Joe Biden, the Presumptive Democratic Presidential candidate, has labelled Donald Trump as the first racist President of the United States.
Biden made the comment during a virtual town hall organised by the Service Employees International Union.
When a questioner complained of racism linked to the coronavirus outbreak and mentioned the president referring to it as the “China virus”, Biden responded by blasting Trump and “his spread of racism”.
Biden signaled that he shared the questioner’s concern that Trump frequently refers to the pandemic as the “China virus,” saying, “the way he deals with people based on the color of their skin, their national origin, where they’re from, is absolutely sickening.”
“No sitting president has ever done this,” Biden said. “Never, never, never. 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.”
Biden also suggested that Trump was using race “as a wedge” to distract from his mishandling of the pandemic.
Responding to Biden’s comments at a White House briefing on Wednesday, Trump pointed to his administration’s efforts passing criminal justice reform legislation and expanding opportunity zones, as well as the low unemployment numbers for minority groups before the coronavirus outbreak.
“I’ve done more for Black Americans than anybody with the possible of exception of Abraham Lincoln,” the president said. “Nobody has even been close.”
As against Biden claims, the United States has had leaders who either were openly racist, such as enslavers, used racist language, expressed racist views or enacted racist policies.
Many United Staes Presidents including George Washington owned slaves.
The country’s 28th president Woodrow Wilson is having his name removed from Princeton University’s public policy school after recent protests against racism and police brutality. Wilson, who served in the early 20th century, supported segregation and imposed it on several federal agencies.
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