Joe Biden mocked President Donald Trump’s claims to speak out against antisemitism, saying the president is dividing the country and turning a blind eye to white supremacists.
“President’s talking about how he’s worried about antisemitism,” Biden told The New York Times’ editorial board in an interview the newspaper posted Friday. “This recent rule about universities.” Biden referred to an executive order Trump issued last month linking federal funding for universities to how seriously the campus addressed antisemitism.
“This is the same guy who watched antisemites, their veins bulging, coming out of fields, literally carrying torches,” Biden said, referring to the deadly neo-Nazi protests in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017.
“It was almost like a movie,” Biden said. “Preaching antisemitic bile. The same exact thing that was preached and hollered in the streets of Nuremberg in the ‘30s and throughout Germany, carrying swastikas. Kid gets killed, a young woman. President’s asked to comment, and he said there were very fine people on both sides.”
Trump’s defenders have said that his reference to “very fine people” at the time was to Civil War history buffs who oppose removal of the statues of Confederate heroes, the action the neo-Nazis were ostensibly protesting, and also note that Trump condemned neo-Nazis. However, the protesters in Charlottesville on that day were overwhelmingly white supremacists and neo-Nazis, the march was organized by white supremacists, and most of the violence was planned and perpetrated by the marchers.
“That’s the single most important thing we have to excise,” Biden said, referring to white supremacy. “Have you heard him say a word about white supremacy? Have you heard him say a word that would lead anybody to believe he still not decided that the only way to win is divide the country?”