31 August 2020

Joe Biden accuses Donald Trump of ‘fanning the flames of hate’ after Portland protests at the weekend

Democrat elect Joe Biden has accused president Donald Trump of ‘fanning the flames of hate’ and ‘encouraging violence’ after he praised protesters in Portland over the weekend.

Violence broke out on Saturday in the city after tensions rose between Trump supporters and Black Lives Matter attendants and Biden has said he condemns ‘violence of every kind by anyone, whether on the left or the right’.

"As a country, we must condemn the incitement of hate and resentment that led to this deadly clash," said Biden.

"It is not a peaceful protest when you go out spoiling for a fight. What does President Trump think will happen when he continues to insist on fanning the flames of hate and division in our society and using the politics of fear to whip up his supporters?"

He then referenced Trump’s praise for his supporters in Portland on Twitter as the president called them ‘great patriots’.

"[Trump] He is recklessly encouraging violence. He may believe tweeting about law and order makes him strong – but his failure to call on his supporters to stop seeking conflict shows just how weak he is. 

“He may think that war in our streets is good for his re-election chances, but that is not presidential leadership–or even basic human compassion.”

And Biden concluded by saying this is why Trump ‘can’t be president’ as Americans are ‘less safe’ with him in charge.

"The job of a President is to lower the temperature. To bring people who disagree with one another together. To make life better for all Americans, not just those who agree with us, support us, or vote for us.

"Donald Trump has been president for almost four years. The temperature in the country is higher, tensions run stronger, divisions run deeper. And all of us are less safe because Donald Trump can’t do the job of the American president."

Protests in Portland have been taking place since the death of George Floyd in May but they have become more volatile in recent weeks.

Violence in the city was sparked after Trump ordered federal troops to police the city in July, though they have now been withdrawn.

Clashes between both groups of protesters were documented on social media with videos of both sides throwing missiles at one another.

The police are investigating the death of a man shot on Saturday but it is not immediately clear if the incident is the result of the tension between protesters.

Trump said on Sunday the clashes in Portland should be expected due to the incompetence of the Mayor.

"The big backlash going on in Portland cannot be unexpected after 95 days of watching and incompetent Mayor admit that he has no idea what he is doing," he said on Twitter.

"The people of Portland won't put up with no safety any longer. The Mayor is a FOOL. Bring in the National Guard!"

Democrat Mayor Ted Wheeler hit back: "It's you who have created the hate and the division," he said.

"You have tried to divide us more than any other figure in modern history, and now you want me to stop the violence that you helped create. What America needs is for you to be stopped."

In response Trump wrote: "The Radical Left Democrat Mayors, like the dummy running Portland, or the guy right now in his basement unwilling to lead or even speak out against crime, will never be able to do it!"

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