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Biden: Must Reject Political Violence  07/15 06:15

   President Joe Biden on Sunday urged Americans to reject political violence 
and recommit themselves to resolving their differences peacefully, saying the 
upcoming presidential election will be a "time of testing" in the aftermath of 
the attempted assassination of former President Donald Trump.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Joe Biden on Sunday urged Americans to reject 
political violence and recommit themselves to resolving their differences 
peacefully, saying the upcoming presidential election will be a "time of 
testing" in the aftermath of the attempted assassination of former President 
Donald Trump.

   In a prime-time national address from the Oval Office, Biden said political 
passions can run high but "we must never descend into violence." The president 
said his party and the Republicans can compete forcefully over different policy 
visions -- but must do it in a civil fashion.

   "All of us now face a time of testing as the election approaches," Biden 
said. "There is no place in America for this kind of violence -- for any 
violence. Ever. Period. No exception. We can't allow this violence to be 
normalized."

   Biden spoke for six minutes in his third address to the nation since 
Saturday evening's attack by a shooter that left Trump with a bloodied ear, 
killed one rallygoer and seriously injured two others. His warning came hours 
after FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate said agents have seen increasingly 
violent rhetoric online since the attack at the Trump rally.

   Since the shooting, the president and his team had been grappling with how 
to calibrate the political path forward after the weekend attack targeting the 
very person Biden is trying to defeat in November's election. Biden sharply 
condemned the attack, but indicated he plans to continue to press his campaign 
agenda and has "no doubt" Republicans will do the same when they open the 
Republican National Convention in Milwaukee on Monday.

   He emphasized that said those disagreements must remain peaceful.

   "We can do this," Biden pleaded, saying the nation was founded on a 
democracy that gave reason and balance a chance to prevail over brute force. 
Biden also warned that political tensions were being inflamed by a balkanized 
media environment and exploited by American enemies.

   "Here in America we need to get out of our silos, where we only listen to 
those with whom we agree, where misinformation is rampant, where foreign actors 
fan the flames of our division to shape the outcomes consistent with their 
interests, not ours," Biden said.

   Earlier Sunday, Biden was briefed in the White House Situation Room and 
condemned the attempted assassination of Trump as "contrary to everything we 
stand for as a nation." He said he was ordering an independent security review 
of how such an attack could have happened.

   The president said he has also directed the U.S. Secret Service to review 
all security measures for the RNC. Hours later, Audrey Gibson-Cicchino, the 
Secret Service's coordinator for the convention, said the weekend attack 
against Trump did not warrant any changes to the agency's security plan for the 
event and officials "are fully prepared."

   Biden promised a "thorough and swift" review and asked the public not to 
"make assumptions" about the shooter's motives or affiliations.

   The president said he and first lady Jill Biden were praying for the family 
of Corey Comperatore, a former fire chief who was shot and killed during the 
Trump rally Saturday night in Butler, Pennsylvania.

   "He was protecting his family from the bullets," Biden said. "God love him."

   The president also said he'd had a "short but good conversation" with Trump 
in the hours after the shootings and said he was "sincerely grateful" that the 
former president is "doing well and recovering."

   Trump, who has called for national resilience since the shooting, posted on 
his social media account after Biden's remarks, "UNITE AMERICA!"

   Biden, who has set out to brand Trump as a dire threat to democracy and the 
nation's very founding principles, put a temporary pause on such political 
messaging after the shooting. Shortly after Saturday night's attack, Biden's 
reelection campaign froze "all outbound communications" and worked to pull down 
its television ads.

   The president also postponed a planned trip to Texas on Monday, where he was 
to speak on the 60th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act at the Lyndon B. 
Johnson presidential library. An NBC News interview between Biden and anchor 
Lester Holt will now occur at the White House, instead of in Texas, as 
initially planned.

   Biden's campaign said that, after the NBC interview airs on Monday night, 
the Democratic National Committee "will continue drawing the contrast" with 
Trump over the course of the GOP convention. It was unclear when campaign ads 
will resume.

   Biden still plans to make a planned trip to Las Vegas, which will include a 
campaign event Wednesday. Vice President Kamala Harris postponed her planned 
campaign trip to Florida on Tuesday, where she had been set to meet with 
Republican women.

   Trump, meanwhile, arrived Sunday evening in Milwaukee for the Republican 
convention, where criticism of Biden and the Democrats is sure to be searing.

   The weekend developments were only the latest upheaval in a campaign that 
has been extraordinarily topsy-turvy in recent weeks.

   Biden's shaky debate performance on June 27 so spooked his own party that 
some top surrogates and donors turned on him, and nearly 20 Democratic members 
of Congress called on the president to leave the race outright. Facing mounting 
questions about whether he was fit for a second term, Biden and his top 
advisers have been scrambling to salvage his campaign by adding events around 
the country and more aggressively criticizing Trump.

   Saturday's attack upended -- at least temporarily -- that counteroffensive. 
The campaign hoped that Sunday's Oval Office address let Biden further drive 
home his point about unity while demonstrating leadership that could assuage 
nervous critics within his own party.

   "We'll debate and we'll disagree, that's not going to change," Biden said in 
his afternoon remarks. "But we'll not lose sight of who we are as Americans."

   Biden tied Saturday's shooting to other incidents of political violence, 
from the 2017 death of a counterprotester at a white supremacist rally in 
Charlottesville, Virginia, to the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, by 
Trump supports seeking to prevent the certification of the Electoral College 
count.

   Although investigators are still in the early stages of determining what 
occurred and why, some Biden critics were calling out the president for telling 
donors in a private call Monday that "it's time to put Trump in the bullseye."

   A person familiar with those remarks said the president was trying to make 
the point that Trump had gotten away with a light public schedule after last 
month's debate while the president himself faced intense scrutiny. The person 
spoke on the condition of anonymity to more freely discuss private 
conversations.

   In the donor call, Biden said: "I have one job and that's to beat Donald 
Trump. ... I'm absolutely certain I'm the best person to be able to do that."

   He continued: "So, we're done talking about the debate. It's time to put 
Trump in the bullseye. He's gotten away with doing nothing for the last 10 days 
except ride around in his golf cart, bragging about scores he didn't score. ... 
Anyway I won't get into his golf game."

 
 
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