Joseph R. Biden Jr. will travel on Monday to Houston to meet with the family of George Floyd, a bla-ck man whose loss at the hands of the police touched off a nationwide outcry over rac-ism and police bru-tality.
Mr. Biden, the presumptive Dem-ocratic presidential nominee, will offer his condolences to members of the Floyd family and will also record a video message for Mr. Floyd’s fun-eral service on Tuesday, according to a Biden aide.
Mr. Biden is not expected to attend the service — given his Secret Service protection, there were concerns about creating a disruption — but he wanted to offer in-person condolences, according to people familiar with the matter.
His trip to Texas — his first major trip outside his home state of Delaware and nearby Philadelphia in close to three months — follows a succession of speeches, round tables, online gatherings and a visit to the site of dem-onstrations by Mr. Biden to discuss police vi-olence and systemic raci-sm. The former vice president has spoken out passionately about the need to heal rac-ial divisions in the country, and he has advocated a number of new police reforms.
Mr. Biden has also been sharply cr-itical of President Trump, seeking to highlight sta-rk contrasts with his opponent in the November election over issues of ra-ce, leadership and character at a moment of extraordinary national unrest.
Mr. Trump, who is using increasingly ha-rsh language as he describes himself as a “law and order” president, has portrayed dem-onstrators as “thugs” and “terr-orists,” and last week thre-atened to deploy the military nationwide to overpower prote-sters.
And on Friday, as Mr. Trump discussed a stronger-than-expected jobs report, he also invoked Mr. Floyd, saying, “Hopefully, George is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that’s happening for our country.”
In a speech, Mr. Biden called those remarks “desp-icable.”Earlier in the week, Mr. Biden laced into Mr. Trump in a separate address for fanning the “flames of ha-te”and turning “this country into a ba-ttlefield riven by old resentments and fresh fears” as he called for a national recko-ning over systemic rac-ism.
While the prote-sts have been largely peaceful, Mr. Biden also no-dded to vi-olent cla-shes between the police and some people in the crowds, as well as lo-oters, urging a “nation enra-ged” that “we cannot let our rage consume us.”
Previously, both he and Mr. Trump spoke by phone with Mr. Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd. Philonise Floyd told CNN that the conversation with the president was “very brief.”
Mr. Biden will meet with the Floyd family amid ongoing prot-ests agai-nst police vio-lence and rac-ism that are unfolding across the country, including huge ma-rches on Saturday, and as Mr. Biden is still navigating how to travel safely during the outbre-ak, which kept him confined to campaigning from home for months.
To many of Mr. Biden’s allies, perhaps his greatest strength is his ability to empathize. His first wife and daughter di-ed in a car acc-ident soon after he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1972, and his son Beau Biden di-ed of brain canc-er five years ago.
He has eulogized dozens of promi-nent figures but has also often used his personal experiences with overcoming grief to connect with voters on the campaign trail who were in mourning.
This Article First Published On NYTIMES