PG A.M.: Biden tells Atlanta radio station ‘Trump hurt Black people’

Your daily jolt of news and analysis from the AJC politics team
President Joe Biden, right, spoke with Atlanta radio show host Big Tigger on Wednesday to promote his campaign. Biden is pictured seated next to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at a recent meeting.

Credit: Susan Walsh/AP

Credit: Susan Walsh/AP

President Joe Biden, right, spoke with Atlanta radio show host Big Tigger on Wednesday to promote his campaign. Biden is pictured seated next to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at a recent meeting.

In the latest sign that Joe Biden may be worried about backlash to his Sunday commencement address to Morehouse College graduates, the president joined Atlanta radio show host Big Tigger on Wednesday to promote his campaign and bash former President Donald Trump.

“Look, Trump hurt Black people every chance he got,” he said of his upcoming rematch. “Black unemployment, uninsurance rates went up under Trump. Trump’s tax plan reinforced discrimination. Typical white households got double the cut of the typical Black household. They botched COVID-19 response, leaving Black people dead and Black-owned businesses shuttered.”

In the appearance on V-103 radio, Biden echoed other Democrats by brushing aside the threats of protests to his commencement speech. He said he looked forward to speaking “to the future leaders of America this weekend.”

“But I’ve been very clear. Every American has the right to peacefully protest,” Biden said. “Once that protest crosses the line into hate speech and violence, that’s unacceptable.”

Faith leaders organized by the Atlanta Multifaith Coalition for Palestine recently demanded that President Joe Biden not speak at the Morehouse College commencement unless he calls for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza.

Credit: Miguel Martinez/AJC

icon to expand image

Credit: Miguel Martinez/AJC

Above and beyond potential protests this weekend, Democrats know Biden must perform well among Black voters, especially in Georgia, if he hopes to win the White House. A New York Times/Sienna poll released earlier this week showed Biden with a lower-than-expected lead among Black voters in the state.

Although most strategists were skeptical of those numbers, few doubt that Biden has work to do in the key group.

***

President Joe Biden (left) and former President Donald Trump (right) are set to debate next month.

Credit: AP

icon to expand image

Credit: AP

ATLANTA DEBATE. President Joe Biden was looking to shake up his campaign when he announced the surprising decision to debate former President Donald Trump on June 27 in Atlanta. The debate will be one of the earliest presidential showdowns in recent history.

Trump quickly accepted the offer to join the CNN-sponsored faceoff, a swift agreement that underscored why the event in the cable giant’s Atlanta studios made political sense for both of them.

Biden has employed a more combative campaign approach of late, looking to drive a sharper contrast between him and Trump. The debate offers a chance to juice up supporters while denying Trump the live audience he often feeds off.

What’s more, Biden aides hope the early date forces voters who dread the rematch to tune back into the campaign trail earlier than they otherwise would have.

As for Trump, he has for months mocked Biden’s mental health and stamina. There may be no better opportunity to assert that message than a showstopping presidential debate that is bound to draw tens of millions of viewers and wall-to-wall media coverage.

Both are competing fiercely in Georgia, which narrowly voted Democrat in 2020 for the first time in almost three decades. The two candidates will likely schedule a series of other events in Georgia in a runup to the debate, mindful of polls showing a tight race.

Both candidates are happy to keep Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and other third-party spoilers on the sidelines, since they could pose a threat to both.

The timing of the summer showdown in Atlanta, along with an ABC News debate set for September, gives both plenty of time to recover should they suffer an uneven performance.

***

U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock is championing legislation to protect a popular hiking trail. He is pictured on a recent visit to a fiber-optic cable manufacturing facility in Norcross.

Credit: Elijah Nouvelage for the AJC

icon to expand image

Credit: Elijah Nouvelage for the AJC

HAPPY TRAILS. Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Atlanta, joined Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina on Thursday to introduce bipartisan legislation that could pave the way toward expanding protections for a popular hiking trail.

The bill involves designating the Benton MacKaye Trail as a National Scenic Trail. Supporters hope transforming the 300-mile trail, which stretches from north Georgia through Tennessee and North Carolina, into a federally protected footpath will attract more visitors and also draw more resources to protect vulnerable flora and fauna species.

“More than simply initiating a new federal walking path through our natural environment, this bill is an investment in our nation’s forests and green spaces, a bridge connecting communities, and a powerful catalyst for our rural economies,” said Warnock.

***

Conservative activists intend to challenge the validity of thousands of Georgia voter registrations, according to an AJC report.

Credit: Miguel Martinez/AJC

icon to expand image

Credit: Miguel Martinez/AJC

VOTER CHALLENGES. Georgia’s new election law is the catalyst for an effort by conservative activists to challenge the validity of thousands of Georgia voter registrations this summer, the AJC’s Mark Niesse reports.

