How Joe Biden, Donald Trump’s reactions to Jacob Blake shooting differ

  • Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and President Donald Trump painted two opposing perspectives on the issue of racial injustice in light of the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
  • The president has largely praised law enforcement policing the ongoing protests sparked by Blake’s shooting, condemned “rioters” and “looters,” and sought to paint Biden as a proponent of the “radical left.”
  • In a campaign speech in Pittsburgh on Monday, Biden said “Donald Trump adds fuel to every fire” because he overlooks that “there’s a racial justice problem in America.”
  • “You know me. You know my heart, and you know my story, my family’s story,” Biden said. “Ask yourself: Do I look to you like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really?”
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President Donald Trump told reporters Monday that he will not meet with the family of Jacob Blake during his Tuesday visit to Wisconsin, where protests have erupted after a Kenosha police officer shot Blake last week.

Hours earlier, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden accused Trump of refusing to “even acknowledge” the issue of racial injustice in the US.

In a campaign speech in Pennsylvania, Biden countered the Trump campaign’s attacks against him that people “won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America,” referencing violence that has emerged amid predominantly peaceful protests. Biden asked, “And what’s their proof? The violence we’re seeing in Donald Trump’s America.”

“He keeps telling us that if he was president, you’d feel safe. Well, he is president, whether he knows it or not,” Biden said, adding, “Trump adds fuel to every fire because he refuses to even acknowledge that there’s a racial justice problem in America because he won’t stand up to any form of violence.”

Trump hasn’t spoken with the Blake family. Biden and Harris did last week.

The president told reporters at the White House that he attempted to reach out to the Blake’s family but “thought it would be best not to do anything where there are lawyers involved.”

In a statement, Crump confirmed that Trump had reached out to arrange a phone call, but “he declined to have a call if Ms. Jackson’s legal team monitored the call.”

“The family’s primary objectives are to support Jacob’s recovery and to ensure justice for him,” the statement read. “If the call had occurred, Ms. Jackson was prepared to ask President Trump to watch the video of Mr. Blake’s shooting and to do what she has asked all of America to do — examine your heart.”

jacob blake family

Family of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot several times in the back by a police officer, arrive at a news conference outside the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on August 25, 2020.

Reuters/Stephen Maturen

Jacob Blake’s father told CNN on Friday that he spoke with Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris for an hour, describing the conversation as “so comforting.”

“I appreciate everything that they’ve done and everything that they’re doing, because they keep my son in mind, and President Biden kept telling me his own issues with his family that he identifies with what I’m going through,” Blake Sr. said, referring to Biden as the president. “I didn’t have to keep telling him, he knew it.”

‘Do I look to you like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really?’

During his campaign speech on Monday, Biden recalled his conversations with the Blake family and the family of George Floyd, saying, “I know their pain. And so do you. I know the justice they seek and so do you.”

“They’ve told us, ‘None of this violence respects or honors George [Floyd] or Jacob,'” Biden said. “I believe we can bring these folks fighting for racial justice to the table.”

Trump has consistently sought to lump Biden in with some violent agitators amid mostly peaceful protests against police brutality and racism in the US.

“For months, Joe Biden has given moral aid and comfort to the vandals repeating the monstrous lie that these were peaceful protests,” Trump said at the White House on Monday. “They’re not peaceful protests. That’s anarchy. That’s — you look at the agitators, you look at the looters, you look at the rioters — that’s not a peaceful protest.”

During his speech earlier on Monday, Biden again expressed his disdain for rioting and looting, saying “those who do it should be prosecuted.”

“You know me. You know my heart, and you know my story, my family’s story,” Biden said. “Ask yourself: Do I look to you like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really?”


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