- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 3, 2020

Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden met Thursday with Jacob Blake’s family in Wisconsin, putting his stamp on the national debate over policing and racial injustice and seizing the opportunity to accuse President Trump of legitimizing the “dark side of human nature.”

It marked Mr. Biden’s second foray out of his home state this week, showing he is serious about assuming a bigger presence on the campaign trail in the closing weeks of the race for the White House.

Mr. Biden’s trip included a meeting with Mr. Blake’s family and a roundtable event in Kenosha, where he said Mr. Trump has stoked the flames of hate.

“The words of a president matter,” Mr. Biden said at Grace Lutheran Church. “Hate only hides and when someone in authority breathes oxygen under that rock, it legitimizes those folks to come on out.”

Kenosha, a city on Lake Michigan, has suffered violent protests since a police officer shot Mr. Blake seven times in the back when trying to arrest him. A cellphone video of the shooting sparked a new round of protests against racial injustice that sometimes turned violent, including deadly shootings.

Mr. Biden’s visit came two days after Mr. Trump traveled to Kenosha to assess the damage and following the Republican National Convention, where Mr. Biden was called out for not condemning the ugly side of the protests and of selling out police.

Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said Mr. Biden’s trip smacked of desperation.

Joe Biden made a political trip to Kenosha today — his first visit to Wisconsin — after months of saying he could not travel because of the science of coronavirus,” Mr. Murtaugh said. “What changed was political science, as he knows he is in serious decline in the polls.”

Law enforcement officials in Wisconsin found a knife in the shooting victim’s vehicle after the incident and reported Mr. Blake was wanted for arrest on a charge of felony sexual assault.

On Thursday, Mr. Biden spoke with 29-year-old, who was paralyzed after the shooting, over the phone during his private meeting with his family.

“The family was grateful for the meeting and was very impressed that the Bidens were so engaged and willing to really listen,” Ben Crump, the family’s attorney, said in a statement.

Mr. Biden’s meeting with the family took place as disturbing details emerged about a “Jacob Blake” account on Facebook, which showed a photo of Jason Blake Sr. and included an Aug. 23 post that, “My son is alive and stable.”

Earlier posts on the account accused Jewish people of controlling the media and financial institutions; mocked White people as “crackers” and “pink toes;” described certain women as “hoes,” and expressed support for the Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan.

“The same pink toe Jewish people that control the interest rate control the interest rate they control Minds and money,” Mr. Blake Sr. posted on Nov. 6, 2017.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, told reporters on Thursday that he didn’t want either Mr. Biden or Mr. Trump to visit the state during such a sensitive time amid the pandemic.

Mr. Biden, however, felt it was important to get involved in the political debate over the Aug. 23 police shooting of Mr. Blake, and a chance to draw a clear contrast with Mr. Trump.

Mr. Biden also rolled out a new joint television ad with his running mate Sen. Kamala D. Harris of California, that trumpets the urgent need to overhaul police policies.

“Why in this nation do Black Americans wake up knowing that they could lose their life in the course of just living their life?” Mr. Biden says in the ad. “Now is the time for racial justice.”

The focus on policing and racial unrest has soared in the wake of the Blake shooting and ensuing protests and rioting that have decimated parts of Kenosha.

Police were trying to arrest Mr. Blake on the felony sexual assault warrant, according to dispatch records and the Kenosha Professional Police Association.

Raysean White, who shot the video, told The Associated Press that he heard police officers shout “Drop the knife!” before gunfire erupted, but said he didn’t see a knife in Mr. Blake’s hands.

Mr. Blake later told investigators that he had a knife in his possession. Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul confirmed that officers “recovered a knife from the driver’s side floorboard” of his car.

Police found no other weapon in the vehicle.

At the church, Mr. Biden struck an upbeat note about the future.

“I really am optimistic,” Mr. Biden said. “I promise you, win or lose, I’m going to go down fighting. I’m going to go down fighting for racial equality, equity across the board.”

The Trump campaign, meanwhile, blasted out a clip from the meeting in which Mr. Biden signaled that he plans to raise taxes but stopped short of filling in all the details.

“Not going to lay out for you, I won’t now because they’ll shoot me,” Mr. Biden said.

Mr. Murtaugh, the Trump campaign spokesman, said it is clear the campaign doesn’t trust Mr. Biden in public after one of the women who questioned him admitted that she was told to go off a script.

“Nevertheless, Americans didn’t hear any denunciation of Antifa or any other left-wing agitators who have rioted in American cities from coast to coast,” Mr. Murtaugh said.

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