Translation: The polling on riots must be getting brutal. Just days after criticizing Donald Trump for making a campaign stop in Kenosha after a controversial police shooting, Joe Biden’s campaign suddenly added a visit by their nominee. He’s going o “heal” the community, the campaign claims, but it certainly looks like Biden is playing follow the leader:
Former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, will visit Kenosha on Thursday as tensions simmer in the city following the shooting of a Black man by a white police officer and the deaths of two people protesting his shooting by an armed teenager.
Biden’s visit to Wisconsin comes just two days after President Donald Trump toured the destructive aftermath of the shooting of Jacob Blake, who was shot seven times in the back by a police officer as he was trying to get into a vehicle. …
“Vice President Biden will hold a community meeting in Kenosha to bring together Americans to heal and address the challenges we face,” his campaign said in a release. “After, Vice President Biden and Dr. Biden will make a local stop.”
What makes this particularly transparent as a political cover-your-a** operation is that Biden had first apparently decided against a Kenosha visit. And after Trump decided to pay the city a visit, Biden’s senior campaign adviser went on CNN yesterday morning to claim that Biden was taking the high road by staying away:
President Trump’s trip to Kenosha will “pour gasoline on what is already a very tense situation,” Biden campaign senior adviser Symone Sanders says to @jimsciutto.
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) September 1, 2020
When asked on CNN on Tuesday if Biden was planning on visiting Kenosha, Wis., this week, Sanders did not confirm if plans were in the works, though reports have emerged recently that the campaign decided against doing so.
She said Tuesday that “he doesn’t want to do anything that would create a tussle on the ground.” …
“We have heard the president over the last couple of days, throughout the Republican National Convention, talk about violence,” Sanders said. “His tweets have stoked and incited this violence. So he’s not going to be a calming voice in Kenosha, Wis., today. He’s going to do nothing but fan the flames and pour gasoline on what is already a very tense situation.”
“[Biden] is doing right now, frankly, what a president should be doing,” she continued.
So what changed? Apparently, Biden took a look at Trump getting ahead of events by showing up in Kenosha, and belatedly decided that commenting from the basement was a bad look, let’s say. Now, suddenly, Biden’s doing the same thing that his campaign criticized Trump for doing — making Kenosha and the rioting a campaign issue. Which it already is, quite obviously, despite the Democrats’ hard work to avoid the issue during the entirety of their convention.
Biden tried addressing the issue yesterday, but his statement was hardly sufficient. What Biden needed was a Sister Souljah moment — calling out the radicals on his own side to stop rioting. Instead, Biden called out militias and other betes noires on the other side, when it’s patently obvious to most Americans that it’s radical leftists destroying public order and demanding the retreat of police departments. Biden booted his first chance to seize the center on this issue, and now he’s going to Kenosha because he needs a do-over.
Unless he changes the messaging, however, Biden’s likelier to make matters worse for himself rather than better, and that assumes he can even address the issues coherently. He already looks foolish for flip-flopping on an appearance. Good luck just explaining that change.