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Leader of Republican Party of WI links Biden to violent protest in Madison and calls to defund police

MADISON (WKOW) -- The leader of the Republican Party of Wisconsin linked Joe Biden and his supporters to June's violent protest in Madison, where a group of people tore down two statues on the capitol grounds and attacked a State Senator.

Chairman Andrew Hitt speaking at the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina called out protesters who toppled two iconic statues, Col. Hans Christian Heg, who fought in the Civil War and the “Forward” statue.

“Statue on our Capitol Square that was recently toppled by violent protests by Joe Biden's defunding police allies,” said Hitt.

His comments come as communities across Wisconsin join in protests, after video appears to show a Kenosha police officer shoot an unarmed black man, Jacob Blake, in the back.

Republicans, including President Trump, continue to promote false claims Biden wants to defund the police, which the Biden campaign denies. 

During a Sunday ABC interview with Biden, he said he doesn’t support defunding police. Biden has said previously when responding to question if he agrees “that we can redirect some of the [police] funding,” Biden responded, “Yes, absolutely.”

The Democratic nominee has also voiced support for additional funding to police departments to pay for things such as body cameras and programs for community relations with police officers.

Another theme by Republicans to kick off day one of their convention was criticizing Biden for not accepting his party's nomination in Milwaukee last week. 

“I hope you realize the difference between Republican and Democratic conventions,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-CA, the convention’s chairman. “Our candidates show up!”

Democrats shifted their convention to all virtual due to concerns over the coronavirus. 

President Trump and Vice President Pence also gave speeches during the first day, often touting the economy and taking aim at Biden, who said he would support a national shutdown to slow the spread of COVID-19 if elected.

“On Nov. 4th it will all open up like most other states,” said Trump on keeping businesses open to help rebuild the economy.

“These Democratic governors love shutdowns until after the election, because they want to make our numbers look as bad as possible for the economy.”

On the first day of the convention, the Biden campaign announced more than two dozen Republican lawmakers who are endorsing him for president. 

Republican support is something we will likely see from Democrats throughout this week as the campaign attempts a rebuttal against the RNC to build a broad coalition against Trump.

Emilee Fannon

Capital Bureau Chief

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