Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for the first time on Monday explicitly condemned Antifa, the far-left, anarcho-communist network linked to violence at a number of protests and riots.
Biden told WGAL, a Pennsylvania broadcaster, that he has condemned violence “across the board.”
“The president still hasn’t condemned the far right folks coming out and protesting and using violence,” Biden added.
Some supporters of President Donald Trump have wielded paintball guns and other weapons and clashed with counter-demonstrators at recent events. Trump said last week he doesn’t want supporters to engage with counter-protesters.
Biden was then asked directly whether he condemns Antifa.
“Yes, I do. Absolutely. Violence no matter who it is,” the 77-year-old former vice president said.
It is the first time Biden has condemned Antifa.
A recent Epoch Times poll found that only 10 percent of respondents had a favorable view of the far-left network.
Both Biden and Trump condemned riots in Kenosha in late August but diverged on how to quell the unrest.
Trump denounced the violence and asked the governor of Wisconsin to deploy the National Guard and accept federal assistance to catch and deter the rioters. Biden suggested that Americans should “unite and heal, do justice, end the violence, and end systemic racism in this country now,” but omitted any mention of a law enforcement response.
Trump has singled out Antifa multiple times, as have top members of his administration.
“I’ve talked to every police chief in every city where there has been major violence and they all have identified Antifa as the ramrod for the violence,” Attorney General William Barr said last week.
Trump, speaking to reporters in Washington on Aug. 31, noted that Biden in a speech didn’t mention Antifa.
“He didn’t mention the far left, or, from what I saw, I don’t believe he mentioned the word ‘Antifa,'” Trump said.
“Antifa is a criminal organization, and he didn’t mention Antifa thugs, but mostly seemed to blame the police and law enforcement.”
Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.