Joe Biden calls the fight to reopen US schools amid the coronavirus a "national emergency" and accuses President Donald Trump of turning his back on passion rather than unrest in America's cities.
The Democratic presidential candidate's broadsides came a day before his own trip to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where Biden said he wanted to help "heal" a city ravaged by another police shooting of a black man. The wounding of Jacob Blake and subsequent demonstrations have made the political battlefield state a focal point of the debate over police and protest violence and the actions of vigilante militias.
Biden attacked Trump for slandering protesters and dealing with the pandemic that killed nearly 190,000 Americans and paralyzed the economy. Millions of people were unemployed, schools struggled to deal with students in classrooms or at home, and parents struggled to keep up. An American president, said Trump's challenger, should be able to deal with multiple crises at the same time.
"Where's the President? Why isn't he working on it? "Asked Biden." We need emergency aid for our schools – and we need it now. Mr President, that is your job. That is what you should focus on – getting our children back to school. Do not cause fear and division – no violence on ours Trigger roads. "
Trump responded almost immediately with his own event in North Carolina, where he broadly described the protests as "violent mobs here at home" facing a strong show of force. "These people know one thing: strength," he said. If local leaders asked about federal muscles, Trump said, "We did it in an hour."
Trump later tweeted, "My administration will do everything in its power to prevent weak mayors and lawless cities from taking federal dollars while anarchists harm people, burn buildings, and ruin lives and businesses." To that end, he signed a memorandum instructing the agencies to review federal funds sent to Seattle, New York City, Washington and Portland, Oregon.
The opposing events of Biden and Trump reflected the clear fault lines of the general election campaign. Each man sees the other as a threat to the everyday security of Americans, but Trump is using "law and order" as his rallying cry, while Biden is pushing a wider referendum on Trump's competence, temperament and values.
Biden said Wednesday that he would use the federal disaster law in place to channel the funds to schools to help them reopen safely, and he urged Trump to "leave Twitter" and make a deal with Congress negotiate more pandemic aid. He reiterated his claims that a full economic recovery is not possible with COVID-19 still underway and that safely reopening schools is a necessary part of both limiting the spread of the virus and getting parents back to work .
The Trump campaign found in response that the president asked Congress for $ 105 billion for school aid.
Addressing the ongoing riot over racial injustice and policing, Biden told reporters he believed the Kenosha officer who shot Blake should "be charged". Biden also filed charges for the death of Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was killed by police at her Louisville, Kentucky home in March. Biden did not name specific charges and said the authorities should conduct a full investigation.
Biden also called for legal action against citizens who have committed violence amid rioting, a direct response to Trump's continued claims that Biden supports violent protests.
The former vice president said he plans to meet with state and business leaders and law enforcement agencies in Kenosha. He will also meet with members of the Blake family; He's already spoken to some of them on the phone. Blake remains in the hospital after being shot seven times in the back by police when he tried to get into a car while authorities were trying to arrest him.
"We have to put things together, bring people together," said Biden, adding that he "would not tell Kenosha what to do" but encourage citizens to "talk about what to do". The President, he said, "keeps throwing gasoline on the fire" and "encourages people to retreat to their corners".
Trump made his own foray into Kenosha on Tuesday, underscoring his blanket support for law enforcement while blaming "domestic terror" for looting and arson in the city. The violence included the burning of several buildings and the murder of two protesters by a 17-year-old who said he went to Kenosha armed to help protect companies. He is now in custody.
Before his remarks on Wednesday, Biden and his wife Jill, a longtime community college professor and former high school teacher, met with public health experts. He showed up and said Trump's inaction on school aid had left an arbitrary response at the national level.
Biden said he does not want to usurp the power of local authorities to decide how the classes should be conducted. However, he said the federal government should make the local systems financially complete as they add significant costs to software for virtual teaching, personal protective equipment for on-site staff, and reducing class size for social distancing in schools that bring students to campus .
When Trump and Biden dueled on Wednesday, the organizers of the presidential debate announced moderators for the fall. Fox News' Chris Wallace will chair the debate on September 29th, followed by C-SPAN's Steve Scully on October 15 and NBC's Kristin Welker on October 22nd.
Also ahead of his Wisconsin trip, Biden's campaign launched a $ 45 million ad purchase for a minute-long ad saying his condemnation of violence during a speech Monday, along with allegations that Trump was "fueling" the unrest. The ad in English and Spanish will appear on national cable networks and in local markets in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
“Violence will not bring about change. It will only bring destruction, "says Biden in the ad. Trump, he says, "shows how weak he is" by "not asking his own supporters to stop acting as an armed militia".
It is in response to a consistent accusation from Trump and his allies: "You will not be safe in Joe Biden's America." Indeed, in Kenosha, Trump toured a block charred by protesters' fire, calling the destruction "anti-American" and suggesting that Biden's election would ensure similar scenes in US cities across the country.
The ad started when the Biden campaign announced a record $ 360 million for August. Biden said Wednesday the money will enable an aggressive advertising campaign to counter "lies" from Trump, such as the president's mistaken claims that Biden did not denounce violent protesters and that he was "trying to disappoint the police."
Trump's advisors hope his stance will divert attention from the pandemic that all but crippled the nation in the president's fourth year in office. They also believe the tactic helps Trump attract white voters in the suburbs and suburbs, key elements of his 2016 coalition. Trump won Wisconsin in 2016 by less than 1 percentage point, becoming the first Republican to rule the state since Ronald Reagan in 1984 won.
Biden's trip on Thursday marks the first time since 2012 that a Democratic presidential candidate has been fighting in Wisconsin. Hillary Clinton did not fight in the state after losing the 2016 primary, one of the reasons often cited for Trump's narrow victory.
Barrow reported from Atlanta. Associate press reporters Jonathan Lemire in Washington, Scott Bauer in Madison, Wisconsin, and Kevin Freking in Wilmington, North Carolina contributed.