Joe Gandelman on Monday published the statement made by former President Barack Obama mourning the victims and grieving with the families of the latest mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, but also powerfully condemning and rejecting the hate and fear speech that incites such violence.
Today, in an even more eloquent, powerful and perhaps defining speech in Burlington, Iowa, former Vice President Joe Biden called out Trump’s hateful, divisive, political rhetoric, which “gives license and safe harbor” to white supremacists, neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and which “has fanned the flames of white supremacy in the nation.”
Watch the entire speech here.
The most compelling excerpts have been added below.
Read some of it here.
“The words of a president matter. They can move markets. They can send our brave women and men to war. They can bring peace. They can calm a nation in turmoil. They can encourage us to appeal to our better angels, to our better nature, but they can also unleash the deepest, darkest forces in this nation. And that’s what I believe Donald Trump has chosen to do.
“How far is it from Trump’s saying this ‘Is an invasion’ to the shooter in El Paso declaring, quote, ‘This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas’? How far is it from white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville — Trump’s ‘very fine people’ – chanting ‘you will [not] replace us’ to the shooter at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh saying Jews are ‘committing genocide’ on his people. I don’t think it’s that far at all…It’s both clear language and in code. This president has fanned the flames of white supremacy in this nation.
“[Trump’s] low-energy, vacant-eyed mouthing of the words written for him condemning white supremacists this week, I don’t believe fooled anyone at home or abroad. The energetic embrace of this president by the darkest hearts and most hate-filled minds in this country says it all.
“We have a problem with this rising tide of supremacy, white supremacy in America and we have a president who encourages and emboldens it…
[Referring to four presidents who] “led, who opposed, chose to fight for what the best of American character is about,” “Sadly, we don’t have that today…Our president has aligned himself with the darkest forces in this nation. And that makes winning the battle for the soul of this nation that much tougher — harder.
“Trump offers no moral leadership. He seems to have no interest in unifying the nation. No evidence that the presidency has awakened his conscience in the least. Indeed, we have a president with a toxic tongue who has publicly and unapologetically embraced a political strategy of hate, racism, and division.
“We’re living through a rare moment in this nation’s history. Where our President isn’t up to the moment. Where our President lacks the moral authority to lead. Where our President has more in common with George Wallace than he does with George Washington.
“We are almost 330 million Americans who have to do what our President can’t. Stand together. Stand against hate. Stand up for what is best, our nations’ best, when we’re the best.
“…I really do believe this — that history will look back on this president as an aberrant moment in American history. But if Donald Trump is reelected, I believe he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation.
Joe Biden concluded, “Everyone knows who Donald Trump is. We need to show them who we are. We choose hope over fear. Science over fiction. Unity over division. And, yes — truth over lies. If we stand together, we will win the battle for the soul of this nation…We are the United States of America…
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.