Trump is inciting political violence, says Biden campaign

FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. President Trump holds presser after criminal case hearing on porn star hush money charges in New York
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By Nandita Bose

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden's re-election campaign on Monday accused former President Donald Trump of stoking political violence after Trump shared a video on social media that included an image of Biden bound and restrained in the back of a pickup truck.

The video Trump shared on his Truth Social platform on Friday shows an SUV and pickup truck with several large flags supporting Trump and law enforcement. The image of Biden hog-tied appears on the tailgate of the pickup truck.

KEY QUOTE: "Donald Trump is perfectly comfortable with violence when he thinks it benefits him. In fact, he encourages it. Put simply, his campaign is about itself. It's about revenge. It's about retribution," said Michael Tyler, Biden campaign's communications director.

"Political violence has been and continues to be central to Donald Trump's brand of politics," Tyler said.THE TAKE: Ominous language is not new for Trump, who has publicly called for jailing political opponents, suspending the Constitution, and has suggested that the top U.S. general should be executed.

Trump has continued to make a series of inflammatory and racist statements since declaring his candidacy in November 2022 and his increasingly violent rhetoric on the campaign trail has raised concerns he might flout democratic norms to target perceived enemies if elected.

BY THE NUMBERS: Biden had a marginal one percentage point lead over Trump ahead of the November presidential election, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll found.

Some 39% of registered voters in the one-week poll said they would vote for Biden, a Democrat, if the election were held today, compared with 38% who picked Republican former President Trump.

CONTEXT: Earlier this month, Trump said there would be a "bloodbath" if he did not win the presidential election in November, a comment that garnered swift backlash from Biden himself.

In December, Trump said that migrants are "poisoning the blood" of America and in November, he used the word "vermin" to describe his political rivals, drawing broad condemnation, including from Biden, who likened his comments to "language you heard in Nazi Germany."

A Trump spokesman defended Trump's rhetoric on Friday and pointed to a statement by Biden in 2018 in which he said, referring to Trump, "If we were in high school, I'd take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him."

(Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington; Editing by Caitlin Webber and Michael Perry)