Election 2020 Biden

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Del., Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, about school reopenings. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WILMINGTON, Del. — Joe Biden is calling the struggle to reopen US schools amid the Coronavirus a “national emergency” and accusing President Donald Trump of turning his back to instead stoke passions about unrest in America’s cities.

The Democratic presidential nominee’s broadsides came a day ahead of his own trip to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where Biden said he wants to help “heal” a city reeling from another police shooting of a Black man. The wounding of Jacob Blake and subsequent demonstrations have made the political battleground state a focal point for debate over police and protest violence, as well as the actions of vigilante militias.

Biden assailed Trump for his vilifying of protesters as well as his handling of the pandemic that has killed nearly 190,000 Americans and crippled the national economy, leaving millions out of work, schools straining to deal with students in classrooms or at home and parents struggling to keep up. An American president, Trump’s challenger declared, should be able to lead through multiple crises at the same time.

“Where is the president? Why isn’t he working on this?,” Biden asked. “We need emergency support funding for our schools — and we need it now. Mr. President, that is your job. That’s what you should be focused on — getting our kids back to school. Not whipping up fear and division — not inciting violence in our streets.”

Trump answered almost immediately with his own event in North Carolina, where he continued casting the protests generally as “violent mobs here at home” that must be met with a strong show of force. “These people know one thing: strength,” he said. If local leaders would ask for federal muscle, Trump said, “We’ll have it done in one hour.”

The opposing events reflected the clear fault lines of the general election campaign. Each man casts the other as a threat to Americans’ day-to-day security, but Trump uses “law and order” as his rallying cry while Biden pushes a broad referendum on Trump’s competence and thinking.

Biden said Wednesday that he’d use existing federal disaster law to direct funding to schools to help them reopen safely, and he urged Trump to “get off Twitter” and “negotiate a deal” with Congress on more pandemic aid. He repeated his assertions that a full economic recovery isn’t possible with COVID-19 still raging, and that reopening schools safely is a necessary part of both limiting the virus’ spread and allowing parents to return to work.

Addressing the ongoing unrest over racial injustice and policing, Biden told reporters he believes the Kenosha officer who shot Blake “needs to be charged.”

Biden also called for legal action on citizens who’ve committed violence as part of civil unrest, a direct answer to Trump’s continued assertions that Biden backs violent protests.

The former vice president said he plans to meet in Kenosha with civic and business leaders and law enforcement. He’s already been in contact with Blake’s family. Blake remains hospitalized after he was shot seven times in the back by police as he was trying to get into a car while police were trying to arrest him.

Trump made his own foray to Kenosha on Tuesday, underscoring his blanket support for law enforcement, while blaming “domestic terror” for looting and arson that’s taken place in the city. The violence included the burning of several buildings and the killing of two protesters by a 17-year-old, who said he went to Kenosha, armed, to help protect businesses. He is now in custody.

Before his remarks Wednesday, Biden and his wife, Jill, a longtime community college professor and former high school teacher, met with public health experts. He emerged saying Trump’s inaction on school aid has left a haphazard response nationally.

(2) comments

Jimzan

Hidin Joe Biden....a Huge Coward...and a Sell-Out. China loves Biden and his son Hunter...The Bidens owe China.

Jimzan

Hidin Biden has no platform to run on....he has been a politician for over 40+ years and has done "nothing" to improve society. President Trump has been in politics 3+ years and Biden (the loser) blames him for all the B.S. going on....Get real... Biden is weak, and pathetic, and will sell us out to China in a flash.China hates Trump, and released C-Vid as a gift for Biden, to help him win the Nov 3rd vote ...it backfired. China loves Biden as does all of our enemies...Biden is Pathetic....as is Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Adam Schiff and Nadler....weasels with one agenda...to regain power.

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