President-elect Joe Biden claimed Thursday that the rioters who stormed the United States Capitol earlier this week would have been treated “very differently” had they been protesters associated with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
Biden, who has promised to make addressing racial inequities a central component of his administration, made the comments while introducing his appointees for the Depart of Justice at a press conference in Wilmington, Delaware. At the beginning of the event, Biden took a moment to address the rioting and violence that overtook the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday as supporters of President Donald Trump attempted to disrupt the certification of the 2020 election.
The president-elect, in particular, told the audience that when news of the rioting first broke his granddaughter sent him a photo taken last year of “military people … lining the steps of the Lincoln Memorial because of a protest by Black Lives Matter.”
“She said, ‘Pop, this isn’t fair. No one can tell me that if that had been a group of Black Lives Matter, protesting yesterday, they would have been treated very, very differently than the mob of thugs that stormed the capitol,’” Biden said.
“We all know that’s true and it is unacceptable, totally unacceptable,” the president-elect added. “The American people saw it in plain view and I hope it sensitized them to what we have to do.”
Biden proceeded to argue that his administration would seek to restore the focus of the Justice Department back to its “original spirit,” which was to “enforce the civil rights amendments that grew out of the Civil War … to stand up to racism, to take on domestic terrorism.”
“As we stand here today, we do so in the wake of yesterday’s events,” Biden said. “Events that could not more vividly demonstrate some of the most important work we have to do in this nation.”
At the same press conference, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris also rebuked the alleged response disparity from law enforcement when given a chance to speak.
“We witnessed two systems of justice when we saw one that let extremists storm the United States Capitol and another that released tear gas on peaceful protesters last summer,” Harris said invoking the BLM protests that broke out after George Floyd’s death in police custody.
“We know this is unacceptable,” she added. “We know that we should be better than this.”
While running for the White House last year, Biden and Harris often attempted to paint the contest between themselves and Trump as a “battle for the soul of the nation.” Biden, in particular, promised throughout the campaign that if elected his administration would “root out systemic racism” and strengthen voting rights for communities of color.