Former Vice President Joe Biden told a group of black supporters on Thursday that he thinks “there are probably anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of the people out there that are just not very good people,” The New York Times reports.
“The words a president says matter, so when a president stands up and divides people all the time, you’re going to get the worst of us to come out,” Biden said during a virtual event moderated by actor Don Cheadle.
“Do we really think this is as good as we can be as a nation? I don’t think the vast majority of people think that,” he said. “There are probably anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of the people out there that are just not very good people, but that’s not who we are. The vast majority of the people are decent, and we have to appeal to that and we have to unite people — bring them together. Bring them together.”
Comment reminiscent of Romney, Hillary flubs:
The comment quickly brought to mind Hillary Clinton’s 2016 remark calling some Trump supporters “deplorables.”
“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?” she said before her election loss. “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.”
Mitt Romney made a similar ill-advised flub before his loss in 2012.
“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it,” Romney said at the time. “That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.”
“Mr. Trump, for his part, has made harsh, denigrating and insulting remarks about many individuals as well as whole groups of people and countries, including African-Americans, Mexican immigrants, Muslims, women, Jewish donors, and Haiti and some nations in Africa,” The Times noted.
Biden tries to reach black voters:
Biden spent more than an hour discussing race relations on Thursday.
“I’m a white man,” he said. “I think I understand but I can’t feel it. I feel it but I don’t know what it’s like to be a black man walking down the street and be accosted, or to be arrested or, God forbid, something worse.”
“Hate didn’t begin with Donald Trump, it’s not going to end with him,” he added. “The history of our country is not a fairy tale, it doesn’t guarantee a happy ending, but as I said earlier, we’re in a battle for the soul of this nation. It’s been a constant push and pull for the last 200 years.”
“I thought we had made enormous progress when we elected an African-American president, I thought things had really changed,” he said. “I thought you could defeat hate, you could kill hate. But the point is, you can’t. Hate only hides, and if you breathe any oxygen into that hate, it comes alive again.”