Joe Biden: Donald Trump is ‘the first racist’ to be elected president

USA - 2020 - Former VP Joe Biden - UNLV Student Union - Las Vegas - NV

I understand where Joe Biden was coming from on this story, but he bungled his messaging. In a town hall event last night, Biden was talking about racism and the coronavirus, and simply trying to reference Donald Trump’s blatantly racist statements about “the China Virus” and “kung flu.” There have been actual consequences to Trump’s racism specific to the coronavirus – an increase in hate crimes and verbal abuse towards Asian-Americans over the past four months. But, as I said, Biden bungled it a bit:

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) referred to President Trump as the first “racist” president during a town hall event on Wednesday. Biden was questioned during the event, which was organized by the Service Employees International Union, about Trump’s tendency to refer to COVID-19 as the “China virus” or “Wuhan virus.”

“What President Trump has done in 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 said. “No sitting president has ever done this. 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 went on during the town hall to accuse the president of attempting to “divide” the U.S. among racial lines.

“The way he pits people against one another is all designed to divide the country, divide people, not pull them together,” Biden said. “Look what he’s doing now. He’s blaming everything on China. He’s blaming everything on the Chinese. And people don’t make a distinction, as you well know, [between] a South Korean and someone from Beijing. They make no distinction. It’s Asia. And he’s using it as a wedge.”

[From The Hill]

“No sitting president has ever done this. Never, never, never.” I mean… I know what he was trying to say, but… we’ve absolutely had racist AF presidents before. In the 20th century, we had MANY racist AF presidents. In the 19th century, we had MANY racist AF presidents. Biden was trying to delineate between someone – like Trump – being blatantly racist versus the dog-whistle racism we usually see in modern politics, where Ronald Reagan talks about “welfare queens” or Nixon talks about the “Silent Majority” or Karl Rove spearheading a whisper campaign claiming John McCain has a black child. I hope Joe Biden understands that he can completely talk about Donald Trump as an ahistorical fascist, racist demagogue without making it about how “Trump is the first racist to ever sit in the Oval Office!”

President Trump Participates in an Opening Up America Again Roundtable

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.

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30 Responses to “Joe Biden: Donald Trump is ‘the first racist’ to be elected president”

  1. Lemons says:

    I think Ta-Nehisi Coates said this, but he referred to Trump as America’s first “white” President. Yes, we’ve had white male presidents before, but that was the norm…the default. They were not elected because they were white. Everyone was white.

    After Barack Obama upended that notion, white America voted for someone that pandered to their notion of what it means to be a (white) American…an embodiment that literally sends chills down my spine and makes me nauseous.

    Maybe Joe felt that he couldn’t say it like this, but I wish he had. That would probably be too much for some moderates. But yes, we’ve absolutely had racist presidents in the past.

    • Bettyrose says:

      Lemons, well stated. Maybe you could coach Joe? But yes I think Trump could be considered first president who actively violates the current day societal standards on racism. Frankly we’re a racist country.

  2. liz says:

    Ah, no. Our first president enslaved people for his entire life. Andrew Jackson was responsible for the Trail of Tears. Woodrow Wilson and the segregation of the Federal Civil Service. And so on . . .

    • phaedra7 says:

      In fact, Drumpf’s FAVORITE POTUS is Andrew Jackson–right above Nixon and Reagan, who are his other main choices. 😡

  3. C-Shell says:

    And FDR (a Democrat) interned Japanese Americans in camps, but I get where Biden was going with this, bless his heart. He’ll be “clarifying” these remarks probably today. I think Trump’s blatant and vile fascism and racism is really shocking us all so deeply that words are inadequate. Hyperbole, isn’t hyperbole anymore.

  4. Redgrl says:

    Yeah, no. Hardly the first racist. Perhaps the first in a while to be elected by blatantly pandering to racism.

  5. Astrid says:

    I saw the headlines earlier today and thought there must have been some mistake. Of course we’ve had terribly racist presidents since George Washington.

  6. ce says:

    I don’t even care what Biden says or how under normal circumstances I would have side-eyed him. Literally do not care, gonna vote for him anyway. It’s either that or the continuation of this fascist regime. No thanks! Vote biden

    • fluffy_bunny says:

      At this point it’s just voting for the lesser of 2 evils. My in laws have a theory that he’s just going to hand over the presidency to his VP on day 1. Still don’t care. Still voting for Biden.

  7. Diana says:

    Don’t care…. I’m still voting for Joe!!! Trump is so destructive and awful!!!! He’s got to go.

  8. Andrew’s Nemesis says:

    I think Biden meant ‘fascist’. But I see what he means. Trump ran on a platform of WHITE power and WHITE business and WHITE supremacy and WHITE law and order. He experiences BIPOCs as servants, his door openers and maids and chauffeurs and croupiers. Never equals. He was brought up to believe that WHITE IS RIGHT IS MIGHT. Mary Trump states how the unthinkable N word was casually thrown about the Trump home. And he’s linking Covid19 to people of colour. Who else did that? Why, Hitler, with his reference to my people as poisonous bacilli that need to be eradicated. Trump is a Nazi through and through. And the more he uses branches of the Army as his personal force in Portland and now Chicago and Alberqueque, the more he shows people what he is.
    I don’t think Biden is wrong on this, and I hope he clarifies by speaking of fascism.

