Former Vice President, Joe Biden, met with black leaders at a church in his home state of Delaware on Monday to talk about police brutality, racism, and the impact of the Trump presidency on minority America.
What We Know:
- With his medical mask lowered onto his chin, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee heard the concerns of community leaders in Wilmington about the relationship between police and people of color. He pledged to create a police oversight board within his first 100 days in office, an idea backed by reformers who say a national standard for police behavior is needed.
- “The Band-Aid has been ripped off by this pandemic and this president. Nobody can pretend any longer what this is all about. Nobody can pretend who has been carrying this on their back. It’s been minorities,” Biden said.
- The appearance was notable for its contrast with President Donald Trump and its location at a public building. Biden, whose campaign strength is in personal connections with voters, has been hamstrung by having to conduct a campaign from his basement and living room.
- The former vice president laid a Memorial Day wreath in Delaware, accompanied by his wife, Jill Biden, and on Sunday ventured out to talk with local residents protesting the death of George Floyd, who was videotaped pleading for his life as a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck.
- Trump, in contrast, spent the weekend inside the White House – at one point ushered to a basement bunker as demonstrations in Lafayette Park, across from the White House, grew violent. The president has been tweeting calls for more aggressive responses from law enforcement and demanding “LAW & ORDER!”
- While Biden was sitting in Wilmington’s Bethel AME Church, Trump was talking to governors during a video conference call about the nationwide protests. Accounts of the call indicate the president berated governors, called them “weak” and insisted that protesters should be jailed for 10 years.
- Biden, speaking to about a dozen local leaders, listened somberly, his chin in his hand, and talked about the institutional racism he said is damaging America.
- “Hate just hides. It doesn’t go away. And when you have somebody in power who breathes oxygen into the hate under the rocks, it comes out from under the rocks,” Biden said in the church.
- The vice president also criticized Trump for the other major crisis facing the nation – the coronavirus pandemic.
- “This COVID epidemic has basically shut down the country in the last three months. And, by the way, if we’d shut it down a month earlier, we’d have probably another 45 to 60,000 people (who) would be alive instead of dead,” Biden said.
- “I’m going to say something outrageous – he didn’t listen to guys like me in January, saying we have a problem,” Biden added.
- A recent Columbia University study said that, had the nation implemented social distancing just a week earlier in March, 36,000 lives could have been saved. Trump, in response to the study, called Columbia a “liberal, disgraceful institution”.
Biden indeed raised alarm about the coronavirus in January. Trump has repeatedly said, meanwhile, that his Jan. 31 order restricting travel from China has greatly limited the spread of the virus.