Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden during a virtual town hall hosted by Service Employees International Union (SEIU) called President Trump the country’s first racist “elected president.”
The blunt remarks came after a healthcare worker expressed concerns over the rhetoric coming from Trump by referencing the coronavirus as the “china virus” and the “Wuhan virus” has led to a stigmatized amongst the Asian American community.
“What President Trump has done in his spreading of racist – the way he deals with people based on the color of their skin, their national origin, where they’re from is absolutely sickening,” Biden said in response. “No sitting president has ever done this. Never, never, never. No Republican president has done this. No Democratic president.
“We’ve had racists, and they’ve existed, they’ve tried to get elected president. He’s the first one that has,” Biden added.
Biden went on to say he is “so angry” after hearing the healthcare worker experience and accused the president of attempting to “divide” the U.S. among racial lines to distract from his mishandling of the pandemic.
“The way he pits people against one another is all designed to divide the country, divide people, not pull them together,” Biden said. “Look what he’s doing now. He’s blaming everything on China. He’s blaming everything on the Chinese. And people don’t make a distinction, as you well know, between a South Korean and someone from Beijing. They make no distinction. It’s Asia. And he’s using it as a wedge. He’s trying to shift the blame.”
Trump campaign senior adviser Katrina Pierson fired back on Biden’s remarks, noting the former vice president’s long underreported political career consists of numerous racial statements and rhetoric, as well as his long admiration with white supremacist southern senators.
“This is an insult to the intelligence of Black voters and is really rich coming from a guy who proudly befriended segregationists, touted an award from George Wallace, honored a former Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan, worried his kids would grow up in a ‘racial jungle,’ marveled that Barack Obama was ‘articulate’ and ‘clean,’ bragged about being from a slave state, and repeatedly used the n-word,” Pierson said. “No one should take lectures on racial justice from Joe Biden.”
During the coronavirus press briefing later on Wednesday, Trump responded to the former Vice President’s allegation by highlighting his record of passing criminal justice reform, which he said “something that Obama and Biden were unable” to accomplish. Trump also touted the low unemployment numbers amongst minorities before the pandemic wreaked havoc into the economy and spurring investments in urban areas with opportunities zone programs.
“I’ve done things that nobody else and I’ve said this, and I say it openly. And not a lot of people dispute it. I’ve done more for black Americans than anybody with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln,” Trump said in response. “Nobody has even been close.”
The Biden campaign were forced to clean up yet another Biden’s remark, acknowledging that Trump isn’t the first racist president, but clarified the former Vice President meant that his 2020 presidential rival “stands out.”
“There have been a number of racist American presidents, but Trump stands out especially in modern history because he made running on racism and division his calling card and won,” Biden campaign senior adviser Symone Sanders said. “He deliberately foments both, intentionally causing indescribable pain because he thinks it advantages him politically.”
“The George Wallaces of our country’s history who have run on these hate-filled themes have lost,” she added.
This marks the first time Biden has directly called Trump a racist. The former Vice President since entering the 2020 race last year has accused Trump of stoking racial division and “fanned the flames” with his racial slurs.
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