Former Vice President Joe Biden left his home on Sunday afternoon to visit Wilmington, Delaware, where protests erupted the night before to demand justice for the death of George Floyd.
In photographs and videos posted to his Instagram account, a masked Biden was seen talking and taking photos with people, who were also masked, at the site.
“We are a nation in pain, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us,” Biden, who has made public appearances only twice in the past two months amid the coronavirus pandemic, wrote in a photo caption:
Several cities saw peaceful protests turn violent on Saturday night. In Wilmington, some demonstrators began looting businesses as night fell. Surveying the damage the next morning, Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) blamed a small band of bad actors for the destruction while lauding Wilmingtonians who had focused “on the good,” the Delaware News Journal reported.
Hours later, hundreds of protesters took to the city’s streets again, chanting Floyd’s name and calling for the end of police violence. Floyd died last Monday after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck.
“I cannot breathe,” Floyd told the officer. “Please man, I can’t breathe.”
Biden was among several prominent politicians who have urged protesters to continue to voice their anger and frustration without resorting to violence. In a statement released on Sunday, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said protesting the brutality that Floyd and others have endured “is right and necessary. It’s an utterly American response.”
“But burning down communities and needless destruction is not,” Biden stated.
“The act of protesting should never be allowed to overshadow the reason we protest. It should not drive people away from the just cause that protest is meant to advance,” he added.
In response to the demonstrations, President Donald Trump reportedly rebuffed advice from campaign advisers to deliver a nationally televised address on Sunday and remained out of sight. However, he continued tweeting, mocking Biden and blaming “anarchists,” “antifa” and the “Lamestream Media” for the violence on America’s streets:
Get tough Democrat Mayors and Governors. These people are ANARCHISTS. Call in our National Guard NOW. The World is watching and laughing at you and Sleepy Joe. Is this what America wants? NO!!!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2020
The Lamestream Media is doing everything within their power to foment hatred and anarchy. As long as everybody understands what they are doing, that they are FAKE NEWS and truly bad people with a sick agenda, we can easily work through them to GREATNESS!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2020
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated incorrectly that Wilmington, Delaware, had imposed a curfew on Sunday. The city has not.
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