x

Politics

Joe Biden Calls Trump the Country’s “First” Racist President

WASHINGTON (AP) — Joe Biden said Wednesday that President Donald Trump was the country's “first” racist president.

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee’s comments came during a virtual town hall organized by the Service Employees International Union. When a questioner complained of racism surrounding the coronavirus outbreak and mentioned the president referring to it as the “China virus,” Biden responded by blasting Trump and “his spread of racism.”

"The way he deals with people based on the color of their skin, their national origin, where they’re from, is absolutely sickening,” the former vice president said. “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 also suggested that Trump is using race “as a wedge” to distract from his mishandling of the pandemic.

Many presidents — including the nation’s first, George Washington — owned slaves.

President Woodrow Wilson, the country's 28th president, is having his name removed from Princeton University's public policy school after recent protests against institutional racism and police brutality. Wilson, who served in the early 20th century, supported segregation and imposed it on several federal agencies.

At a White House briefing later Wednesday, Trump responded to a question about Biden's comments by pointing to his administration’s efforts passing criminal justice reform legislation and expanding opportunity zones, as well as the low unemployment numbers for minority groups before the coronavirus outbreak.

“I’ve done more for Black Americans than anybody with the possible of exception of Abraham Lincoln," the president said. “Nobody has even been close.”

Katrina Pierson, a senior adviser for Trump’s reelection campaign, said in a statement that ”no one should take lectures on racial justice from Joe Biden."

Biden has vowed that, if elected, he will begin addressing institutional racism within his first 100 days of taking office. This was not the first time he's suggested Trump’s actions were racist.

Biden has built his campaign around the election being a “battle for the soul of the nation” and says he felt compelled to run for president after he saw Trump respond to a deadly 2017 white supremacist attack on counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, by saying there were “some very fine people" on both sides.

When Trump said last year that four Democratic congresswomen of color should “go back” to their countries, Biden called it a “flat, racist attack.”

___

By WILL WEISSERT Associated Press

Associated Press writer Jill Colvin in Washington contributed to this report.

RELATED

GENEVA (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping called Monday for greater world cooperation against COVID-19 and said China would send an additional 1 billion doses of vaccine to other countries, while urging other powers to discard a "Cold-War mentality" at a time of rising geopolitical tensions — a veiled swipe at the United States.

Top Stories

United States

I’ve only ‘met’ Zaferios G Caragianades once in the pages of history.

Politics

Ambassador Dimitrios Tsikouris (JD, MA) has a 36-year-long career in the Greek Diplomatic Service with assignments in Germany, the United Nations, New Orleans, Washington, DC, NATO Defense College in Rome, Italy, Iran, Belgium, Indonesia, Malaysia, and ASEAN.

Politics

ATHENS – Growing violence on Greek campuses will be dealt with, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a pledge to root out offenders who are allowed to stay in school despite causing problems.

Video

Jill Biden: I Didn’t Expect “Healing Role” as First Lady

LAS VEGAS — Her husband campaigned to help unite the country, but Jill Biden says "healing" a nation wounded by a deadly pandemic, natural and other disasters and deep political polarization is among her chief roles as first lady, too.