On Sunday morning, following the cold-blooded ambush in which two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were shot in the head as they sat in their patrol car, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden studiously avoided ascribing the brutal act to the possible mentality of viewing the police as “systemically racist,” a charge he made specifically at least once.
Instead, Biden tweeted, “Violence of any kind is wrong; those who commit it should be caught and punished.”
This cold-blooded shooting is unconscionable and the perpetrator must be brought to justice.
Violence of any kind is wrong; those who commit it should be caught and punished.
Jill and I are keeping the deputies and their loved ones in our hearts and praying for a full recovery. https://t.co/330QfeIUGg
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 13, 2020
Biden has not been reticent to call the police systemically racist; in June, CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell asked him, “Do you believe there is systemic racism in law enforcement?”
“Absolutely,” Biden responded. “But it’s not just in law enforcement, it’s across the board. It’s in housing, it’s in education, and it’s in everything we do. It’s real. It’s genuine. It’s serious. And it is — it is able to be dealt with. Look, not all law enforcement officers are racist; my lord, there are some really good, good cops out there. But the way in which it works right now is we’ve seen too many examples of it.”
After the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Biden issued a statement in late August in which he again accused police of systemic racism, writing:
Yesterday in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back as police attempted to restrain him from getting into his car. His children watched from inside the car and bystanders watched in disbelief. And this morning, the nation wakes up yet again with grief and outrage that yet another Black American is a victim of excessive force. This calls for an immediate, full and transparent investigation and the officers must be held accountable.
These shots pierce the soul of our nation. Jill and I pray for Jacob’s recovery and for his children.
Equal justice has not been real for Black Americans and so many others. We are at an inflection point. We must dismantle systemic racism. It is the urgent task before us. We must fight to honor the ideals laid in the original American promise, which we are yet to attain: That all men and women are created equal, but more importantly that they must be treated equally.
Biden gave a speech on September 3 in which he once again condemned President Trump for his remarks after the 2017 Charlottesville rally, misrepresenting Trump as defending white supremacists. Biden stated:
And I hadn’t planned on running for anything again after my son had died. I was a professor at college and running another program at another college. Until I saw those people coming out of Charlottesville, carrying torches, literally torches coming out of the fields. Close your eyes. Remember what you saw on television. Their veins bulging, their [hate-filled] speech, chanting the same anti-Semitic bile that was chanted in the streets of Germany in the 30s. On top of that, accompanied by white supremacists, Ku Klux Klan. A young woman was killed protesting those folks.
And the President of United States was asked, he was asked, “What do you think?” And he said something no president’s ever, ever said. He said, “There are very fine people on both sides.” No president has ever said anything like that. The generic point I’m making is—not all his fault, but it legitimizes. It legitimizes the dark side of human nature.
Biden then stated that the institutionalized “underlying racism” in the United States had led to the Kenosha shooting: “And what it did though, it also exposed what had not been paid enough attention to, the underlying racism that is institutionalized in the United States still exists, has existed for 400 years. So what’s happened is that we end up in a circumstance like you had here in Kenosha and have here in Kenosha.”