Joe Biden says the protests that have sprung up across the United States in wake of the death of Black people at the hands of police officers shows Americans have reached an “inflection point.”
What’s more, he said he believes Americans are prepared to take on the country’s “original sin: slavery and all the vestiges of it.”
“This is the first chance we’ve had in a generation, in my view, to deal with and cut another slice off institutional racism,” Biden said.
Speaking during a socially distanced listening session at a church less than 2 miles away from where Jacob Blake was shot by a police officer, the Dem presidential nominee pledged to use his time in the White House to dismantle the systematic racism he said was keeping Black and other minority Americans from prosperity.
“I can’t guarantee you everything gets solved in four years,” he said. “But I guarantee you one thing: it’ll be a whole heck of a lot better. We’ll move a lot further down the road.”
In the lead-up to Biden’s visit, former Gov. Scott Walker and state GOP chair Andrew Hitt knocked the former vice president for “playing politics” in an effort to boost his poll numbers in the wake of the violence in Kenosha.
Biden touted experience early in his career serving as a public defender and civil rights advocate. He said during that period, he mistakenly thought hate could be defeated.
“Hate only hides and when someone in authority breathes oxygen under that rock, it legitimizes those folks to come on out from under the rocks,” Biden said.
He went on to slam President Trump’s response to the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., which he said “legitimizes the dark side of human nature.” He accused his opponent of spreading fear and division to win another term in office.
But by contrast, he said, he came away from an hour-long conversation with Blake and his family with an “overwhelming sense of resilience and optimism.” Biden met with the family and its legal team after landing at the airport in Milwaukee.
Biden said Blake, who joined the meeting for 15 minutes by phone, expressed to him “how nothing was going to defeat him; how, whether he walked again or not, he was not going to give up.”
Ahead of Biden’s visit, Walker criticized him for that meeting, accusing him of “prematurely” placing blame on police officers for the shooting and encouraging the presidential candidate to “reserve judgment before the investigation is complete.”
Meanwhile, Hitt said Biden, who had not visited Wisconsin in almost two years, is coming to Kenosha in hopes of aiding his polling numbers in the state. He cited the former vice president’s previous reluctance to travel amid COVID-19 outbreaks.
“He’s finally been smoked out of the basement,” Hitt said of Biden’s anticipated visit. “This is a desperation trip from Joe Biden.”
Biden spoke for about 40 minutes of the hour-and-10-minute event, largely focusing on ensuring racial equality and dismantling systemic racism.
After hearing testimony from a series of white and Black Kenosha residents on the impact of recent violent protests on their community, Biden condemned looting and burning of property before turning to policy. He listed a number of initiatives he wanted to put in place that he believed would help Black Americans, including:
*nationalizing a $15-per-hour minimum wage;
*revamping the prison system to change its focus from “punishment to reform”;
*adding transparency to the criminal justice system;
*bumping up funding for Title I schools to improve educational outcomes;
*and creating a White House commission on policing aimed at rooting out bad cops.
Biden said those initiatives and many more could be paid for by “eliminating the tax cut for the top one-tenth of 1 percent.” But he said the programs and changes he wanted would be funded “without raising your taxes one penny if you make less than 400 grand.”
He closed the listening session by invoking the Declaration of Independence and pledging to turn the “birthright” that “all men and women are created equal” into a reality.
“We haven’t been willing to do this, but I think the public’s ready,” he said. “If they’re not, it doesn’t matter because there’s certain things I ain’t going to change. Certain things are worth losing over and this is something worth losing over.”
Watch the video: https://youtu.be/TrfxgrGEY4A?t=8