Former Vice President Joe Biden offered his first direct condemnation of violence and rioting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Wednesday afternoon — three days after the unrest began, and two days after he condemned police for “systemic racism.”
As Breitbart News reported earlier Wednesday, neither Biden nor running mate Kamala Harris had condemned the riots personally:
On Sunday, Jacob Blake, 29, was shot and wounded by police in Kenosha during a confrontation. It is not clear whether he was armed or not; he is reportedly paralyzed from the waist down, though it is not yet clear if that injury will be permanent.
Protests erupted that evening, accompanied by rioting, looting, and arson. Biden issued a statement Monday blaming the shooting on “systemic racism,” and said nothing about the riots. His statement also left out key details about the shooting.
That night, riots returned — and were even worse, with several businesses burnt to the ground in Kenosha, including the Danish Brotherhood Lodge, a local community charity. A man who attempted to defend the building was brutally attacked.
On Tuesday, a Biden adviser issued a brief statement condemning the violence, referring to remarks Biden made in June condemning violence. That statement, however, appeared to blame police for riots, saying that they “escalate tension.”
The violence continued on Tuesday evening, with more looting and confrontation between armed groups. Some of those armed appeared to be defending private property, but the motivations of those involved in the shootings remain unconfirmed.
Supporters of the vice president’s campaign grew increasingly concerned about his silence. “Never Trump” Republican John Kasich appeared on CNN Wednesday morning and argued vehemently that Biden needed to address the shootings.
Biden tweeted a video in which he expressed outrage again at Blake’s shooting, then condemned “needless violence”:
Once again, a Black man — Jacob Blake — was shot by the police. In front of his children. It makes me sick.
Is this the country we want to be?
Needless violence won’t heal us. We need to end the violence — and peacefully come together to demand justice. pic.twitter.com/WdNqrxA3PK
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 26, 2020
Democratic state and local officials are being criticized for their slow response to the riots. A charitable organization whose building was destroyed in Kenosha told Breitbart News that there is “anger and disgust” with Gov. Tony Evers (D).
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.