And the president argues that he’s done more than any predecessor in American history with “the possible exception” of Abraham Lincoln, who freed black people from slavery during the Civil War.
Trump’s tweets on Wednesday come as the nation faced more than a week of peaceful protests as well as violent clashes and rioting sparked by the death of George Floyd, a black man from Minnesota who died last week after a white Minneapolis police officer put his knee on the handcuffed Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.
The president’s faced widespread criticism from Democrats and even some Republicans for some of his controversial comments and responses since the start of the unrest that’s swept many cities across the country.
Taking to Twitter, Trump compared his record to that of the former vice president and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
“In 3 1/2 years, I’ve done much more for our Black population than Joe Biden has done in 43 years. Actually, he set them back big time with his Crime Bill, which he doesn’t even remember,” he tweeted.
As he jumped into the White House race 14 months ago, Biden was slammed by many of his nomination rivals for his role as a senator from Delaware leading efforts to write and pass the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. The law has long been criticized for unfairly impacting minorities for its “three strikes” rule, which expanded the death penalty and increased incarcerations, and for encouraging tougher parole rules.
Early last year, before he launched his presidential campaign, Biden apologized for his past stance on criminal justice. And last summer he introduced a criminal justice plan that would reverse some of the elements of the 1994 law by eliminating racial disparities and providing second chances for those incarcerated.
In his tweets, the president went on to claim that “I’ve done more for Black Americans, in fact, than any President in U.S. history, with the possible exception of another Republican President, the late, great, Abraham Lincoln...and it’s not even close.”
Biden, in a speech Tuesday, said that “the president of the United States must be part of the solution, not the problem. But this president today is part of the problem and accelerates it.”
And he charged that “Donald Trump’s turned this country into a battlefield driven by old resentments and fresh fears. He thinks division helps him. His narcissism’s become more important than the nation’s well-being that he leads.”
In defending his record, the president often spotlights the First Step Act, a criminal justice bill that he signed into law in late 2018. Among other changes, the measure reforms federal prisons and sentencing laws and decreases the federal inmate population.
A new national poll indicates that more Americans have confidence in the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee than the GOP incumbent in the White House to handle the combustible issue of race relations.
Fifty-two percent of people questioned in a Monmouth University poll said they have a great deal or some confidence in Biden to handle race relations, with 40 percent feeling the same way about the president. Half said they had no confidence in Trump to handle race relations, with 29 percent saying the same thing about Biden.