Biden: Trump responsible for inspiring white nationalist violence in US

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenObama, Clinton reflect on Mondale's legacy Biden, Harris commend Mondale in paving the way for female VP Mondale in last message to staff: 'Joe in the White House certainly helps' MORE on Wednesday blamed President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse votes to condemn Chinese government over Hong Kong Former Vice President Walter Mondale dies at age 93 White House readies for Chauvin verdict MORE for several high-profile incidents of racial violence in the U.S., accusing the president of inspiring deadly hate crimes by embracing white nationalist extremism.

Speaking to a group of supporters in Burlington, Iowa, Biden lashed out at the president in his most pointed remarks to date, accusing Trump of unleashing “the deepest, darkest forces in this nation.”


“We have a problem with this rising tide of white supremacy in America and we have a president who encourages it and emboldens it,” Biden, the 2020 Democratic frontrunner, said.

“Indeed, we have a president with a toxic tongue who has publicly and unapologetically embraced the political strategy of hate, racism and division.” he added.

Biden said Trump “has more in common with George Wallace than he does with George Washington,” and he cast the 2020 election as a “battle for the soul of this nation.”

As Biden spoke, Trump fired back at him from Air Force One as he flew from Dayton, Ohio, to El Paso, Texas, in between meetings with first responders and survivors of the weekend's mass shootings.

"Watching Sleepy Joe Biden making a speech. Sooo Boring!" Trump tweeted. "The LameStream Media will die in the ratings and clicks with this guy. It will be over for them, not to mention the fact that our Country will do poorly with him. It will be one big crash, but at least China will be happy!"

The three major cable news networks all carried Biden’s speech live.

The former vice president, who leads in nearly every national and early-voting state survey for the Democratic presidential nomination, pointed the finger at Trump for the mass shooting in El Paso last weekend in which the alleged gunman wrote in a manifesto that the attack was a “response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”

Trump’s critics have noted that the president has used similar language in referring to immigrants trying to enter the country illegally. The Trump campaign has placed thousands of advertisements on Facebook since January warning of an “invasion” at the U.S. southern border.

“How far is it from Trump saying this is an invasion, to the shooter in El Paso saying ‘this attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas’ How far apart are those comments?” Biden asked.

“I don’t think that far at all,” Biden continued. “In both clear language and in code, this president has fanned the flames of white supremacy in this nation.”

The White House has disputed the notion that Trump’s rhetoric was the inspiration for the El Paso shooter.

The president on Monday gave a speech from the White House condemning white supremacy.

“In one voice, our nation must condemn bigotry, hatred and white supremacy,” Trump said. "These sinister ideologies must be defeated.”

But Biden said Wednesday that Trump’s body language in that speech showed a lack of conviction.

“His low energy, vacant-eyed mouthing of the words written for him condemning white supremacists this week, I don’t think fooled anyone at home or abroad,” Biden said.

The former vice president said Trump is mouthing the words while seeking to keep white supremacists close so that they’ll turn out to vote for his reelection campaign in 2020.

“When he says it, he doesn’t appear to believe it,” Biden said. “He seems more concerned about losing their votes, than beating back this hateful ideology.”

Biden also blamed Trump for recent deadly incidents in Charlottesville and Pittsburgh that were driven by racist ideologies.


And he outlined many of Trump’s racial controversies, from his remarks on Charlottesville that there good people on “both sides,” to him saying that several women of color in the House should “go back” to their home countries, to his description of Mexican immigrants as rapists and his recent attack on Baltimore as a “rat infested” and uninhabitable city.

Trump on Wednesday accused his opponents of “looking for political gain” by tying his comments to the shooting in Texas.

“I think my rhetoric brings people together,” Trump said. “Our country is doing really well.”

Biden on Wednesday sought to take a big-picture approach, saying that the inhabitant of the White House has to be someone who represents U.S. values.

He pointed to past presidents in both parties who have sought to heal the nation after tragic events as representative of “American character.”

“George H.W. Bush renouncing his membership in the NRA. President Clinton after Oklahoma City. George W. Bush going to a mosque after 9/11. President Obama after Charleston. Presidents who led chose to fight for the best of what American character is about,” Biden said. “There is deafening silence now ... our president has aligned himself with the darkest forces and it makes winning the battle for the soul of our nation that much tougher.”