Marco Rubio rebukes Biden for stoking tensions with Black Lives Matter comments

Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, on Thursday chided President-elect Joseph R. Biden for heightening political tensions in the aftermath of the siege by a pro-Trump mob on the U.S. Capitol.

In his remarks from Wilmington, Delaware, Mr. Biden blasted President Trump for “inciting a mob” and decried what he described as the disparate treatment of Black Lives Matter protesters versus those who stormed the Capitol building Wednesday during a joint session of Congress.

“I saw Joe Biden’s speech today,” Mr. Rubio said on Fox’s “The Story with Martha MacCallum.” “It was an opportunity for him, at this moment, the day after all of that, to sort of calm things down, and instead he goes off for 20 minutes and talks about everything that happened last summer, and if this was Black protesters, the police would have responded differently.”

Mr. Rubio said that “there was no need for that.”

“You know what that does? That makes everybody bow up and go back to their corner. Everybody’s outraged by what happened yesterday,” said Mr. Rubio. “A lot of people are thinking to themselves, maybe politics has gotten too hot right now, and then you come out with a speech like that, and I don’t think that does any good for anybody. I’m really disappointed in Biden’s speech today.”

The U.S. Capitol Police has been widely criticized for failing to stop Wednesday’s mob from entering the Capitol. A spokesperson for the Capitol Police chief said he would resign after the melee in which one protester was shot and killed by an officer, and 50 officers were injured.

Mr. Biden said his granddaughter sent him a photo showing the D.C. National Guard protecting the Lincoln Memorial prior to a Black Lives Matter protest, and told him, “Pop, this isn’t fair.”

“No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday, they wouldn’t have been treated very, very differently from the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol. We all know that’s true, and it’s unacceptable. Totally unacceptable,” Mr. Biden said. “The American people saw it in plain view.”

The Getty Images photo of the D.C. National Guard troops was dated June 2, two days after vandals defaced multiple monuments and memorials, including the Lincoln Memorial, amid Black Lives Matter unrest in the District.

“In the wake of last night’s demonstrations, there are numerous instances of vandalism to sites around the National Mall,” tweeted the National Park Service on May 31. “For generations the Mall has been our nation’s premier civic gathering space for non-violent demonstrations, and we ask individuals to carry on that tradition.”

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