Donald Trump ‘abandoned the theory that we are one people’
WASHINGTON – Saying that the president has “abandoned the theory that we are one people,” former Vice President Joe Biden on Monday slammed President Donald Trump’s rhetoric following two mass shootings, including one in El Paso, Texas, where Latinos were apparently specfically targeted by the alleged shooter.
“There’s no question that his rhetoric has contributed to at a minimum of dumbing down the way in which we as a society talk about one another,” Biden said during an interview with CNN.
“We’ve always brought the country together. ‘We the people.’ ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident,'” he continued. “He flies in the face of all the basic things that — We’ve never really met the standard. We’ve never abandoned it before. He looks like he’s just flat abandoned the theory that we are one people.”
Biden’s comments come days after back-to-back mass shootings — one in El Paso and the other in Dayton, Ohio.
Biden’s comments were broadcast the same day former President Barack Obama posted a statement online in reaction to the two shootings.
“We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments,” Obama said in a statement posted on Facebook and Twitter. “Leaders who demonize those who don’t look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life, or refer to other people as sub-human, or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of people.”
O’Rourke: Trump ‘has no place’ in El Paso
Barack Obama: US should reject language from leaders that ‘feeds a climate of fear and hatred’
Authorities have said the alleged El Paso shooter published a “manifesto” before the shooting that contains anti-immigrant and racist rhetoric. Authorities have also said they are investigating the attack as a potential hate crime.
The suspect is a 21-year-old white man from Allen, Texas — part of the Dallas suburbs and nearly nine hours from El Paso.
As of Monday, the death toll is 22 people in the El Paso shooting with another 24 injured.
Biden said that he believes white supremacists are winning in the United States.
“The white supremacists, they’re winning the battle. This is domestic terrorism,” Biden said of the El Paso shooting. “This is a president who continues to speak in ways that just are completely contrary to everything who we are.”
The former vice president said that this moment in history is a continuation to the white nationalists marching in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. Biden also compared Trump’s language to President Andrew Jackson, a racist antebellum commander in chief who owned slaves.
“Nobody’s said anything like the things he’s saying,” he said, adding that Trump’s language contributes and legitimizes those who think that way to speak out.
“The American public unfortunately is getting exposed to just how deeply and badly this nation has been divided by this president and the absolute, absolute … attack on the character of the country that’s going on,” he continued. “They are feeling it and they are seeing it, and it’s a different place.”
Trump has denounced the shootings and the hateful ideologies that some believe motivated the El Paso shooting.
“In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated,” Trump said Monday, addressing the nation. “Hate has no place in America.”
Trump also indicated that his administration’s response to the shootings would be focused more on mental health and cultural issues than on gun control.
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Biden said should he defeat Trump in 2020, his new administration would ban Americans from buying assault rifles. He added that he would implement a buyback program to get such weapons off the street.
When asked how he would implement gun control laws in a nation divided on the issue, Biden pointed to all the stories of mass shootings and said that the American people are now seeing the damage guns have caused.
“Now the American people are hearing the stories, they’re seeing,” Biden said. “People are beginning to understand the depth of, the depth of the damage and how this is scarring, scarring the country.”
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