President Biden raised eyebrows on Friday over one part of his statement about former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s assassination. While the president was initially criticized for his extremely slow response to the tragic news, attention quickly shifted to his mention of “gun violence” in this horrific incident.
"I am stunned, outraged, and deeply saddened by the news that my friend Abe Shinzo, former Prime Minister of Japan, was shot and killed while campaigning," Biden said. "This is a tragedy for Japan and for all who knew him. I had the privilege to work closely with Prime Minister Abe. As Vice President, I visited him in Tokyo and welcomed him to Washington. He was a champion of the Alliance between our nations and the friendship between our people. The longest serving Japanese Prime Minister, his vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific will endure. Above all, he cared deeply about the Japanese people and dedicated his life to their service. Even at the moment he was attacked, he was engaged in the work of democracy. While there are many details that we do not yet know, we know that violent attacks are never acceptable and that gun violence always leaves a deep scar on the communities that are affected by it. The United States stands with Japan in this moment of grief. I send my deepest condolences to his family."
The problem, of course, is that gun violence is practically unheard of in Japan, which has one of the lowest rates of gun crime in the world due to its strict laws. As mentioned below, the suspect even used a homemade gun.
This is how rare gun violence is in Japan: pic.twitter.com/pPn6MdTlyi— Michelle Ye Hee Lee (@myhlee) July 8, 2022
Joe Biden says that assassinating Shinzo Abe is a problem of "gun violence." This is perhaps the stupidest thing he has ever said, and that is saying something. pic.twitter.com/NTm1Mpwu3W— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) July 8, 2022
This statement is pretty odd.— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) July 8, 2022
Abe has been one of America’s most important strategic partners for the last decade (including the Obama years - which Biden was loosely involved in) and Biden is focusing on the larger impact of gun violence? https://t.co/me74qv6gty
World leaders are reacting to news that former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe died after being shot at a campaign event. The assassin used a homemade gun and fired at the country’s longest serving prime minister from behind. Doctors were unable to save him due to excessive blood loss and he was pronounced dead shortly after 5 p.m. local time.
Among the first to issue a statement on social media was former President Donald Trump, who called the news of the “absolutely devastating” and followed up later on Friday when his death was confirmed.
“Really BAD NEWS FOR THE WORLD! Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is dead," Trump said. "He was assassinated. His killer was captured and will hopefully be dealt with swiftly and harshly. Few people know what a great man and leader Shinzo Abe was, but history will teach them and be kind. He was a unifier like no other, but above all, he was a man who loved and cherished his magnificent country, Japan. Shinzo Abe will be greatly missed. There will never be another like him!”
As tributes poured in from around the world, noticeably absent were any statements from President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, or White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
The only statement from the White House on the assassination was issued from an unnamed official: "We are shocked and saddened to hear about the violent attack against former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. We are closely monitoring the reports and keeping our thoughts with his family and the people of Japan."
.@KarenPence and I were deeply troubled to learn of the shooting of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Abe-san was a remarkable leader of Japan and an unshakeable ally of the U.S. We join millions praying for this truly good man and his family. God bless Shinzo Abe pic.twitter.com/ojTYkOZxe8— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) July 8, 2022
So deeply shocked to hear about the past PM of Japan-Shinzo Abe. He was one of the first leaders I met when I became PM. He was deeply committed to his role but also generous & kind. My thoughts are with his wife and the people of Japan. Events like this shake us all to the core.— Jacinda Ardern (@jacindaardern) July 8, 2022
Incredibly sad news about Shinzo Abe.— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) July 8, 2022
His global leadership through unchartered times will be remembered by many. My thoughts are with his family, friends and the Japanese people.
The UK stands with you at this dark and sad time.
I am shocked and saddened beyond words at the tragic demise of one of my dearest friends, Shinzo Abe. He was a towering global statesman, an outstanding leader, and a remarkable administrator. He dedicated his life to make Japan and the world a better place.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 8, 2022
Sharing a picture from my most recent meeting with my dear friend, Shinzo Abe in Tokyo. Always passionate about strengthening India-Japan ties, he had just taken over as the Chairman of the Japan-India Association. pic.twitter.com/Mw2nR1bIGz— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 8, 2022
Horrible news of a brutal assassination of former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe. I am extending my deepest condolences to his family and the people of Japan at this difficult time. This heinous act of violence has no excuse.— ????????? ?????????? (@ZelenskyyUa) July 8, 2022
Au nom du peuple français, j’adresse mes condoléances aux autorités et au peuple japonais après l’assassinat de Shinzo Abe. Le Japon perd un grand Premier ministre, qui dédia sa vie à son pays et œuvra à l’équilibre du monde.— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) July 8, 2022
The assassination of @AbeShinzo is incredibly shocking – and I’m deeply saddened. The world has lost a great man of vision, and Canada has lost a close friend. My thoughts are with his wife, Akie, and the people of Japan as they mourn this loss. You’ll be missed, my friend.— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) July 8, 2022
Townhall will update this post when the president and VP comment.