Biden Provides Cautious Solutions on Breonna Taylor and the Supreme Courtroom
Less than six weeks into election day, Joseph R. Biden Jr. shied away on Wednesday from two major topics that were of great concern to the Democrats and gave cautious responses to reporters’ questions regarding the police shooting of Breonna Taylor and the upcoming nomination of President Trump to the Supreme Court.
Hours after a grand jury in Kentucky refused to charge officers with the murder of Ms. Taylor and charged one with endangering their neighbors in a robbery, when asked by a reporter, Mr. Biden replied that he “did not have the report seen”. and that he only knew broad information.
“I was told there was a charge against one of the officers. I don’t know the details, “said Mr. Biden before vowing to” find out “while flying home from Charlotte, NC
Urged for a more comprehensive answer, Mr. Biden replied again: “I don’t know the details so I hesitate to comment.”
Two hours later, he made a statement sent by his campaign.
“A federal investigation is still ongoing, but we don’t have to wait for the final verdict on that investigation to do more to meet Breonna,” Biden said in the statement. He said the use of “excessive force” needs to be addressed and an appeal against violence needs to be made.
On another critical issue, the Supreme Court gave a similarly tentative answer days before Mr Trump is expected to announce his candidates to fill the post vacated by the death of Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
When asked what he thinks of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who is believed to be Mr. Trump’s leading contender, Mr. Biden said, “I don’t know her. All I know is what’s been reported in the press ”before repeating his speeches to the Supreme Court.
Mr Biden’s reluctance to deal with top-of-mind issues reflected the risk averse approach he took in various facets of his campaign, including limited interactions with voters who could challenge him and relatively little exchanges with Reporters during a period of restricted travel and press availability due to the coronavirus.
And it underscores the gamble that Mr. Biden’s campaign has been making for months: American voters will reward his sober, measured attitude towards politics, which contrast sharply with that of Mr. Trump.
But presidential candidates tend not to be as prudent about issues that spark the grassroots of their parties – especially Biden, younger voters and progressives, many of whom initially did not support his running in the primaries.
Speaking to reporters, Mr Biden said protests were expected on Wednesday night in response to the grand jury’s decision on Ms. Taylor’s death “they should be peaceful”. Then he advised against violence and formulated his plea as a request to honor Ms. Taylor’s memory. Mr Trump has repeatedly assaulted Mr Biden over the past few weeks, attempting to call him weak on crime and public safety issues.
“Don’t taint her or your mother’s memory by using violence,” Biden said. “It is totally inappropriate for that to happen. She wouldn’t want it, and neither would her mother. “
After two Louisville police officers were shot dead during protests on Wednesday night, Biden said on Twitter that anyone who committed violence “must be held accountable”.
“Even amid the deep sadness and anger that today’s decision evokes, violence is never the answer,” he said.
Mr. Biden spent part of the day campaigning in North Carolina, a battlefield state. When he went there, he had warned that if the Republicans upheld Mr. Trump’s nomination, “women’s rights to anything related to medical health will be gone”.
In Charlotte, Mr. Biden hosted a Black Business Summit meeting where he spoke to a group that included small business owners and local executives.
Many Democrats, including Mr Biden, have argued that on election day, Americans should be able to choose which presidential candidate to nominate for the coming years to determine the composition of the nation’s highest court.
However, Republicans have claimed that voters have already made their preferences clear by giving them both the presidency and a Senate majority. Mr Trump has said he would announce his candidate on Saturday, and Senate Republicans appear to have enough votes for confirmation.
But while Mr Biden reiterated the high stakes of the affirmation battle on Wednesday, he failed to reiterate some of the calls to action recently made by the Democrats, including proposals to expand the Supreme Court.
“We should go to the American people and explain why this is a gigantic mistake and abuse of power,” Biden told reporters, arguing that the Supreme Court could pass rulings that have significant ramifications, especially for women.
“Again, women can be charged more than men for the same trials,” Biden said, apparently alluding to Democrats’ concerns that the court might knock down the Affordable Care Act. “Pregnancy will again be an existing disease.”
When asked after arriving at the Delaware airport on Wednesday evening whether Trump had refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power after the elections, Mr Biden admitted little surprise.
“What country are we in?” he said. “I’m joking. I said what country are we in? Look, he says the most irrational things. “
“I don’t know what to say,” he concluded.