Seeking to console a nation riven by nights of violence with a promise to heal its racial wounds, former vice president Joe Biden on Tuesday will bluntly criticize President Trump’s decision a night earlier to clear protesters from a Washington street so he could pose with a Bible in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church, according to speech excerpts released in advance.
“When peaceful protesters are dispersed by the order of the President from the doorstep of the people’s house, the White House — using tear gas and flash grenades — in order to stage a photo op at a noble church, we can be forgiven for believing that the president is more interested in power than in principle,” the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee plans to say, according to the excerpts released by his campaign.
“More interested in serving the passions of his base than the needs of the people in his care,” he plans to add. “For that’s what the presidency is: a duty of care — to all of us, not just our voters, not just our donors, but all of us.”
The remarks will be delivered at Philadelphia’s City Hall. Philadelphia was also where Barack Obama delivered a heralded speech on race relations more than 12 years ago, titled “A More Perfect Union.”
Part of the Biden speech will speak to the nation’s concerns over police brutality, with plans to use the words of George Floyd — “I can’t breathe” — as a mantra. Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after a police officer knelt on his neck in Minneapolis.