Joe Biden Condemns Antifa Violence as Riots Have Campaign Reeling

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event at Mill 19 in Pittsburgh, Pa., Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo

Former Vice President Joe Biden condemned Antifa violence on Monday, telling a local Pennsylvania NBC affiliate he abhorred violence “no matter who” the perpetrator was.

Biden, whose campaign has struggled to respond to the protests and riots spawned by the shooting of Jacob Blake, told WGAL during a Labor Day trip in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, that criticism by President Donald Trump and Republicans over his stance on the violence witnessed in America’s cities was inaccurate.

“I’ve condemned it across the board,” Biden said. “The president still hasn’t condemned the far-right folks coming out and protesting and using violence.”

When questioned specifically on the topic of Antifa, which has been at the center of some protests and riots in areas like Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, the former vice president condemned the movement, saying he was opposed to violence “no matter who it is” causing it.

Biden’s repudiation of Antifa comes as the presidential race appears to have tightened. A slew of new polls indicate the Republican National Convention, coupled with concerns over social unrest in America’s cities, is boosting Trump’s chances for reelection.

The former vice president’s position appears to have particularly deteriorated in Wisconsin and Minnesota, the two 2020 battlegrounds most impacted by rioting and disorder. Earlier this year, polling found the former vice president comfortably ahead of Trump in both states. In recent weeks, however, as unrest has marred each of the jurisdictions, the incumbent has seen a rise in support.

In Wisconsin, in particular, the race appears to be tightening, with the incumbent witnessing a steady rise in support since the rioting began. Similarly, throughout the month of August, a survey by Marquette University found that support for the Black Lives Matter movement and protests linked with the cause has plunged across the Badger State.

The situation has a number of Democrat strategists worried that a backlash against Biden could be brewing among suburban and swing voters. Both constituencies are considered must-win if Democrats have any hope of winning the White House in November.

Biden, himself, appears to be taking the threat seriously. Last week, the former vice president’s campaign announced they were launching a $45 million ad buy across the Midwest highlighting the candidate’s opposition to rioting and lawlessness.

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