Former Vice President Joe Biden is defying disease and Democratic precedent to make the journey to Kenosha on Thursday. His mission, besides campaigning for president, is to supposedly “heal” the divisions in Kenosha.
Biden’s visit follows a visit on Tuesday by President Donald Trump. The president promised federal aid to the city following three days of rioting, looting and arson.
The rioting was in response to the shooting of an African American, Jacob Blake, who ignored police orders to drop a knife before attempting to enter a vehicle with children inside. The shooting is currently under investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice run by Attorney General Josh Kaul, a Democrat.
The violence ended when a sufficient force of the National Guard was finally deployed in the city, but not until after two people were killed and a third wounded during confrontations involving 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse of Antioch, IL, who has been charged with 1st degree murder. Rittenhouse’s lawyers are claiming he shot the rioters in self-defense.
Biden is making his first campaign appearance in Wisconsin. He did not even come to Wisconsin during his own Democratic National Convention which was supposed to be held in Milwaukee. Instead, blaming the Covid-19 pandemic, Biden remained in Delaware, and so did much of the convention.
Now that Trump visited Kenosha and toured the torched ruins of some downtown businesses, Biden will suddenly ignore the pandemic and make the trip to Kenosha, too.
It will be interesting to see how Biden even attempts to play the role of healer in Kenosha. Before any facts were known, Biden condemned the police for the shooting, calling it “needless violence” and said “what I saw on that video makes me sick.”
Biden then said he promised Blake’s family “justice must and will be done,” as if he already decided the police were wrong to shoot Blake.
As more evidence has emerged in the case about why Blake was at that home when he was not supposed to be there, why the police were called, how he resisted arrest, and the fact that he was armed, Biden is still willing to condemn the police before the investigation is complete.
Biden said on Wednesday he believed the officers involved should be charged with a crime.
“I think we should let the judicial system work its way,” he said according to the BBC. “I do think at a minimum, they need to be charged, the officers.”
How will rhetoric like this from the Democratic nominee for president heal Kenosha, especially if Kaul’s Justice Department concludes the shooting of Blake was justified? If the officers involved are not charged, what will Biden say then? Will Biden throw his fellow Democrat Kaul under the bus if the result of the investigation leads to more rioting?
While we’re at it, perhaps Biden might remember when former President Barack Obama stumbled into his own controversy when he commented on the arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr before all of the facts were known. After all, Biden was there for the subsequent “beer summit” with Gates and the officer who arrested him, Obama’s attempt to control the damage from his remarks.
Unfortunately for Biden, a few beers are not going to fix things if he continues attacking the Kenosha police while the investigation is ongoing.
Biden has at least condemned the violence and called for an end to the riots in Kenosha and elsewhere. Regardless if it was political calculation or a sincere (if belated) desire to see an end to the violence in America’s largest cities, Biden’s statements are a welcome change to much of the excuse-making for riots on the Democratic side. However, how is it that Biden can’t see that his anti-police rhetoric can cause more harm to him and the country in the long run?
Governor Tony Evers sent a letter to Trump asking him to not visit Kenosha on Tuesday because the president might have said something divisive. Evers, of course, knows all about saying the wrong things when riots threaten a Wisconsin city.
No, Evers should not ask Biden to stay away from Kenosha. Perhaps the governor could interrupt one of his naps long enough to call Biden and suggest the Democratic nominee cool it on the anti-police rhetoric, lest Biden say the wrong thing on Thursday and provide more fuel for riots in Kenosha.