President-elect Joe Biden said Thursday that he believed Black Lives Matter protesters would have been met with a much hasher police response than the mob of Trump supporters who rioted and looted inside the US Capitol on Wednesday.
Biden said his granddaughter had sent him a picture as rioters swept through the Capitol of armed security lining the Lincoln Memorial during an earlier Black Lives Matter protest.
“She said, ‘Pop, this isn’t fair. No one can tell me if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday, they wouldn’t 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.”
Biden was not the first to make the comparison. Black Lives Matter activists told BuzzFeed News on Wednesday that they saw a double-standard in how they were treated at non-violent protests relative to the rioters, who in some cases appeared to meet little resistance as they breached the Capitol.
“I am enraged by the light treatment that these terrorists are getting,” Toni Sanders, a Black Lives Matter activist, told BuzzFeed News. “They have guns. They have attacked the police. They have attacked innocent people who are just in the area, and yet they have not been beaten and teargassed and had flash-bangs thrown at them the way we had all summer long. We didn’t have any weapons. All we had were our voices saying, ‘Black lives matter.'”
Biden also insisted Thursday that the mob be referred to as something other than “protesters.”
“They weren’t protesters,” Biden said. “Don’t dare call them protesters. They were a riotous mob, insurrectionists, domestic terrorists.”
Speaking to CNN on Thursday as Biden finished talking, Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, said hearing Biden “really speak to the dire situation that happened yesterday, and clarify that Black Lives Matter protesters have been and continue to be treated differently than white supremacist terrorists was huge because he’s speaking not just to the country, but speaking on a global stage.”
“We spent an entire summer last summer fighting for people like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and we were met with rubber bullets,” she added. “What was probably most shocking for me yesterday was watching law enforcement either run away or open the gates for white supremacist terrorists to damage the nation’s Capitol. That was disturbing. “
The president-elect’s comments Thursday came as he introduced his nominees for leadership at the Department of Justice. He said he would not address a question currently swirling around DC: Whether President Donald Trump should be quickly removed from power via the Constitution’s 25th Amendment. Biden did not answer shouted questions at the end of the event.