During a campaign stop in Michigan, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden criticized what he called President Trump’s repeated “failure to condemn” domestic terrorism.
After congratulating Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on her ability to “step up” and lead “in moments of crisis,” Biden said that Trump’s April tweet to “liberate Michigan” galvanized domestic terrorists to action.
“We’re grateful to the FBI and law enforcement who discovered these domestic terrorists and stopped them. Make no mistake — that’s who they are — domestic terrorists. … It’s the sort of behavior you might expect from ISIS. It [should] shock the conscience of every American,” Biden said in Southfield during an address about healthcare.
“And the failure to condemn these folks from the outset is stunning,” the former vice president continued. “You might remember, you’ve heard me say it before — words matter. And the words of a president particularly matter. When the president tweeted, ‘Liberate Michigan,’ … that’s the call that was heard. That was the dog whistle. Just like when he said there were ‘very fine people’ in Charlottesville.”
In April, as states issued increasingly strict lockdown measures to address the coronavirus pandemic, Trump sent a series of tweets urging residents in states led by Democratic governors to resist certain measures and reopen the state economies. All of the states Trump tweeted about were experiencing protests against the stay-at-home orders.
Biden said it was Trump’s failure to condemn white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville in 2017 that first compelled him to run for president in the 2020 election.
“I thought there was a need to stand up to hate in America,” he said Friday.
“Hate never goes away. It only hides,” Biden said. “And if you give it oxygen, it comes out from under the rocks. It grows. We need to be clear from the president on down in this country there is no place for hate in this country. Period. None. It will not be tolerated. President Trump revels in division and chaos. He’ll do anything to distract us from focusing on his failures to deal with this virus and protect the nation. He’s still living in a dream world.”
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