- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 9, 2016

With the nation in turmoil over the ambush murders of police officers and police killings of minorities, Vice President Joseph R. Biden urged Americans Saturday to stand together.

“As Americans, we are wounded by all of these deaths,” Mr. Biden said in the administration’s weekly address. “While we’re being tested, we can’t be pulled apart. We are America, with bonds that hold us together.”

The vice president said the shooting deaths of five Dallas police officers by a black Army reserve veteran Thursday night “touched the soul of the nation.”

“Those killed and wounded were protecting the safety of those who were peacefully protesting against racial injustices in the criminal justice system,” Mr. Biden said. “I believe the Dallas Police Department is one of the finest in the nation— and this incredibly diverse city can bridge any divide.”

Protests against two high-profile police shootings of black men have taken place in major cities such as New York, Atlanta and Phoenix, Arizona, while police say officers were targeted in other ambushes in Tennessee, Georgia and Missouri.

The vice president gave the weekly address instead of President Obama, who is attending a NATO summit in Poland. The White House said that Mr. Obama will cut short his European trip Sunday night and visit Dallas early next week in the hope of calming tensions.

The president called the slayings of the police officers in Dallas, and the wounding of seven other officers, a “vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement.”

Mr. Obama has been criticized for speaking out against police bias against minorities several hours before the Dallas officers were ambushed during a Black Lives Matter protest. The sniper told police before he was killed that he plotted to kill white officers.

William Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, said Friday on Fox News that there was “a war on cops,” and that the administration was to blame for appeasing people who attack the police.

Mr. Biden said Americans must find a common purpose through the protests on both sides.

“It’s on all of us to stand up, to speak out about disparities in our criminal justice system— just as it’s on all of us to stand up for the police who protect us in our communities every day,” Mr. Biden said. “In the days and weeks ahead, we’ll continue offering our thoughts and prayers to provide comfort to the broken-hearted families. But they will only be redeemed by the courage of our actions that honor their memories.”

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