Biden in Gettysburg speech invokes Lincoln, calls for unity


Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden delivered an impassioned plea for unity while invoking former President Lincoln during a speech in Gettysburg, Pa., on Tuesday, exactly four weeks before the election.

“A house divided could not stand. That is a great and timeless truth,” Biden said, referring to Lincoln’s famous “House Divided” speech. “Today, once again, we are a house divided. But that, my friends, can no longer be.”

The former vice president touched on numerous crises the U.S. has faced while also drawing sharp contrasts between himself and President Trump one month out from Election Day.

“As we stand here today, a century and a half after Gettysburg, we should consider again what can happen when equal justice is denied and when anger and violence and division are left unchecked,” Biden said against the backdrop of the iconic Civil War battlefield.

“As I look across America today, I’m concerned,” he continued. “The country is in a dangerous place. Our trust in each other is ebbing. Hope is elusive.”

Biden spoke a day after Trump returned to the White House following his hospitalization at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for treatment for COVID-19.

Trump’s positive coronavirus diagnosis late last week and his subsequent response have rocked Washington while putting a renewed focus on his handling of the pandemic just weeks before the election.

Critics hit Trump on Monday after he publicly removed his face mask upon his return to the White House from Walter Reed.

Biden in his address Tuesday afternoon emphasized the importance of coronavirus precautions, seeking to contrast himself with Trump.

“Let’s set the partisanship aside. Let’s end the politics. Let’s follow the science,” he said. “Wearing a mask isn’t a political statement. It’s a scientific recommendation. Social distancing isn’t a political statement. It’s a scientific recommendation.”

Biden emphasized the need for a national strategy to combat the virus, adding that the pandemic does not know political boundaries.

“It infects us all. It will take anyone’s life. It is a virus — not a political weapon,” he said. 

The former vice president also addressed tensions surrounding the nationwide discussion on racial injustice and police brutality, arguing it was possible to acknowledge the need for law and order while recognizing the existence of injustice. 

“I do not believe we have to choose between law and order and racial justice in America,” Biden said. “We can have both.” 

Trump and Republicans have long worked to paint Biden as weak on law and order amid ongoing protests over racial injustice. Biden, meanwhile, pushed back Tuesday on the claim that he has called for the defunding of police departments.

“I believe in law and order. I have never supported defunding the police,” he said. “But I also believe injustice is real.”

Tags Donald Trump Joe Biden

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