    • whatWHAT? says:

      FYI, the military has made it clear that those “soldiers” are NOT affiliated with the US armed forces and are saying that, whoever they are (my guess is private military contractors – like Blackwater), they should not be wearing camo.

      it stupid anyway, why camo when you’re not in the jungle or other vegetation?

      • Andrew’s Nemesis says:

        @WhatWhat That’s really interesting; thank you for the information. That doesn’t just imply but shrieks that the Army won’t support Orange Nazi if there were a prospective coup. Which is good to know. Gosh, that bible photo op really backfired, didn’t it?
        Camo? Perhaps because it’s meant to look military and elicit fear: ‘these people mean business’. Until the Wall of Moms makes them cower away, whimpering. Pretty sad, as you say…

      • Kateeee says:

        Because fatigues are for soldiers, and wearing them gives these agents a veneer of authority and legitimacy. And in photographs, it looks like protesters are grappling with American soldiers and HOW ANTIAMERICAN. Everything in Trump world is optics.

    • fluffy_bunny says:

      I think the federal forces they are deploying are Homeland Security. At least that’s what google says. They’re like Border SWAT.

  9. Helena says:

    EVERY single American president EXCEPT for Barack Obama has been a racist and even Obama has some classist overtones in his outlook.

    Those are just facts.

  10. lucy2 says:

    First one to openly use racism as a campaign platform, maybe? Or first openly racist one in the modern era that people alive experienced? I don’t know. Yeah, definitely bungled in that we had a LONG line of racist presidents before this.
    Someone who bungled some wording about calling out a racist > The racist in question.

  11. Rapunzel says:

    I think he means the first President voted for because he’s racist? Which seems accurate. Trump was elected because of the racial resentment harbored by white folks towards POC.

  12. jferber says:

    I won’t quibble. Short, pithy punch lines are the way to go in this political climate (morons). More than one sentence baffles them. Think, “Lock her up,” “Make America great again,” “America for Americans.” He gives a subtle, well-spoken explanation and he’s lost a majority of his audience. He’s in very good hands with his advisors and his heart is in the right place. So yes, Trump is the first racist president. Done. Vote for him.

  13. KellyRyan says:

    Joe needs to be both informed and coached. No the US does not have the best history, and we do have an opportunity to change attitudes and dialogue. My matriarchal family, Sicilian, were treated horribly when they arrived in the US in the 1800′s. Northern Italians arrived with ease, southern and Sicilians did not. This is another Victor Hugo moment, “There is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come.”

  14. aang says:

    George Washington ordered the destruction of 40+ Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) villages, the men slaughtered and the crops burned. 28 of 30 Seneca villages were destroyed. It resulted in mass starvation. It was a genocide against my ancestors. He was given the name Hanadagá:yas which means Town Destroyer.The Haudenosaunee refer to every sitting American president since then as Hanadagá:yas. We have never had a president that didn’t commit atrocities against someone’s village somewhere in the world.

  15. Lightpurple says:

    First President who openly delighted in being racist.

    • Donnóg says:

      Absolutely this. No attempt to hide it, no shame in not hiding it, no masking of it with ambiguity, absolutely secure in the knowledge that he was speaking for himself and and on behalf of ‘his people’.

      Biden’s not wrong here.

  16. Also Ali says:

    Trump is the most openly racist US president any of us posting here have lived through.

    He may not be the first, but he’s the worst. There’s your next slogan.

  17. cisne says:

    joe joe joe joe!!! He does not have much going on between those ears at all! better of two evils at this stqge.

  18. S2 says:

    The messaging is bungled for sure, but I took this to mean The First Racist … Like in the way you talk about The First Lady. A title signifying Trump’s leading American racists, not that he’s the first racist to ever be President.

  19. Kateeee says:

    I take Biden to mean Trump is the first openly racist president in the sense that racism is his entire platform. Biden’s comment is messaging for NIMBy voters, the sort of Diet Racists who support the notion of equality but not the practices or systems required to get us there. Still, it isn’t nothing to hear Biden, the Democratic nominee for president, say this. 1. I cannot remember an election where, if the suggestion of racism came up AT ALL, it wasn’t met with indignance and pearl-clutching by both sides. 2. At least he is trying to engage on the issue himself instead of making his promised Black female VP choice do this work and get pummeled for it. So… no, it isn’t satisfying to anyone that is paying attention, but if it helps voters to abandon Trump, flucking fine, let’s just get on with it. Least Worst Option 2020.

  20. adastraperaspera says:

    Biden has to get out there and figuratively bloody Trump’s nose. This does it. Our present moment is about the removal of this cancer from our body politic. Period. I don’t at all believe Biden is suggesting we truck in hagiography of former presidents.

  21. Liz version 700 says:

    I get the tone, but ummm we have had a lot of bigoted presidents. Particularly the ones who owned slaves. DJT is the first gleefully bigoted president since the Civil Rights movement maybe? The first Racist Orange President?

  22. anp says:

    He should be more accurate with history before using that horrible word.

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