Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden is seen at War Memorial Plaza during Memorial Day, amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in New Castle, Delaware, U.S. May 25, 2020.
Carlos Barria | Reuters
Former vice president Joe Biden on Friday said he is “furious” over President Donald Trump “calling for violence against American citizens” during the protests in Minneapolis over the death in police hands of a black man, George Floyd.
“Enough,” wrote Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, in a tweet thread responding to Twitter posts from Trump.
The president early Friday, after a police precinct in Minneapolis was torched by protestors, wrote on Twitter that he was willing to send the National Guard to deal with the chaos, adding: “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
At the time of Trump’s tweet, the Minneapolis National Guard had already been activated by the state’s governor, Tim Walz.
Biden’s thread also referenced the arrest Friday morning on live television by Minnesota state police of Omar Jimenez, a CNN reporter who was covering the protests in response to Floyd’s death. Jimenez soon after was released.
“This is not abstract: a black reporter was arrested while doing his job this morning, while the white police officer who killed George Floyd remains free. I am glad swift action was taken, but this, to me, says everything,” Biden wrote.
“I will not lift the President’s tweet. I will not give him that amplification,” Biden wrote.
“But he is calling for violence against American citizens during a moment of pain for so many. I’m furious, and you should be too.”
Biden added: “I will be speaking more about the events in Minnesota later today.”
National Guard members walk at the area in the aftermath of a protest after a white police officer was caught on a bystander’s video pressing his knee into the neck of African-American man George Floyd, who later died at a hospital, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., May 29, 2020.
Carlos Barria | Reuters
Floyd died Monday after one of several officers responding to a report of a forgery knelt on his neck.
Floyd can be heard telling cops, repeatedly, “I can’t breathe,” on a video of the incident.
Although the four officers involved in the case were fired Tuesday none of them has been criminally charged, a fact that has fueled the protests.
On Thursday, Hennepin County, Minnesota, prosecutor Mike Freeman said, “That video is graphic and horrific and terrible, and no person should do that.”
“But my job, in the end, is to prove that he violated a criminal offense, and there is other evidence that does not support a criminal charge.”
Within hours of Freeman speaking, the Third Police Precinct in Minneapolis was overrun by protestors and set on fire.
Trump soon after tweeted: “I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right…..”
″….These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen,” Trump tweeted. “Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”
Twitter then slapped a warning label on Trump’s tweet, saying: “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”
The Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party earlier this week announced that Biden would deliver remarks as part of their “virtual” state convention over this weekend.
Biden was listed as part of a speaking roster for Sunday, which also includes Walz and Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
Party officials did not immediately respond to NBC News when asked if the events in Minneapolis will affect the convention’s plans.