- Former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump argued over issues of race and protests against law enforcement on Tuesday night.
- "This is a president who has used everything as a dog whistle to try to generate racist hatred, racist division," Biden said during the debate. He later called Trump a "racist."
- Trump refused to condemn white supremacists and right-wing groups who've engaged in violence against Black Lives Matter protesters.
- Biden said there's "systemic injustice" in law enforcement, but also said the blame lies simply on individual "bad apples" in the system.
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Former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday called President Donald Trump a "racist" during a heated exchange over issues of race and protests against law enforcement.
"This is a president who has used everything as a dog whistle to try to generate racist hatred, racist division," Biden said during the first presidential debate. He argued that Trump "pours gasoline on the fire" to stoke his base over racial issues.
Trump refused on Tuesday night to condemn white supremacists and right-wing groups who've engaged in violence against Black Lives Matter protesters.
"Proud Boys, stand back and stand by," he said, referring to the violent neo-fascist group. "But I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about antifa and the left."
When Trump said racial sensitivity training of law enforcement was, in fact, racist, Biden rejected that claim, adding, "He's the racist."
During a portion of the debate devoted to issues of race and law enforcement, the president hammered his "law and order" message and fear-mongered about what could happen under a Biden administration.
"[Biden] doesn't want to say 'law and order' because he can't and he'll lose his radical left supporters," Trump said.
Biden responded that he supports "law and order with justice where people get treated fairly."
Over the last several months, Trump has seized on what he calls "chaos" and "anarchy" in Democrat-run cities across the country. He's attempted to paint nationwide protests against police brutality and racism as antifa-run efforts to undermine law enforcement.
The president and his allies spent much of the Republican National Convention in August railing against violence in American cities and claiming that Trump would finally "make America safe again" in a second term.
Both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence claimed during their RNC speeches that Americans "won't be safe" under a Biden presidency.
Trump falsely claimed that Biden supports "defunding" the police, a left-wing call Biden has rejected. The president has also attempted to paint Biden as a weak leader who would bend to demands from what the GOP calls the "leftist mob."
In reality, Biden has repeatedly said he doesn't support cutting funding to the police, but said he would condition federal funding for law enforcement on whether they meet "minimum basic standards of decency." He's calling to reform these standards and invest $300 million in community policing.
On Tuesday night, Biden said there's "systemic injustice" in law enforcement, but also said the blame lies simply on individual "bad apples" in the system.
"There is systemic injustice in this country, in education, in work, and in law enforcement," Biden said. "But look, the vast majority of police officers are good, decent, honorable men and women, they risk their lives every day to take care of us. But there are some bad apples … and they have to be held accountable."
The majority of polling since the conventions have found that Trump's "law and order" messaging has been ineffective in diminishing Biden's lead. Americans trust Biden significantly more when it comes to improving race relations and most polls showed they also trust him more than the president on issues of public safety and crime.
A Politico/Morning Consult poll from early September found that 47% of voters trusted Biden and just 39% trusted Trump when it came to public safety. At the same time, voters trusted Biden over Trump on race relations by 19 points.
Biden, echoing comments he's made before, condemned violence, but said he supports peaceful protesters, who've marched across the country in the tens of thousands since George Floyd's killing in May.
"Violence is never appropriate — peaceful protest is," he said.
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