Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden tore into President Trump’s “both sides” reaction to the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville during a community meeting at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Thursday.
Biden held the community meeting shortly after a meeting at the Milwaukee airport with the family of Jacob Blake, a Black man whose shooting by police last month left him paralyzed and sparked protests soon after.
Following remarks by several speakers during the community meeting — which included a firefighter, a lawyer and a woman whose business was looted — the former VP recounted his experience as a young attorney when he made the “mistake” of thinking “you could defeat hate.”
“Hate only hides. It only hides,” Biden said. “And when someone in authority breathes oxygen under that rock, it legitimizes those folks to come on out. Come out from under the rocks.”
Biden then recalled how he didn’t plan to run for office again after his late son Beau had died, but that his plans changed upon seeing white supremacists carrying torches during the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in 2017.
The Democratic presidential nominee then took aim at Trump’s reaction to the Charlottesville rally, when he said “there are very fine people on both sides.”
“No president has ever said anything like that,” Biden said, before adding that the President’s reaction to the 2017 white supremacist rally demonstrates that Trump “legitimizes the dark side of human nature.”
Biden went on to argue that Trump’s remarks exposed the “underlying racism that is institutionalized” in the United States and has existed for 400 years, which he said is what led up to circumstances of police brutality like Blake and the city of Kenosha are facing.
Although the President paid a visit to Kenosha a day before Biden held his community meeting, he has not spoken with Blake’s relatives. During a press conference on Monday, Trump said he would not meet with Blake’s family in Wisconsin because he “thought it would be better not to do anything where there were lawyers involved.”
The President also claimed that he had a “great talk” with the Blake family’s pastor, which Blake’s father denied during an interview with CNN. White House senior communications adviser Ben Williamson later tweeted that Trump talked about speaking to the pastor of the younger Blake’s mother.
Watch Biden’s remarks below:
BIden discusses Trump's "both sides" reaction to Charlottesville: "It legitimizes the dark side of human nature." pic.twitter.com/aIE9XdUHWL
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) September 3, 2020
- Contributions allow us to hire more journalists
- Contributions allow us to provide free memberships to those who cannot afford them
- Contributions support independent, non-corporate journalism