The latest on Kenosha police shooting of Jacob Blake

By Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 8:44 p.m. ET, August 31, 2020
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4:22 p.m. ET, August 31, 2020

Biden calls Trump a "toxic presence in our nation"

From CNN's Sarah Mucha

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event at Mill 19 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on August 31.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event at Mill 19 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on August 31. Carolyn Kaster/AP

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden delivered a blistering condemnation of President Trump in his remarks in Pittsburg this afternoon, calling him a "toxic presence in our nation."

"Donald Trump has been a toxic presence in our nation for four years," he said. "Poisoning how we talk to one another. Poisoning how we treat one another. Poisoning the values this nation has always held dear. Poisoning to our democracy."

"Will we rid ourselves of this toxin or will we make it a permanent part of our nation’s character?" Biden asked.

4:24 p.m. ET, August 31, 2020

White House press secretary won't condemn armed vigilantes 

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal 

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks during a briefing on August 31 in Washington, DC.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks during a briefing on August 31 in Washington, DC. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany refused to denounce armed vigilantes taking to the streets during a press briefing Monday. 

Asked if the White House believes that citizens should stop showing up in cities, especially ones they don’t live in, with weapons to protect buildings, McEnany didn’t directly answer. 

“This White House believes our police should be fully funded,” she responded. “We should have more police rather than less, we shouldn’t criticize our police because it is our police officers who are responsible for taking to the streets and protecting us.”

“We need to fund our police officers because they should be the ones out patrolling the streets,” McEnany added.

4:31 p.m. ET, August 31, 2020

Biden: "Do I look to you like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters?"

From CNN's Sarah Mucha

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks at campaign event on August, 31 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks at campaign event on August, 31 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Carolyn Kaster

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden took the Trump campaign's talking points that paint him as a "radical leftist" to task in his remarks in Pittsburgh Monday afternoon, saying "The road back begins now, in this campaign. You know me. You know my heart, and you know my story, my family’s story. Ask yourself: Do I look to you like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters?" 

"He’s supposed to be protecting this country but instead he is rooting for chaos and violence," Biden said of President Trump. 

"'You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America.'" Biden quoted. "And what’s their proof? The violence you’re seeing in Donald Trump’s America. These are not images from some imagined 'Joe Biden’s America' in the future. These are images from Donald Trump’s America today." 

He said he believes that if he were president currently, the country would be safer "and we'd be seeing a lot less violence."

2:54 p.m. ET, August 31, 2020

Biden: "Trump failed to protect America, so now he is trying to scare America"

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden decried the leadership of President Trump during the civil unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He blamed Trump for trying to "scare America" instead of protecting the country.

"This is a sitting president of the United States of America. He's supposed to be protecting this country. But instead he's rooting for chaos and violence. The simple truth is Donald Trump failed to protect America," Biden said in remarks delivered from Pittsburgh. "So now he is trying to scare America."

Biden also accused the President of not being able to stop the violence because for years "he's fomented it."

"Fires are burning, and we have a President who fans the flames rather than fighting the flames. But it must not burn. We have to build. This President long ago forfeited any moral leadership in this country. He can't stop the violence because for years he's fomented it," he said.

"It isn't about my brand. It is about you, the American people. We can do better. And we have to do better. I promise you this. We will do better. You know, the road back begins now," Biden said.

Watch:

2:24 p.m. ET, August 31, 2020

Biden condemns looting and violence: "None of this is protesting"

From CNN's Sarah Mucha

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden began his remarks in Pittsburgh by declaring that President Trump "is incapable of telling us the truth, incapable of facing the facts. Incapable of healing."

He went on to condemn violent protestors.

"I want to make it absolutely clear, I'll be very clear about all 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.”  

Biden said those who do it "should be prosecuted, plain and simple" and added that violence does not bring change.

Watch:

1:33 p.m. ET, August 31, 2020

Trump doesn't have plans to meet with Blake's family in Kenosha, White House says

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Monday that there are not plans currently for President Trump to meet with the family of Jacob Blake while he’s in Kenosha, Wisconsin tomorrow. 

“Currently the plans are to meet with local law enforcement and some business owners and he’ll survey the damage. But there will be more detailed plans forthcoming when they’re announced," she said when asked by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins whether the President plans to meet with Jacob Blake’s family.

Following up, asked if there are currently no plans to meet with Blake’s family, McEnany added, “Not currently.” 

