Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Thursday called President Donald Trump “one of the most racist presidents we’ve had in modern history” and mocked Trump by calling him “Abraham Lincoln.”
The incident came after moderator Kristen Walker claimed that “black and brown” parents must prepare their children to be targeted by the police “for no reason other than the color of their skin.”
Biden began by remarking that the nation has never lived up to its promise of equality in the Declaration of Independence.
When it was Trump’s turn to speak, he said, “Nobody has done more for the black community than Donald Trump.”
“And if you look, with the exception of Abraham Lincoln, possible exception, but the exception of Abraham Lincoln, nobody has done what I’ve done,” he said.
The president contrasted his record with that of the former vice president and President Barack Obama, saying, “Criminal justice reform, Obama and Joe didn’t do it. I don’t even think they tried because they had no chance at doing it. They might’ve wanted to do it. But if you had to see the arms I had to twist to get that done, it was not a pretty picture. And everybody knows it, including some very liberal people that cried in my office. They cried in the Oval Office.”
Biden replied by defending his record and saying he would ensure that drug offenders do not go to prison but rehabilitation.
“But why didn’t he do it four years ago?” Trump said. “Why didn’t you do that four years ago? Even less than that. Why didn’t you when you were vice president? You keep talking about all these things you’re going to do, and you’re going to do this, but you were there just a short time ago and you guys did nothing.”
Walker then upbraided Trump on his comments about Black Lives Matter and his opposition to NFL players kneeling in protest during the national anthem.
“What do you say to Americans who say that kind of language from a president is contributing to a climate of hate and racial strife?” the moderator said.
“Well, you have to understand the first time I ever heard of Black Lives Matter, they were chanting, ‘Pigs in a blanket,’ talking about police, ‘pigs, pigs,’ talking about our police. ‘Pigs in a blanket, fry them like bacon.’ I said, ‘That’s a horrible thing.’ And they were marching down the street. And that was my first glimpse of Black Lives Matter, I thought it was a terrible thing.
“As far as my relationships with all people, I think I have great relationships with all people. I am the least racist person in this room.”
Then Biden pounced to denounce his opponent.
“Abraham Lincoln here is one of the most racist presidents we’ve had in modern history,” the Democrat said. “He pours fuel on every single racist fire, every single one.
“Started off his campaign coming down the escalator saying he’s getting rid of those Mexican rapists. He’s banned Muslims because they’re Muslims. He has moved around and made everything worse across the board. He says to, about the Poor Boys, last time we were on stage here he said, ‘I tell them to stand down and stand ready,'” Biden said, apparently referring to the conservative group the Proud Boys.
“Come on, this guy has a dog whistle about as big as a foghorn,” he said.
After Trump asked where the Lincoln reference came from, Biden replied, “You said you’re Abraham Lincoln.”
The president corrected him.
“I said, ‘Not since Abraham Lincoln has anybody done what I’ve done for the black community,'” he said. “I didn’t say, ‘I’m Abraham Lincoln.’ I said, ‘Not since Abraham Lincoln has anybody done what I’ve done for the black community.’
“Now, you have done nothing other than the crime bill, which put tens of thousands of black men, mostly, in jail.”
“Oh, God,” Biden muttered as Trump spoke before replying, “Not true.”
“And you know what?” the president said. “They remember it because if you look at what’s happening with the voting right now, they remember that you treated them very, very badly. Just take a look at what’s happening out there.”
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