By Edward Isaac Dovere
March 1, 2016
Vice President Joe Biden spent his Super Tuesday thanking Donald Trump—for making the country face up to the racism lurking just below the surface.
Biden laid into Trump at his home at the Naval Observatory during a small event in honor of Black History Month.
“I want to thank Donald Trump,” Biden said, as the crowd broke out in laughter. “The stuff he’s doing, and others, the stuff [Ted] Cruz is doing. He’s making the American people look in the mirror. And the American people are honest. And they look in the mirror and see what’s looking back at them.”
Biden said he had just been watching the early returns come in on television and reflecting. The Republican primary race, Biden said, might help the country confront and combat institutional racism.
“Maybe the divisiveness, particularly with the other team right now, maybe it’s a good thing, to awaken the American people about the subtle and not so subtle deals going on,” Biden said, linking the divisiveness about African-Americans to Muslims, gays and the immigration debate.
Donald Trump speaks at the White and Gold Ballroom at The Mar-A-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., on Super Tuesday as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie listens.
Biden said he was optimistic about what’s ahead, crediting the Black Lives Matter movement for getting him thinking and having “awakened ordinary Americans.”
The country has an obligation now to address institutional racism, Biden said.
“We all kind of knew it, but we didn’t quite talk about it” when there were fights over voting restrictions or access to credit, which he attributed to race.
“It’s hard to believe how hard it still runs in some sectors, particularly for people with little financial means,” Biden said.
Recalling the history of the Civil Rights movement and his own small role fighting segregation in Delaware and working as a public defender at the start of his career, Biden said that the country was potentially facing another turning point that he likened to Rep. John Lewis leading the march for voting rights in Selma 50 years ago.
This is potentially a pivotal, generational moment, Biden said, and one that could be “as consequential as walking across that bridge.”
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