At a White House briefing later Wednesday, Trump responded to a question about Biden’s comments by pointing to his administration’s efforts passing criminal justice reform legislation and expanding opportunity zones, as well as the low unemployment numbers for minority groups before the coronavirus outbreak.
“I’ve done more for Black Americans than anybody with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln,” the president said. “Nobody has even been close.”
Katrina Pierson, a senior adviser for Trump’s reelection campaign, said in a statement that “no one should take lectures on racial justice from Joe Biden.”
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Biden is actively courting the Black vote, which is crucial to his hopes of becoming the nation’s 46th president in November. In May, Biden told listeners of a popular Black radio talk show that “if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”
Biden made the comment during an appearance on “The Breakfast Club,” hosted by radio personality Charlamagne tha God. He later apologized for his comments.
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Biden has vowed that, if elected, he will begin addressing institutional racism within his first 100 days of taking office. This was not the first time he has suggested Trump’s actions were racist.
Biden has built his campaign around the election being a “battle for the soul of the nation” and says he felt compelled to run for president after he saw Trump respond to a deadly 2017 white supremacist attack on counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, by saying there were “some very fine people” on both sides.
Donald Trump calls Black Lives Mattermural a ‘symbol of hate’.
When Trump said last year that four Democratic congresswomen of color should “go back” to their countries, Biden called it a “flat, racist attack.”
Biden has committed to choosing a female running mate, and Sen. Kamala Harris of California and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms are among the women of color rumored to be on a short list. However, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who is white, is consistently polling high among Black Democrats as their preferred choice.
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Earlier this year, Biden committed to choosing a female running mate and also said he would appoint a Black woman to the Supreme Court. Since the death of George Floyd while in custody of Minneapolis police and the resulting national unrest and protests, some Democrats are reportedly increasing pressure on Biden to choose a Black female running mate.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.