“He talked about how nothing was going to defeat him. How whether he walked again or not, he was not going to give up,” Biden said.
His comments came at a meeting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the site of Blake’s shooting, with local political, law enforcement, religious and nonprofit leaders. Earlier Thursday, Biden had met privately in Milwaukee with members of Blake’s family, who he said put him on the phone with Blake, who is out of the intensive care unit. He said he had spoken about faith with Blake.
“What I came away with was the overwhelming sense of resilience and optimism that they have about the kind of response they’re getting,” Biden said. “His mom talked about — my wife asked to say a prayer. And his mom said a prayer. She said, ‘I’m praying for Jacob and I’m praying for the policeman as well. I’m praying that things change.’ “
Biden’s trip to Wisconsin, which focused on racial injustice, was his first trip as the nominee to one of the nation’s most important swing states in November’s general election. It came the same week he lambasted President Donald Trump’s handling of racial injustice and police brutality in a speech in Pittsburgh.
Biden met in Milwaukee with Blake’s father, brother and two sisters, with Blake’s mother and attorneys joining by phone.
Blake attorney Ben Crump tweeted a statement saying that it had been a “very engaging” 90-minute meeting.
“It was very obvious that Vice President Biden cared, as he extended to Jacob Jr. a sense of humanity, treating him as a person worthy of consideration and prayer,” Crump said.
The Milwaukee meeting with Blake’s family was followed by the community event in Kenosha, where the shooting has ignited a new wave of protests over police brutality and racial injustice — as well as looting, property damage and violence, including a 17-year-old who has been charged with killing two protesters.
Biden condemned violence and damage. “Regardless of how angry you are, if you loot or you burn you ought to be held accountable. Period,” he said. “It just cannot be tolerated.”
But he largely focused on racial injustice, saying he was not “pessimistic” about the prospects for progress — particularly if Trump is defeated.
“I promise you, win or lose, I’m going to go down fighting. I’m going to go down fighting for racial equality; equity across the board,” Biden said.
In the ad, Harris lays out a police reform agenda, saying she and Biden would create a national standard on use of force and condition police departments’ federal funding on whether they adopt that standard; and said the United States should rein in qualified immunity, which makes it difficult to sue police officers who abuse their authority.
He also condemned violence, looting and property damage — and lambasted Trump for failing to condemn, and partially praising, Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old charged with allegedly killing two protesters in Kenosha.
“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,” Biden said. “Violence will not bring change, it will only bring destruction. It’s wrong in every way.”
While in Kenosha Tuesday, Trump did not meet with the family of Blake. Trump claimed that he’s not meeting with Blake’s family during his Wisconsin visit because they wanted to involve lawyers. The pastors of Blake’s mother, Julia Jackson, took part in one event.
“The fact is that we’ve seen tremendous violence and we will put it out very, very quickly if given the chance,” he said.