Former Vice President Joe Biden is among the latest to criticize President Trump for his response to the deadly Virginia protests, suggesting the president has allowed the “darkest forces in America” to undo years of progress on civil rights.
“The giant forward steps we have taken in recent years on civil liberties and civil rights and human rights are being met by a ferocious pushback from the oldest and darkest forces in America," Biden, who served in the administration of President Barack Obama, writes in an opinion piece published Sunday in The Atlantic.
Biden, a former Democratic senator who has run for president, also seems to affirm the argument that those who supported Trump’s presidency are connected to the deadly Aug. 13 protests in Charlottesville, Va., that were triggered by a rally organized by white supremacists by asking: “Are we really surprised they rose up?”
"Today we have an American president who has publicly proclaimed a moral equivalency between neo-Nazis and Klansmen and those who would oppose their venom and hate,” Biden continues. “We have an American president who has emboldened white supremacists with messages of comfort and support. … There is no place for these hate groups in America. Hatred of blacks, Jews, immigrants -- all who are seen as 'the other' -- won't be accepted or tolerated or given safe harbor.”
Trump condemned neo-Nazis, the KKK and the supremacists after the deadly rally in which a counter-protester was fatally struck by a car. However, he has been widely criticized for also saying “both sides” are to blame for the violence.
Biden left public office earlier this year with the Obama administration, after considering a 2016 presidential run on the Democratic ticket. He decided not to run because his son Beau was dying from brain cancer but said in March that he regrets not running.
Biden has repeatedly said he won’t run again for office, but the potential 2020 presidential field for Democrats remains wide open.
This spring, the 74-year-old Biden started a political action committee, or PAC, called American Possibilities.
“In January of 2009, I stood waiting in Wilmington, Delaware, for a train carrying the first African-American elected president of the United States. I was there to join him as vice president on the way to a historic Inauguration,” Biden also writes, before criticizing Trump for pardoning Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. “He won’t stop. Now he’s pardoned a law-enforcement official who terrorized the Latino community, violated its constitutional rights, defied a federal court order to stop, and ran a prison system so rife with torture and abuse he himself called it a ‘concentration camp.’ ”