Politics & Policy

Biden: MAGA Mob Would ‘Have Been Treated Very, Very Differently’ If They Were BLM

President-elect Joe Biden speaks about the violence that took place at the U.S. Capitol in Wilmington, Del., January 7, 2021. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

President-elect Joe Biden claimed Thursday that “if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting” at the Capitol on Wednesday, they would “have been treated very, very differently than the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol.”

Biden, who did not address the fact that one woman was shot and killed by police during the riot, said his granddaughter, a senior at the University of Pennsylvania, prompted the comparison by sending him a picture of National Guard at the Lincoln Memorial during the riots that rocked D.C. in June. The image has been circulating on social media in the wake of the riots as part of a meme suggesting that the rioters were treated with kid gloves because they were predominantly white. “Pop, this isn’t fair,” Biden recalled her saying.

“Totally unacceptable,” Biden said. “The American people saw it in plain view, and I hope it sensitizes them to what we have to do.”

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris echoed Biden’s rhetoric, saying that “we witnessed two systems of justice when we saw one that let extremists storm the United States Capitol, and another that released tear gas on peaceful protesters last summer.”

Following the May death of George Floyd while police custody in Minneapolis, daily protests in Washington turned into nightly riots, where provocateurs attacked police, looted, and burned buildings.

Over the worst of the summer violence in D.C., when dozens of business were damaged, police made 106 arrests from May 30 to the morning of June 1, though most felony riot charges were subsequently dropped. On Thursday, Metropolitan Police Department chief Robert Contee said that 68 people were arrested related to the events at the Capitol, and both federal and local authorities were actively pursuing more.

Law enforcement was widely criticized after apparently using tear gas and rubber bullets to clear protests out of Lafayette Square on June 1, ahead of a visit by President Trump to historic St. John’s Episcopal Church, which had been set on fire the night before. But no lethal force was used against protestors over the course of the unrest.

At the time, Biden condemned Trump for his actions, saying that “I will seek to heal the racial wounds that have long plagued this country – not use them for political gain.”

He also criticized the Trump administration’s decision to send in Department of Homeland Security agents to protect the federal courthouse in Portland from violent left-wing, anarchical mobs, saying the move was sowing “chaos and division.”

“Homeland Security agents — without a clearly defined mandate or authority — are ranging far from federal property, stripped of badges and insignia and identifying markings, to detain people,” Biden said. “They are brutally attacking peaceful protesters, including a U.S. Navy veteran.”

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