Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenWarren gains on Biden in Iowa: Poll Polls: Biden maintains lead in multiple primary states after debate Elizabeth Warren calls Trump a white supremacist MORE, a 2020 Democratic contender, said on Thursday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump cites brother’s struggles with alcohol as driving force behind fight against opioids Booker: ‘Knowing the bloody, violent truth of our past empowers me’ Analyst says Trump’s Venezuela policy is driven by Florida politics MORE “encourages” white supremacists.
“I believe everything the president does encourages white supremacists, and I don’t know there’s much of a difference,” Biden said at the Iowa State Fair, when asked if the president is a white supremacist. “As a matter of fact, it may be even worse.”
“Whether he is or is not a white supremacist, he encourages them. He’s afraid to take them on,” Biden continued.
Biden also took a jab at Trump, who has nicknamed the former vice president “Sleepy Joe.”
“If you notice the one time he used the word white supremacy … you talk about sleepy, he was awful sleepy in the way in which he talked about it,” Biden said, referring to remarks Trump delivered on Monday condemning white supremacy in the aftermath of a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas.
NEW: Asked if he thinks Pres. Trump is a white supremacist, Joe Biden tells @marykbruce, “I believe everything the president says and has done encourages white supremacists, and I’m not sure there’s much of a distinction. As a matter of fact, it may be even worse.” pic.twitter.com/0pDiMPF820
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 8, 2019
The suspected gunman in the El Paso shooting allegedly wrote a racist, anti-immigrant manifesto before the attack, which described fears of a Latino “invasion.”
Biden’s comments come as a number of Democratic presidential contenders, including former Rep. Beto O’RourkeBeto O’RourkePolls: Biden maintains lead in multiple primary states after debate Trump’s trip to Dayton and El Paso marked by protests, attacks on critics O’Rourke calls Trump a white supremacist MORE (D-Texas), Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren gains on Biden in Iowa: Poll Polls: Biden maintains lead in multiple primary states after debate Elizabeth Warren calls Trump a white supremacist MORE (D-Mass.), and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren gains on Biden in Iowa: Poll Polls: Biden maintains lead in multiple primary states after debate The Hill’s Morning Report – Trump vows federal response to Ohio, Texas shootings MORE (I-Vt.), have called Trump a white supremacist and argued that his rhetoric on immigration has contributed to rising tensions.
The former vice president lashed out at Trump on Tuesday during an appearance in Iowa, accusing him of unleashing “the deepest, darkest forces in this nation.”
“We have a problem with this rising tide of white supremacy in America and we have a president who encourages it and emboldens it,” Biden said. “Indeed, we have a president with a toxic tongue who has publicly and unapologetically embraced the political strategy of hate, racism and division.”
Biden went on to say that Trump “has more in common with George Wallace than he does with George Washington,” characterizing the 2020 election as a “battle for the soul of this nation.”
Trump hit back at Biden Tuesday on Twitter.
“Watching Sleepy Joe Biden making a speech. Sooo Boring!” Trump tweeted. “The LameStream Media will die in the ratings and clicks with this guy. It will be over for them, not to mention the fact that our Country will do poorly with him. It will be one big crash, but at least China will be happy!”
In his Monday address to the nation, Trump said the “nation must condemn bigotry, hatred and white supremacy.”
Trump has also pushed back on the claim that his rhetoric may have contributed to violence, accusing critics of “looking for political gain” after the El Paso shooting.