During a speech on Irish-American heritage and immigration in Dublin on Friday, Vice President Joe Biden warned against nationalist and xenophobic rhetoric from politicians in Europe and the United States.
He noted that there has been unrest over issues like immigration, the economy, and terrorism, but said that blaming immigrants is not the appropriate response.
“All this provides fertile terrain for reactionary politicians and demagogues peddling xenophobia, nationalism and isolationism,” Biden said, according to the Los Angeles Times, perhaps alluding to rhetoric from Donald Trump. “We see it in Europe, we see it in other parts of the world and we see it in my home country, where some politicians find it convenient to scapegoat immigrants instead of welcoming them; to play to our fears rather than, as Abraham Lincoln said, ‘to appeal to our better angels’; divide us based on religion or ethnicity rather than unite us in our common humanity; build walls instead of bridges.”
“It is un-American what we have been seeing. I’m here to tell you it is not who we have become. It is not who we are,” he continued.
Biden’s comments in Ireland came shortly after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, a movement fueled in part by anti-immigrant rhetoric.
Trump, who has called to bar Muslims from the U.S. and curb immigration, applauded Britain’s decision to leave the European Union and compared Brexit to his campaign.
Earlier on Friday, Biden said that he “respects” Britain’s decision to leave the EU.
“I want to ensure all of you in this room that America’s special bond with the United Kingdom runs deep and will endure. And our relationship with Ireland and the European Union will remain the cornerstone of our global engagement,” he said, according to CNN.