McEnany told another reporter that Trump was not willing to weigh in more on the incident involving Blake, adding that the investigation is ongoing. Nor would McEnany say whether Trump would take a side on the incident involving Kyle Rittenhouse, adding that an availability with reporters would take place with the President this afternoon. 

1:21 p.m. ET, August 31, 2020

Here's what Trump tweeted about Kenosha this morning

President Trump on Twitter this morning claimed "there would be no Kenosha right now" had he not insisted on activating the National Guard.

The tweet came a day before Trump is expected to travel to the city, where 29-year-old Jacob Blake was shot by police last week.

What we know about what's happening in Kenosha: Protests have raged in Kenosha following Blake's shooting. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday declared a state of emergency, deployed members of the Wisconsin National Guard to Kenosha and implemented an 8 p.m. CT curfew. Buildings and cars in Kenosha have been set on fire, and two people were killed and a third was seriously wounded in a shooting during a protest.

12:10 p.m. ET, August 31, 2020

Ahead of Biden's remarks, the Trump campaign says Trump does not condone violence

From CNN’s DJ Judd

On a call with reporters Monday, the Trump Campaign sought to prebuttal remarks expected later from Vice President Joe Biden in Pittsburgh where Biden is expected to argue President Trump “can’t stop the violence” in American cities “because for years he has fomented it.” 

The call, which was led by Trump Campaign Communications Director Tim Murtaugh, also featured Senior Adviser to the campaign Jason Miller, New York Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch, and Butler County Sheriff Michael Slupe. Slupe opened the call with the explosive claim that the people that are protesting now are not President Trump supporters but rather Joe Biden supporters.

“They are ruining America,” Slupe said Monday. “They're not peaceful demonstrators as they keep saying, peaceful means quiet, holding up a sign. These demonstrators are burning buildings, looting businesses, ruining their towns.”

Miller kicked off his portion of the call telling reporters, “I'd like to start out by pointing out the Joe Biden is clearly rattled after months of hiding in his basement and failing to stand up for the radical left wing mob that's taking over his campaign.”

“Biden has got his poll numbers tanking and his allies are panicking there's several good stories on this today, the Hill, Politico and others, and this is the only reason why finest leaving his Delaware basement,” Miller continued. “But Joe Biden's trapped. He can't condemn the radical left wing mob and groups like Antifa even the ‘Defund the Police’ movements because they're his political base.” 

Murtaugh closed the call with a full-throated defense of the president’s supporters, following a series of tweets that seemed to indicate the president’s support for acts of violence against protesters in Portland. 

“The President has never condoned violence of any kind, in American cities, American on American violence is unwarranted, uncalled for, and should be condemned wholly and fully,” he said.

The President has yet to condemn a 17 year old supporter who allegedly shot and killed two protesters last week in Kenosha, Wisconsin. 

12:08 p.m. ET, August 31, 2020

Biden will deliver speech on civil unrest and say Trump "makes things worse, not better"

From CNN's Eric Bradner

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden plans to blame President Trump for civic violence and racial unrest in a speech today in Pittsburgh as he begins to travel to swing states two months before the election.

Biden will say that Trump "makes things worse, not better" and "sows chaos rather than providing order," according to excerpts provided by his campaign ahead of the afternoon speech.

The former vice president's speech will be framed around a question he plans to pose: "Does anyone believe there will be less violence in America if Donald Trump is reelected?"

In recent weeks, Trump and his allies have cast the President as having no responsibility for what happens in Democratic-led cities. Biden on Monday will argue that Trump is to blame for the crises gripping the nation.

He plans to hammer Trump for the coronavirus pandemic and the economic collapse it caused, a reckoning over race and police violence and "emboldened white nationalists" — and say that Trump is "the common thread."

"This president long ago forfeited any moral leadership in this country. He can't stop the violence — because for years he has fomented it," Biden will say, according to the excerpts. "He may believe mouthing the words law and order makes him strong, but his failure to call on his own supporters to stop acting as an armed militia in this country shows you how weak he is."

The speech comes at a fraught moment, ahead of Trump's Tuesday trip — against the wishes of Wisconsin's Democratic governor, Tony Evers — to Kenosha, a city wracked with violence following the police shooting of a 29-year-old Black man, Jacob Blake, the property damage and looting that followed, and the killing of two protesters there.

Read more about Biden's speech here.