this president.”
Hundreds of people have been demonstrating against police brutality in Kenosha since video of the shooting, which is under federal investigation, was posted online. Fires set during protests left many buildings damaged or destroyed. A 17-year-old white youth who joined other heavily armed vigilantes at the protests was charged with shooting three people, killing two. The suspect, Kyle Rittenhouse, attended a Trump rally in January.
“I condemn violence in any form, whether it’s looting or whatever it is,” Biden said in Thursday’s interview. He questioned why the right hasn’t denounced “some of the militia folks” at the protests or the 17-year-old accused gunman.
Biden also declined to take House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s advice that he refuse to debate Trump. The House leader said any debate with the president would “belittle” the forum and “legitimize” conversation with him.
“I’m going to debate him,” Biden said. “I’m going to be a fact-checker on the floor, while I’m debating him.”
Watch Biden’s interview with Andrea Mitchell: