Aug 31 – U.S. President Joe Biden slammed threats of violence against FBI agents searching the home of predecessor Donald Trump as “disgusting” as he called for more police funding and a ban on assault weapons in Pennsylvania.
Biden began his first of three visits in a week to the political battleground, angrily condemning people who on August 8 attacked federal law enforcement officials involved in an unprecedented search of the former Republican president’s Florida home.
“It’s sickening to see new attacks on the FBI, putting the lives of law enforcement officers and their families at risk for simply following the law and doing their job,” Biden said.
“I want to make this as clear as possible. There is no place – no place – in this country for endangering the lives of law enforcement. No place. No. Never. Period. I am against defunding the police. I am.” I’m also against defunding the FBI.”
Earlier this month, the FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security warned of an increase in threats after a search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, in which agents removed what prosecutors described as 11 files of classified documents, including some classified as top secret. as part of a criminal investigation.
In recent weeks, Biden has largely avoided discussing the investigation, with the White House saying the Justice Department operates independently. The Biden administration’s intelligence chief recently launched an investigation into the national security risks of potential classified disclosures.
Biden sharpened his attack on members of the Republican Party loyal to Trump, a topic expected to play a big role in prime time during another visit to Pennsylvania on Thursday.
“Let me say this to my MAGA Republican friends in Congress. Don’t tell me you support law enforcement if you don’t condemn what happened on Jan. 6,” he said, referring to Jan. 6, 2021, Trump support riot at the Capitol.
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel rejected Biden’s message, saying in a statement Tuesday: “The Biden Democrat agenda has made Pennsylvania communities less safe, and that’s why Pennsylvanians will be voting in a new direction in November.”
Tuesday’s visit to the small town of Wilkes-Barre allowed Biden to address concerns about voters in a critical state that helped propel the Democrat to the presidency and hosts one of the most closely watched Senate races in 2022.
Trump, flirting with challenging Biden for a second term in 2024, is expected to hold a rally in the same city on Saturday.
As in 2020, when Biden was elected president, Pennsylvania will be a key battleground in the mid-November and next presidential elections.
It is home to one of the few competitive Senate races that will determine whether Democrats retain their slim majority in the US Senate.
John Fetterman, a Democratic U.S. Senate candidate in Pennsylvania and the state’s current governor, did not join Biden on Tuesday but planned to meet with him on Labor Day in his third visit to the state in a week.
Some Democratic candidates in the state and elsewhere have wrestled with whether to join Biden on the campaign trail, with some worried that his low approval ratings could slow their campaigns.
Many Republican candidates portray Democrats as unwilling to fight rising crime in some parts of the country and try to tie them to the “pay the police” movement that emerged from the racial justice protests of 2020. Many Democrats, including Biden, have never supported cutting police money.
According to U.S. statistics released in May, gun deaths in the U.S. rose 35% in 2020 to the highest level since 1994, with deadly levels exceptionally high for young black men.
On Tuesday, Biden criticized Republican lawmakers who opposed his plans to fund law enforcement and curb gun violence.
Biden called on Congress to pass an assault weapons ban as well as $37 billion for crime prevention programs and $13 billion to hire and train 100,000 more police officers over the next five years.
“We live in a country full of weapons of war,” he said. “For God’s sake, what is the reason for these weapons outside of a war zone?”