The activists will seek to disqualify voters who appear to have moved from Georgia, adding to the 250,000 challenges filed in 2020 and more than 100,000 since. Most attempts to disqualify registered voters have been dismissed by county election boards.

But this round, activists are recruiting volunteers and targeting voters based on data from organizations such as EagleAI and True the Vote. They will also use the election law Gov. Brian Kemp signed this month, which sets criteria for local election boards to uphold or deny voter challenges.

***

Virginia Baker, mother of slain UGA law student Tara Louise Baker, wipes tears from her eyes as Georgia state Rep. Houston Gaines speaks during a news conference this month about an arrest in the 23-year-old cold case death.

Credit: Elijah Nouvelage for the AJC

icon to expand image

Credit: Elijah Nouvelage for the AJC

LISTEN UP. Today on the “Politically Georgia” radio show, WRBL-TV’s Chuck Williams gives an update as the Republican Party of Georgia kicks off its convention in Columbus.

Then, state Rep. Houston Gaines, R-Athens, talks about the recent arrest of a suspect in the Tara Baker cold case and the legislation he sponsored that the GBI said made the arrest possible.

Listen live at 10 a.m. on WABE 90.1 or follow “Politically Georgia” on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

If you missed Wednesday’s show, Carter Center CEO Paige Alexander talked about President Jimmy Carter’s legacy of service and the issues the center is tackling today. Also, former Fulton County Commissioner John Eaves, a Morehouse College alum, talked about why he was excited about President Biden’s upcoming commencement speech at his alma mater.

***

 University System of Georgia Chancellor Sonny Perdue will be a guest on the "Politically Georgia" show being taped in Macon.

Credit: Miguel Martinez

icon to expand image

Credit: Miguel Martinez

YOU’RE INVITED. Speaking of the “Politically Georgia” radio show, we’re taking it on the road for a live taping in Macon tonight and you’re invited.

Join us as we talk to guests University System of Georgia Chancellor Sonny Perdue, Macon-Bibb County Mayor Lester Miller and Mayor Pro-Tem Seth Clark.

Doors at the Capitol Theatre open at 5:30 p.m. and the show starts at 6 p.m. RSVP here.

Macon is the second stop on a 2024 road tour. “Politically Georgia” taped in Athens last month, with Gov. Brian Kemp as guest.

***

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., voted against the reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration bill.

Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/AP

icon to expand image

Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/AP

AVIATION BILL ALMOST LAW. The U.S. House voted overwhelmingly in favor of a five-year reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration bill that gives Delta Air Lines at least one additional round-trip flight in and out of Reagan National Airport in Washington.

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Rome, was the only Georgia lawmaker to vote against the bill, which was approved 387-26. In a post on social media, Greene said that she opposed the clean energy and diversity initiatives found within the legislation.

Greene also noted her opposition to a provision that requires airlines to automatically provide refunds to customers experiencing delayed or canceled flights — a change the industry is unhappy with.

***

 This May 8, 1964 file photo shows Linda Brown Smith standing in front of the Sumner School in Topeka, Kansas. The landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision was made 70 years ago this week.

Credit: AP

icon to expand image

Credit: AP

TODAY IN WASHINGTON:

  • President Joe Biden meets at the White House with plaintiffs from the Brown v. Board of Education decision and their families as part of a series of events commemorating the 70th anniversary of the landmark desegregation ruling.
  • The Senate has confirmation votes lined up.
  • The House takes additional votes on bills related to policing and law enforcement.

***

Cooper Hoffman-Morrison, 13, is a veteran of plenty of campaigns and campaign-related moves. He is now a happy Georgian.

Credit: Courtesy Dave Hoffman

icon to expand image

Credit: Courtesy Dave Hoffman

DOG OF THE DAY. There’s a new power couple in town among Georgia politicos.

Dave Hoffman, the new communications director for the Democratic Party of Georgia, and his wife Lacey Morrison, the Georgia state director for Democrats’ coordinated campaign, moved to Atlanta from California recently. The duo brought along the previously mentioned power couple, Cooper and June, when they moved east.

Cooper, a 13-year-old terrier mix, and June, a 10-month-old shepherd mix, are settling into their new digs just fine. That has included helping their people understand that 5 a.m. walks still happen, even on Atlanta’s many, many rainy days.

Welcome to town, Cooper and June. You’re our Dogs of the Day!

June Morrison-Hoffman calls Democratic heavyweights Lacey Morrison and Dave Hoffman her people.

Credit: Courtesy photo

icon to expand image

Credit: Courtesy photo

***

AS ALWAYS, Politically Georgia readers are some of our favorite tipsters. Send your best scoop, gossip and insider info to greg.bluestein@ajc.com, tia.mitchell@ajc.com, patricia.murphy@ajc.com and adam.vanbrimmer@ajc.com.