Politics

Biden 'furious' over Trump's call for violence against Americans in Minneapolis protests of George Floyd death

Key Points
  • Former vice president Joe Biden said he is "furious" over President Donald Trump "calling for violence against American citizens" during the protests in Minneapolis over the death in police hands of a black man, George Floyd.
  • The president, after a police precinct in Minneapolis was torched by protestors, had written on Twitter that he was willing to send the National Guard to deal with the chaos, and that "when the looting starts, the shooting starts."
  • Twitter labeled Trump's tweet as "glorifying violence."
  • Biden called Floyds death just the latest in a series of injustices stemming from racism against black people, which Biden said was the "original sin" of the United States that "still stains" the nation.
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden is seen at War Memorial Plaza during Memorial Day, amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in New Castle, Delaware, U.S. May 25, 2020.
Carlos Barria | Reuters

Former vice president Joe Biden on Friday said he is "furious" over President Donald Trump "calling for violence against American citizens" during the protests in Minneapolis over the death in police hands of a black man, George Floyd.

"Enough," wrote Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, in a tweet thread responding to Twitter posts from Trump.

The president early Friday, after a police precinct in Minneapolis was torched by protestors, wrote on Twitter that he was willing to send the National Guard to deal with the chaos, adding: "when the looting starts, the shooting starts."

At the time of Trump's tweet, the Minneapolis National Guard had already been activated by the state's governor, Tim Walz.

Biden said in remarks that were live-streamed on the Internet later Friday that he had spoken with Floyd's family.

He called Floyd's death "an act of brutality" that was just the latest in a series of injustices stemming from racism against black people, which Biden said was the "original sin" of the United States, which "still stains" the nation.

"An act of brutality so elemental, it did more than deny one more black man in America his civil rights and human rights. It denied him of his very humanity, it denied him of his life," Biden said of Floyd.

"This is national crisis, and we need real leadership right now," Biden said. "We need justice for George Floyd. We need real police reform."

Biden directly thanked Floyd's family for talking to him and said, "I promise you, I promise you, we'll do everything in our power to see that justice is had."

VIDEO3:1803:18
Ex-Minneapolis policeman arrested after violent protests erupt across U.S. over death of George Floyd

Biden's earlier tweet thread referenced the arrest Friday morning on live television by Minnesota state police of Omar Jimenez, a CNN reporter who was covering the protests in response to Floyd's death. Jimenez soon after was released.

"This is not abstract: a black reporter was arrested while doing his job this morning, while the white police officer who killed George Floyd remains free. I am glad swift action was taken, but this, to me, says everything," Biden wrote.

"I will not lift the President's tweet. I will not give him that amplification," Biden wrote.

"But he is calling for violence against American citizens during a moment of pain for so many. I'm furious, and you should be too."

Hours after Biden posted his tweets, and right before he delivered his livestreamed remarks, authorities announced the arrest of  now-former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd's neck Monday.

National Guard members walk at the area in the aftermath of a protest after a white police officer was caught on a bystander's video pressing his knee into the neck of African-American man George Floyd, who later died at a hospital, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., May 29, 2020.
Carlos Barria | Reuters

Floyd can be heard telling cops, repeatedly, "I can't breathe," on a video of the incident. In addition to Chauvin, the four other officers involved in Floyd's arrest, which came after a report of a forgery, were fired Tuesday.

On Thursday, Hennepin County, Minnesota, prosecutor Mike Freeman had said, "That video is graphic and horrific and terrible, and no person should do that."

"But my job, in the end, is to prove that he violated a criminal offense, and there is other evidence that does not support a criminal charge."

Within hours of Freeman speaking, the Third Police Precinct in Minneapolis was overrun by protestors and set on fire.

VIDEO1:5701:57
Images from protests in Minneapolis over death of George Floyd

Trump soon after tweeted: "I can't stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right....."

″....These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won't let that happen," Trump tweeted. "Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!"

Twitter then slapped a warning label on Trump's tweet, saying: "This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain accessible."

Trump and Twitter have feuded for days.

Earlier this week, the social media platform, which is Trump's favored means of communicating with the public, put fact-check labels on some of his tweets that made misleading claims about mail-in voting. On Thursday, Trump signed an executive order that aims to undercut the liability protection granted Twitter and other social media companies for content posted by third parties on their sites.

The Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party earlier this week announced that Biden would deliver remarks as part of their "virtual" state convention over this weekend.

But the party on Friday afternoon said it is postponing the speaking and training portion of the convention until an unspecified time due to the situation surrounding Floyd's death, which is called a "murder."

DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin in a statement said, "This was the only appropriate course of action given the grief and anger gripping much of our state and nation following the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent unrest sweeping the Twin Cities. Now is not the time for a partisan political rally."

The party said in a statement that, "The electronic balloting which started earlier this  week will continue and the endorsement for U.S. Senate and party elections will be announced publicly after the ballots have been counted."