Vice President Biden on Tuesday delivered a sarcastic thank-you to Donald TrumpDonald TrumpClinton, Sanders to campaign together in New Hampshire Trump enters new debate frontier Gingrich labels Clinton 'fox,' Trump 'hedgehog' in tweet MORE for forcing the country to confront its deep-seated racial problems.
“I want to thank Donald Trump,” he said, drawing laughter from a small crowd assembled for a Black History Month reception at the Naval Observatory, according to a pool report.
The vice president ripped into Trump on Super Tuesday, when the bombastic real estate mogul’s victories cemented his status as the Republican Party’s presidential front-runner.
But Trump has come under fire for wavering over whether to disavow backing from prominent white supremacist David Duke.
Biden said he was watching early returns on TV before speaking to the crowd, and he tried to paint a silver lining on the results.
“Maybe the divisiveness, particularly with the other team right now, maybe it’s a good thing — to awaken the American people about the subtle and not-so-subtle deals going on,” Biden said.
The vice president linked racism toward African-Americans with discrimination against Muslim-Americans, immigrants and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
He spoke highly of the Black Lives Matter movement, saying it “awakened ordinary Americans” and himself to the depths of institutional racism.
“If we’re smart, and we’re lucky, I’m convinced that the American people are prepared over the next decade to gradually deal with institutional racism,” he said.