Biden slams Trump rhetoric

US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden with a supporter during a campaign event in Burlington, Iowa, yesterday. PHOTO: DPA
US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden with a supporter during a campaign event in Burlington, Iowa, yesterday. PHOTO: DPA

LOS ANGELES/CHARLESTON • US Democratic presidential front runner Joe Biden has accused President Donald Trump of fuelling the white supremacy beliefs blamed for several US mass shootings, as Mr Trump visited two cities where 31 people were killed in rampages last weekend.

Mr Biden, a former vice-president, said in a speech: "In both clear language and in code, this president has fanned the flames of white supremacy in this nation."

The weekend's back-to-back mass shootings intensified criticism of what many say is incendiary rhetoric by Mr Trump.

The President, who has insisted he is not a racist, said in a speech on Monday that Americans must "condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy".

Last Saturday, a gunman killed 22 people in El Paso, a Texas city on the border with Mexico.

Law enforcement agencies said the suspected gunman was driven by hatred for Hispanics, citing an online manifesto apparently written by the shooter that was rife with anti-immigrant hatred.

In the second mass shooting just 13 hours later, a gunman in Dayton, Ohio, fatally shot nine people, including his sister, before he was killed by the police.

Mr Trump's rhetoric, including referring to Central Americans trying to enter the United States as "an invasion", and his hardline immigration policies have exposed him to renewed condemnation following the El Paso shooting.

In his national address, the President proposed reforming mental health laws, working with social media to detect possible mass shooters and keeping guns away from people considered potentially violent.

 

He stopped short of calling for major gun law reforms.

Mr Biden said: "We have a President who has aligned himself with the darkest forces in the nation."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2019, with the headline 'Biden slams Trump rhetoric'. Print Edition | Subscribe