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Biden jabs Trump, tells National Guard ‘I’ll never use you as a political prop’

President Donald Trump speaking at a "Keep America Great" rally in Phoenix, Ariz. in February 2020. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr) | Former Vice President of the United States Joe Biden speaking at the 2019 Iowa Federation of Labor Convention in Altoona, Iowa in August 2019. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
August 31, 2020

In remarks to the National Guard Association, former Vice President Joe Biden took shots at President Trump by promising Guardsmen he would never politicize or divert funds from them.

“As president, I’ll never put you in the middle of politics and personal vendettas,” Biden said. “I’ll never use the military as a prop or as a private militia to violate the rights of fellow citizens. That’s now law and order.”

Biden’s remarks at the 142nd General Conference address Trump’s recent vow to send the National Guard to riot-stricken Kenosha, Wi. and Portland, Ore., among other cities plagued by devastating riots in recent months. Trump has called for “law and order” in major cities affected by riots, and vowed federal intervention to ensure that, if necessary.

On Monday morning, Trump tweeted that the National Guard saved the city of Kenosha.

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“If I didn’t INSIST on having the National Guard activate and go into Kenosha, Wisconsin, there would be no Kenosha right now. Also, there would have been great death and injury. I want to thank Law Enforcement and the National Guard,” Trump said.

Trump also warned that he would take action in Portland if Mayor Ted Wheeler does not act to protect the city from continued damage.

“Portland is a mess, and it has been for many years. If this joke of a mayor doesn’t clean it up, we will go in and do it for them!” Trump tweeted.

At the Guard conference, Biden also criticized Trump’s decision to reduce funding to the National Guard by both requiring states foot the bill for the Guard’s coronavirus response, and reallocating some Guard funds to pay for the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

“You deserve so much better than this,” Biden said.

Biden vowed to provide Guardsmen with healthcare and more modern equipment.

“I’m going to make sure the National Guard gets what they need to proudly serve our country,” he said, adding that the Guard “will never have to wonder what side I’m on.”

Biden has a personal connection to the National Guard through his late son, Beau, who was a major in the Delaware National Guard before he died from cancer in 2015.

“We’re a National Guard family,” Biden said at the conference.

A recent Military Times poll shows Biden increasing in favoritism among military service members. Of approximately 1,000 active duty service members surveyed in July and August, 43 percent said they would vote for Biden while 37 percent said they would vote for Trump.