Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden seems to utter at least one eyebrow-raising gaffe a day, and while he actually had several on Wednesday, one in particular stood out for its outrageousness.
Former Vice President Biden claimed in a virtual town hall that President Donald Trump is the “first” openly racist president to be elected in the nation’s history — a claim that stands in sharp contrast with the rhetoric of his own party’s base, as the Washington Examiner reported.
Biden: Trump is first racist president
Biden’s ahistorical remark came while speaking with members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in a sparsely-watched online event and after a South Korean immigrant viewer raised the issue of President Trump’s use of slang terms in reference to the coronavirus that originated in China.
“What President Trump has done in going his — his spreading 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,” Biden replied, according to the Examiner.
“No sitting president has ever done this. Never, never, never,” Biden added. “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.”
History lesson required
Biden’s claim deservedly drew widespread backlash from all sides, including from many on the left, as it directly contradicts the driving motivations behind the recent toppling and vandalism of historic monuments — including those of past presidents — the left has deemed indefensibly racist.
Business Insider reported that no fewer than 12 of our nation’s presidents were slave owners, and at least eight owned slaves while in office. There were numerous prior presidents involved in forcibly displacing and/or waging war against Native American tribes, a fact that also appeared to slip Biden’s mind.
A number of former presidents were open supporters of segregation, including President Woodrow Wilson, who resegregated the federal government and invited the Ku Klux Klan to the White House for a screening of notorious pro-KKK film Birth of a Nation.
Biden apparently also forgot about Democrat President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who rounded up Japanese–Americans during World War II and placed them in internment camps for the duration. Presidents George H.W. and George W. Bush, as well as President Ronald Reagan, have also been routinely tagged with the racist label by those on the left.
Campaign attempts clarification
The strident criticism of Biden’s assertion actually compelled his campaign to issue a clarification, Fox News reported, with senior adviser Symone Sanders saying in a statement: “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.”
As Fox reported, Sanders added:
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.
This was arguably one of the most misguided misstatements uttered by Biden in quite some time, but odds are it will quickly be forgotten — perhaps as soon as Biden lets loose with yet another fact-free gaffe.