Joe Biden slams President Trump over nationwide violence in Pittsburgh speech

PITTSBURGH — Do you feel safe in America under President Donald Trump? That marked the central theme of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s speech at a Carnegie Mellon University facility outside of Pittsburgh on Monday.

Biden began his scathing attack of Trump’s presidency by recalling a message from President Franklin Roosevelt, who told the American people the news was going to get worse before it gets better. Biden said the people deserve to hear the candid truth “straight from the shoulder” and said Trump was not capable of doing that.

He accused the sitting president of stoking violence across the country’s major cities, calling it “senseless violence.” Biden stressed the things we’ve seen across the nation, including in Pittsburgh, would not bring about any change, only that it destroys neighborhoods and family businesses.

“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. “Fires are burning, and we have a president who fans the flames,” he said.

In regard to the nationwide calls for social justice, Biden said he has personally spoken to the families of George Floyd and Jacob Blake. Both families reportedly told him that the violence, rioting and looting are not things that either Floyd or Blake would have wanted.

“I know the justice they seek and so do you,” he said.

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The Democratic Party’s nominee also repeatedly mentioned what he called Trump’s failure to protect the country from the coronavirus. He said more police officers have died from COVID-19 than have died on patrol, more than 180,000 people died from the virus in less than six months, and that there was an average of 1,000 people a day dying from COVID-19 in August. Biden said more people have died from the virus than in all of the country’s military conflicts since the Korean War.

Another major point Biden touched on was the economy. He said Trump took the good economic climate that he and former President Barack Obama had created and “drove it into the ditch.” Biden insisted three times that he was not banning fracking and that 1 in 6 businesses are sitting closed because of Trump. He said Trump wants to defund Social Security and mentioned a recent report that found Trump’s plan would bankrupt the program by the middle of 2023 with no ability for the agency to pay out benefits after that.

“We need healing,” Biden said.

Biden called Trump “a toxic presence” in the country and said the president has been “poisoning” how people treat one another for four years.

“Will we rid ourselves of this toxin or make it a permanent part of our nation’s character?” he asked.

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Following Biden’s speech, a spokesperson for the Republican National Committee sent Channel 11 a statement:

“When the protests in Pittsburgh turned violent and chaotic over three months ago Joe Biden hid in his basement and said nothing, allowing the rioting and looting to spiral out of control across the country. Make no mistake about it, Joe Biden welcomed the rioting and looting with open arms while President Trump is the only one who has been calling for law and order from the beginning.”

President Donald Trump is expected to speak Monday evening. He is also scheduled to make a campaign stop in the Pittsburgh area later in the week.

Following Biden’s speech, The White House tweeted that violent crime rates fell in the country after Trump took office.

You can watch Channel 11′s full one-on-one interview with with Joe Biden below: