Speaking with anchor Jesse Watters, Pence accused Biden of supporting riots and violent protesters.
“We see in Joe Biden a willingness to align himself with people that are rioting on the streets, destroying the property and livelihoods, claiming the lives of innocent civilians and law enforcement officers, and yet not speaking a word on behalf of those that have been victims,” the vice president said.
Mass protests broke out following the death of George Floyd. Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, died in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department after former officer Derek Chauvin pinned him to the ground and knelt on his neck. Some of the demonstrations against police brutality turned violent, leading to clashes between protesters and officers.
Biden, the Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, has indeed criticized Trump’s response to the protests. However, he has also repeatedly condemned violence and looting. For instance, in a statement released on May 31, the former vice president expressed support for peaceful protests, denouncing “violence that endangers lives.”
Trump has also been criticized for allegedly ordering security forces to disperse the protests outside the White House. The president has been accused of ordering a crackdown on the demonstration in order to get to the St. John’s Episcopal Church and pose for photographs.
According to Pence, Trump’s visit to St. John’s Episcopal Church was meant to demonstrate that “burning churches” will not be tolerated by the Trump administration.
— Watters' World (@WattersWorld) June 6, 2020
Biden was not the only prominent political figure to criticize Trump’s response to the demonstrations. Retired Lieutenant General Russel Honoré — who oversaw the military response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 — said that the commander-in-chief is trying to use the military “as his personal protectors.”
Honoré and more than 200 former senior diplomats and military leaders signed a formal letter condemning Trump’s response to the protests. The officials wrote that the U.S. military has “no role” in dealing with Americans exercising their free speech rights.
Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis accused Trump of exploiting the national crisis to divide the United States. Pence described Mattis’ claims as “wrong,” stating that Trump has, in fact, done the opposite.
“What this president has done in recent days is what every American expects a president to do in times of crisis. And that is put the lives and the property and the liberty of every American first,” he said.