Joe Biden has urged Americans to protest peacefully, and to not let their anger over the death of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement officers overshadow the “reason we protest.”

In a Medium post published early Sunday morning (full post below), Biden said “protesting such brutality is right and necessary. It’s an utterly American response. But burning down communities and needless destruction is not. Violence that endangers lives is not. Violence that guts and shutters businesses that serve the community is not.”

The presumptive Democratic nominee’s comments came after another night of widespread unrest across the U.S., where protests — many of them violent — are ongoing in at least 30 cities. California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles County on Saturday night and authorized the National Guard deployment in response to requests from the city and county.

Biden, whose response followed extensive calls for his leadership during the crisis, said, “The act of protesting should never be allowed to overshadow the reason we protest. It should not drive people away from the just cause that protest is meant to advance.”

He highlighted that people nationwide are suffering the losses of loved ones due to “intolerable circumstances,” including “entrenched inequalities” as well as COVID-19, which still grips the U.S. with a heavy death toll of 105,000. “And I know that a grief that dark and deep may at times feel too heavy to bear. I know,” he said.

“And I also know that the only way to bear it is to turn all that anguish to purpose. So tonight, I ask all of America to join me — not in denying our pain or covering it over — but using it to compel our nation across this turbulent threshold into the next phase of progress, inclusion, and opportunity for our great democracy.”

Biden urged, “We are a nation in pain, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us. We are a nation enraged, but we cannot allow our rage to consume us. We are a nation exhausted, but we will not allow our exhaustion to defeat us.”

The politician vowed to “help lead” the conversation and promised he “will listen.”

“I will keep the commitment I made to George’s brother, Philonise, that George will not just be a hashtag. We must and will get to a place where everyone, regardless of race, believes that ‘to protect and serve’ means to protect and serve them,” said Biden. “Only by standing together will we rise stronger than before. More equal, more just, more hopeful — and that much closer to our more perfect union.”

Earlier in the week, during a Memorial Day event,  Biden hit out at President Donald Trump, calling him an “absolute fool” for not wearing a face mask during a CNN interview.

Trump was on hand Saturday following the launch of NASA’s SpaceX capsule, where he also spoke out on the nationwide protests.

“We understand the pain people are feeling. We support the right of peaceful protestors, and we hear their pleas. But what we are now seeing on the streets of our cities has nothing to do with justice or peace,” said Trump. “The memory of George Floyd is being dishonored by rioters, looters and anarchists.”

“We cannot and must not allow a small group of criminals and vandals to wreck our cities and lay waste to our communities,” Trump continued.

Read Biden’s full post below:

These last few days have laid bare that we are a nation furious at injustice. Every person of conscience can understand the rawness of the trauma people of color experience in this country, from the daily indignities to the extreme violence, like the horrific killing of George Floyd.

Protesting such brutality is right and necessary. It’s an utterly American response. But burning down communities and needless destruction is not. Violence that endangers lives is not. Violence that guts and shutters businesses that serve the community is not.

The act of protesting should never be allowed to overshadow the reason we protest. It should not drive people away from the just cause that protest is meant to advance.

I know that there are people all across this country who are suffering tonight. Suffering the loss of a loved one to intolerable circumstances, like the Floyd family, or to the virus that is still gripping our nation. Suffering economic hardships, whether due to COVID-19 or entrenched inequalities in our system. And I know that a grief that dark and deep may at times feel too heavy to bear.

I know.

And I also know that the only way to bear it is to turn all that anguish to purpose. So tonight, I ask all of America to join me — not in denying our pain or covering it over — but using it to compel our nation across this turbulent threshold into the next phase of progress, inclusion, and opportunity for our great democracy.

We are a nation in pain, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us. We are a nation enraged, but we cannot allow our rage to consume us. We are a nation exhausted, but we will not allow our exhaustion to defeat us.

As President, I will help lead this conversation — and more importantly, I will listen. I will keep the commitment I made to George’s brother, Philonise, that George will not just be a hashtag. We must and will get to a place where everyone, regardless of race, believes that “to protect and serve” means to protect and serve them. Only by standing together will we rise stronger than before. More equal, more just, more hopeful — and that much closer to our more perfect union.

Please stay safe. Please take care of each other. 

https://variety.com/2020/politics/news/george-floyd-protests-joe-biden-responds-1234621326/