Former Vice President Joe Biden delivered an impassioned speech slamming President Donald Trump on June 2, calling him out for "fanning the flames of hate" amid nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd. The words "I can't breathe", Biden said, "are a wake-up call for our nation".
Without offering specifics, he promised to "deal with institutional racism" and set up a police oversight body in his first 100 days in office, if elected. "We're just serving the passions of his base and the needs of the people in his care for that's what the presidency is, the duty to care for all of us, not just those that vote for us, but all of us".
But he also named some of today's leaders, including Rev. William Barber, and called on Congress to act now to reform policing laws - including a bill introduced by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) to outlaw choke holds.
He said the president was more interested in power than in principle because of his threats to use military force to stop the unrest in nationwide protests over the death of Floyd by a Minnesota police officer who kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes.
He noted that Eric Garner, who died six years ago in police custody in NY under similar circumstances, had uttered the same words.
It was the third consecutive day that Biden made a public appearance and the first time he's been out of the state since March.
Peaceful protesters in a park outside the White House on Monday were hit with tear gas so that Trump could cross the park and visit St. John's Church for a photo opportunity - a move that the Episcopal bishop that oversees the church later condemned. I'll do my job and take responsibility.
His speech on Tuesday marked the first time he has left his home state of DE since mid-March, when the outbreak of the novel coronavirus forced him to campaign largely from his house.
Pompeo slams China for interfering with American journalists in Hong Kong
He said this was to account for any actions Beijing might contemplate ahead of China's National People's Congress this Friday. Signed into law in November 2019, the act requires the State Department to audit Hong Kong's level of " autonomy " annually.
"The president held up the Bible at St. John's Church yesterday. His narcissism has become more important than the nation's well-being that he leads", Biden said.
The poll, released Tuesday, asked respondents a variety of questions pegged to the unrest over the killing of George Floyd, and the issues associated with it.
Biden said Trump "might also want to open the U.S. Constitution". "We're a nation enraged but we can't let our rage consume us". "We all need to take a hard look at the culture that allows for these senseless tragedies to keep happening".
Biden's standing with the black community weighs heavily as he works to deny Trump a second term. And nobody will get it right every time. African Americans rescued Biden's flailing primary campaign, but it's unclear if they will turn out for him in large numbers in November. But I promise you this. They are echoing throughout this nation.
Biden pledged he would "not traffic in fear or division".
"I will seek to heal the racial wounds that have long plagued this country - not use them for political gain".
Meanwhile, U.S. House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi said decisions would be made "in just a short period of time" on legislation to address racial profiling and actions by police, after days of mass protests in the United States.
The former vice president recently came under fire for telling a radio host and African American voters in an interview that "you ain't black" if they back Trump's re-election.