Taking their war of words to a new high, US President Joe Biden on Thursday accused Republicans of following former President Donald Trump into a “deep black hole” of white supremacy.
At a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial, Biden launched a vicious attack at his predecessor, accusing him of appealing to racists and white supremacists.
Martin Luther King Jr. was a leader in the American civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968.
“The violent, deadly insurrection on the (US) Capitol nine months ago, it was about white supremacy, in my opinion,” Biden said of the Jan. 6 riot, when a pro-Trump mob stormed the US Capitol.
He drew parallels between the infamous incident and other episodes in American history, including a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 in which one counter-protester was killed.
“I’ve said it before… according to the United States intelligence community, domestic terrorism from white supremacists is the most lethal terrorist threat in the homeland,” the US president said.
Biden lashed out at Trump for wooing his racist followers with hateful rhetoric and speeches meant to provoke racist attacks.
“We had a president who appealed to the prejudice,” but that “the good news is, we ripped the band-aid off,” Biden said, in an acerbic attack at his former presidential rival.
Addressing Republicans, Biden said “I am not your president. Donald Trump is still your president,” calling out Trump by name in a rare move.
He then did the sign of the cross while joking, “As we Catholics say, ‘Oh my God.’”
Biden acknowledged frustration that Congress has been unable to agree to review policies following the 2020 murder of George Floyd, a Black man, during police custody in Minneapolis.
“I remember many times, meeting his little daughter, and she’d say to me, my daddy’s changing history, he is going to change history,” he said. “We haven’t fulfilled that yet. I understand, you got to keep fighting, let me be clear though, we’re going to continue to fight for real police reform legislation.”
He also rapped Senate Republicans for blocking measures to ease voting, especially for Black and brown people who played a key role in toppling Trump.
Since Trump’s loss to Biden in 2020, Republicans have passed several measures that make it increasingly difficult to vote. Senate Republicans have now used the filibuster to block three pieces of legislation meant to secure voting rights.
“They (Senate Republicans) are following my predecessor, the last president, into a deep deep black hole of a mess,” Biden said. “Jim Crow in the 21st century is now a sinister combination of voter suppression and election subversion.”