President Biden delivers ‘Strong Message’ on White supremacy during visit to South Carolina

US President Joe Biden | Credits: Reuters
US President Joe Biden | Credits: Reuters

United States: President Joe Biden of the United States slammed white supremacy and political violence in a direct message to Black voters on Monday during a visit to South Carolina aimed at bolstering a vital constituency whose support has dwindled since his elections. Biden spoke from the pulpit of the historic Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, where Dylann Roof, an avowed white supremacist, killed nine Black parishioners in 2015.

Biden Criticizes Trump and Highlights Administration Achievements

 The Democratic president stepped up his criticism of former President Donald Trump, the leader for the Republican Party’s 2024 candidacy while praising his administration’s achievements to cut inflation, reduce Black unemployment, and combat housing discrimination.

Describing the 2015 attack at the church, Biden said, “The word of God was pierced by bullets of hate and rage propelled by not just gunpowder but by poison. The poison that has for too long haunted this nation. And what is that poison? White supremacy … This has no place in America — not today, tomorrow, or ever.”

Former US President Donald Trump | Credits: Getty Images

Biden viewed Trump as a threat to democracy, citing a violent attack on the United States Capitol in 2021 by Trump supporters seeking to overturn the Republican party’s election loss.

“That violent mob was whipped up by lies from a defeated former president,” Biden said. “His actions were among the worst dereliction of duty of any president in American history.” “He’s a loser,” Biden said, drawing applause from hundreds attending the speech.

Biden Thanks Black Voters in the South Amidst Reelection Concerns 

 Recent polling has shown Trump leading Biden in swing states that will decide who wins the White House this year, and a Reuters/Ipsos survey from December predicted a tight rematch.

Biden’s campaign announced that he would come to South Carolina ahead of the Democratic presidential primary on February 3. The president thanked Black voters in the South for their support in electing him president.

Protesters chanted “ceasefire now,” referring to Israel’s assault on Gaza, which has killed more than 23,000 Palestinians. Biden stated that he has been negotiating with the Israeli administration to “get them to reduce and significantly get out of Gaza.”

Representation for Black voters | Credits: Getty Images

Some audience members chanted “Four more years” when Biden took the podium, then again after the protesters were escorted away. Biden’s trip to the Southern states came as some Democrats doubted his reelection strategy. Some contributors have expressed a desire to hear Biden be more frank or aggressively challenge Trump rather than focusing on the economy.

Biden Addresses Concerns About His Reputation Among Black Voters 

Representative James Clyburn, a Democrat whose backing helped Biden win South Carolina in the 2020 primary, expressed concern on Sunday about Biden’s reputation among Black voters and frustration that the president’s record had not resonated.

Clyburn, who gave Biden a rousing introduction, told him that he was concerned that Democrats had “not been able to break through that MAGA wall in order to get to people exactly what this president has done.”

Former President Barack Obama, who was concerned about Trump’s chances of winning in 2024, discussed the campaign with Biden over lunch before Christmas, according to a source familiar with the encounter.

According to the Washington Post, Obama has urged allies that Biden’s campaign should be able to make decisions without requiring White House approval.

Biden’s campaign announced on Monday that Mitch Landrieu, who helped administer Biden’s $1 trillion plan to build new bridges, roads, and high-speed internet, will resign his White House position to help lead the reelection push.

Prioritizing South Carolina

Biden’s trip comes as Democrats have changed their primary calendar to prioritize South Carolina above Iowa’s caucus and New Hampshire’s traditional first-in-the-country primary voting.

South Carolina has not supported a Democrat for president since 1976, but Democrats feel the state’s varied population more accurately represents the party’s voters.

One campaign strategist told Reuters that the team is investing sooner than before to contact voters of color rather than parachuting closer to Election Day to boost turnout.