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)
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)

“[Trump] keeps telling you if only he was president it wouldn’t happen. He keeps telling us if he was president you would feel safe. Well – he is president. Whether he knows it or not.”

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden forcefully asked voters to consider if they feel safe in Donald Trump’s America during a speech on Monday, pointing out how the president has encouraged violence and racism during his term. 

“He says ‘you won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America,’ but these are not not images of some imagined Joe Biden America in the future, these are images of Donald Trump’s America today,” Biden said in a speech in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “He keeps telling you it wouldn’t happen if he were president. He keeps telling us that if he were president you’d feel safe. Well, he is president, whether he knows it or not, and it is happening and it’s getting worse.” 

Biden also said Trump is encouraging violence by not condemning it.

“He refuses to even acknowledge that there’s a racial justice problem in America, because he won’t stand up to any form of violence,” he said. “He’s got no problem with right wing militias, white supremacists or vigilantes with assault weapons who are often better armed than police officers.”

Biden himself called out any violence during the speech.

“I want to be very clear about all of this: Rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting. Setting fires is not protesting. None of this is protesting. It’s lawlessness, plain and simple. And those who do it should be prosecuted,” he said. Biden said those tactics are in opposition with the positions of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rep. John Lewis. “We must not burn. We have to build,” he said. 

Biden then called out Trump’s handling of the virus, noting that more people have died since the beginning of the pandemic than at any other time in the last 100 years. 

“More than 180,000 lives in just six months, an average of a thousand people dying every day in the month of August,” he said. 

Biden noted that he already has experience tackling some of America’s biggest problems, and did so without endangering communities. 

“I’d make sure that every mayor and governor had the support they need from the federal government and I wouldn’t be looking to use the United States military against our own people,” Biden said in reference to supplies for combatting COVID-19 and the Trump administration sending federal police without identification to round-up protesters. “If I were president, my language would be less divisive, I’d be looking to lower the temperature of this country, not raise it. I’d be looking to unite the nation.” 

He pointed out that under the Obama administration, violent crime fell about 15%, “and we did it without chaos and disorder,” he said.

“The murder rate now is up 26% across the nation this year under Donald Trump. Do you really feel safer under Donald Trump?”  

Biden finished his remarks on a message of hope. 

“America is an idea. It’s the most powerful idea in the history of the world and I believe it beats in the hearts of the people of this country, all men and women are created equal,” he said. “If I have anything to do with it, it will be again a generous, confident and optimistic nation full of hope and resolve…This is the United States of America, there’s not a single thing beyond our capacity.”