President Donald Trump seems “more interested in power than principles,” Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said Tuesday after the president threatened to use military force to quell the protests that have shaken more than 70 cities in the United States.
“When peaceful protesters are dispersed on the president’s orders from the doorstep of the town’s home, the White House, using tear gas and flash-bangs to stage a photo op in a noble church, we can be forgiven for believing that the president is more interested in power than principle,” Biden said, speaking before the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, mayor’s office.
Former Vice President Biden added that Trump is “more interested in satisfying the passions of his voters than the needs of the citizenry entrusted to him.
Shortly before nightfall on Monday, security forces violently dispersed hundreds of people protesting loudly but peacefully in Lafayette Square in front of the White House a week after George Floyd, a Black man, was killed by Minneapolis (Minnesota) police officers.
The assault by the cops, captured on videotapes taken by passersby, has sparked protests in which more than 26 states have mobilized their National Guard, and more than 50 cities have been under curfew at night.
Trump, accompanied by members of his government, crossed the plaza between two lines of soldiers and police and arrived at St. John’s Episcopal Church, damaged in the riot the night before, and raising a Bible in his right hand, warned that he would use military force to stop the protests.
“‘I can’t breathe’ were the last words of George Floyd. But those words did not die with him. They can still be heard. They resonate across the country,” Biden added.
“‘Those words speak to a nation where too often the color of your skin endangers your life. They speak to a nation where more than 100,000 people have lost their lives to a virus and 40 million people have lost their jobs, with a disproportionate number of those deaths and those layoffs concentrated in the black and minority communities,” said the also former Delaware Senator.
“The presidency is a huge job,” he added. “No one will do everything right, and neither will I. But I do promise you this: I will not spread fear and division. I will not fan the flames of hate. I will seek to heal the racial wounds that have so long plagued this nation, rather than use them for political gain.
Biden, 77, had gained a substantial advantage in the Democratic Party primary process until the pandemic forced a suspension of the primary last March. Since then, Biden has won the support of nearly all of his former competitors, and of prominent figures within the party.
Polls almost unanimously show that, if the election were held now, Biden would win more votes than Trump, whose popularity has been plummeting due to his confused and contradictory handling of the COVID-19 emergency, and an economic crisis that has brought unemployment to levels not seen since the Great Depression in the 1930s.