Biden, Man Known for Racist Comments, Compares Himself to Lincoln
Maybe invoking Lincoln’s memory wasn’t the best move.
President Joe Biden’s inaugural address Wednesday made a stab at calling forth the better angels of American history, but his explicit mention of the 16th president didn’t just remind his countrymen of one of the most eloquent orators to ever grace the national stage.
It also brought to mind Biden’s own troubled past when it comes to statements on racial matters — and they’re not all that long ago.
On Wednesday, Biden sought to compare himself to one of the men on Mount Rushmore.
According to a transcript of his speech, Biden said:
“When [Abraham Lincoln] put pen to paper, the president said, and I quote, ‘If my name ever goes down in history, it will be for this act, and my whole soul is in it.’ My whole soul is in it. Today on this January day, my whole soul is in this: Bringing America together … and I ask every American to join me in this cause.”
Biden, quoting Lincoln:
“My whole soul is in it.”
— Peter Fox (@thatpeterfox) January 20, 2021
The comparison is more than a little inappropriate.
It was only in May, remember, that Biden told popular New York radio host Lenard Larry McKelvey – better known as “Charlemagne Tha God” – that black voters who were undecided whether to support the Democratic ticket or President Donald Trump in the 2020 election had a problem with their racial identity.
“Well I tell you what, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black,” Biden said, as CNN reported.
Black American conservatives like, say, Candace Owens, might have a problem with that.
And then there was the time in August 2019, when the Democratic field was still crowded with his competitors for the party’s nomination — including his eventual running mate Kamala Harris — that Biden memorably noted that “poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.”
It might have just been a slip of the tongue, but it’s more likely that Biden was summoning up the subconscious stereotypes that in the United States, poverty is the norm for black youths. But not to worry, they’re “just as talented as white kids.”
Biden’s clear condescension toward black people got plenty of attention.
In October, Leo Terrell, a civil rights attorney, radio host and Trump supporter — who also happens to be black — gave fellow conservative Larry Elder — who also happens to be black — a damning summation of Biden’s career on racial matters.
“I see all these things that Donald Trump has done, and I’ve been a civil rights attorney for 30 years,” he said. “I don’t know what Joe Biden has done for black people other than insulting blacks.”
To be fair to Biden, sometimes his remarks aren’t so much insulting as merely offensive, seeming to bespeak a mind that sees the country divided in a weird worker caste system where black people are in inherently menial positions.
One of those times was also in October, when Biden said Americans stuck in their residences due to the coronavirus pandemic realized that “the reason I was able to stay sequestered in my home was because some black woman was able to stock the grocery shelf.”
Across the country, Americans of all races had to ask, “Is he serious?”
Questions about Biden’s sincerity weren’t new during the 2020 campaign either.
Going back to his earliest days in the Senate, when he represented Delaware, Biden cozied up to some of the most outspoken segregationists of his era — Democrats all, it should be noted.
That fact came back to haunt him more than once during the primary fight.
In fact, now-Vice President Kamala Harris made probably her biggest splash of the campaign when she all but slammed Biden as a racist during Democratic debate in June of 2019. (That was all forgotten when she got a chance at the national ticket, though. Democrats like Harris are nothing if not opportunistic.)
For today, however, the question isn’t whether Biden’s numerous slips regarding race are signs that he’s got a benighted view of the topic no matter how “woke” he and his party seem to be. It’s not even whether they indicate that maybe the 46th president isn’t at the top of his game mentally — as was asked so often during the presidential campaign.
The question is whether Biden’s invocation of Abraham Lincoln was the best way to re-introduce himself to a country that has seen him as part of the national political scene for almost half a century already.
The answer is a resounding no. Americans revere the memory of Abraham Lincoln for reasons too numerous to name. They know Joe Biden, they’ve seen Joe Biden work.
And to paraphrase one of the great ripostes of American politics, they can tell Joe Biden:
“Mr. President, you’re no Abraham Lincoln.”
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