Tens of thousands of social media users are posting memes that claim that Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, has been silent for over three months on the issues of rioting and violence and has only just denounced them because of a dip in the polls. This claim is false: Joe Biden has denounced riots since protests after the death, just over three months ago, of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was killed after a white police officer knelt on his neck.
The posts ( here , here , here , here , here ), shared over 30,000 times show a picture of Joe Biden accompanied by the text, “Turns out, Americans don’t like violence in their streets. So after 3 months of silence and slipping poll numbers, I’m now against rioting.” Similar variations include, “Turns out people don’t like seeing their country destroyed. So, after 90 days of silence, and a dip in the polls, I’m now against rioting.”
The death of George Floyd on May 25 sparked protests across the United States and while some have been peaceful, escalated to violence (here). As of August 30, protests have continued every night in Portland, Oregon, since the end of May (here).
On August 30, Joe Biden condemned violence at protests in Portland (here) by releasing a statement on his campaign website (here), which said, “The deadly violence we saw overnight in Portland is unacceptable […] as a country we must condemn the incitement of hate and resentment that led to this deadly clash. It is not a peaceful protest when you go out spoiling for a fight.” (More here )
On seeing the Biden campaign’s statement, Jason Miller, a senior adviser to the Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, said on Twitter, “Joe Biden has sat idly by for months, refusing to condemn violence and chaos from his allies in Democrat-run cities.” (here)
However, after George Floyd’s death, Joe Biden repeatedly condemned violent protests. In a May 31 post on his blog shortly after George Floyd’s death, he wrote, “Protesting such brutality is right and necessary. It’s an utterly American response. But burning down communities and needless destruction is not. Violence that endangers lives is not.” ( here , here ).
At a speech in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 2, he said, “There’s no place for violence, no place for looting or destroying property or burning churches or destroying businesses […] we need to distinguish between legitimate peaceful protest and opportunistic violent destruction” (here).
On July 28, Biden also condemned violent protests at a speech in Wilmington, Delaware, as seen here at the 8 minute 24 second mark.
False. Before he spoke out against violence in Portland at the end of August, Biden had condemned violent protests soon after the death of George Floyd on May 25 and in subsequent speeches.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here .
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