Former Vice President Joe Biden tore into President Trump on Wednesday, accusing the commander in chief of promoting white supremacy.
“In both clear language and in code, this president has fanned the flames of white supremacy in this nation,” Biden said in a blistering speech in Burlington, Iowa.
Biden said that at moments when the country has been tested the most, previous U.S. presidents have “stepped up” to lead, but not Trump.
“Trump offers no moral leadership,” Biden said, adding that he has “no interest in unifying the nation” and offers “no evidence the presidency has awakened his conscience in the least.”
“Instead we have a president with a toxic tongue who has publicly and unapologetically embraced a political strategy of hate, racism and division,” the 2020 presidential candidate said. “We’re living through a rare moment in this nation’s history, where our president isn’t up to the moment. Where our president lacks the moral authority to lead. Where our president has more in common with George Wallace than George Washington.”
Biden invoked Trump’s response to the deadly clashes between protesters and white supremacists at a rally in Charlottesville, Va., in which the president said there were “very fine people on both sides.”
“Our president has aligned himself with the darkest forces in this nation,” Biden said.
In numerous polls, Biden continues to lead the field seeking the Democratic presidential nomination by a substantial margin, and Wednesday’s speech seemed designed to solidify the perception that he is the candidate most likely to defeat Trump in the general election.
“It’s up to 330 million Americans who have to do what our president can’t,” Biden told his audience. “Stand together.”
“Stand against hate,” he added. “Stand up for what, at our best, this nation believes.”
Biden’s remarks about Trump’s moral character came in the wake of two mass shootings that killed 31 people and wounded more than 50 others in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, last weekend. Shortly before the El Paso massacre, the shooter posted a so-called manifesto online that mimicked some of Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric.
Trump, who was traveling to El Paso aboard Air Force One after visiting shooting victims in Dayton, was apparently watching Biden’s speech.
“Watching Sleepy Joe Biden making a speech. Sooo Boring!” the president tweeted. “The LameStream Media will die in the ratings and clicks with this guy. It will be over for them, not to mention the fact that our Country will do poorly with him. It will be one big crash, but at least China will be happy!”
Earlier Wednesday, Trump dismissed the notion that his comments contributed to violence.
“I don't think my rhetoric [contributes] at all,” the president said. “I think my rhetoric is a very — it brings people together.”
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