It’s rare for presidents to openly comment on the politics and policies of their successors preferring, instead, to stay out of the political fray. Vice-Presidents, however, aren’t as bound by that custom which is probably why Vice-President Joe Biden wrote an article in The Atlantic that was harshly critical of Trump and his policies. In his article, Biden never mentions Trump by name, but does comment on the state of the nation under his administration.
Rather than comment on Trump’s specific policies, Biden argued that his weak response to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA, was a sign of the ” battle for the soul of this nation.”
‘If it wasn’t clear before, it’s clear now: We are living through a battle for the soul of this nation.
The giant forward steps we have taken in recent years on civil liberties and civil rights and human rights are being met by a ferocious pushback from the oldest and darkest forces in America. Are we really surprised they rose up? Are we really surprised they lashed back? Did we really think they would be extinguished with a whimper rather than a fight?
Did we think the charlatans and the con-men and the false prophets who have long dotted our history wouldn’t revisit us, once again prop up the immigrant as the source of all our troubles, and look to prey on the hopelessness and despair that has grown up in the hollowed-out cities and towns of Ohio and Michigan and Pennsylvania and the long-forgotten rural stretches of West Virginia and Kentucky?’
While the article doesn’t mention Trump’s name, it does say that his unwillingness to strongly condemn white supremacists presents the country with a “special challenge.”
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‘We have fought this battle before—but today we have a special challenge.
Today we have an American president who has publicly proclaimed a moral equivalency between neo-Nazis and Klansmen and those who would oppose their venom and hate.
We have an American president who has emboldened white supremacists with messages of comfort and support.’
Biden went on to call upon America to stand up for minorities and declare that there is no place in this country for Nazis and other hate groups. When writing about Trump, Biden’s words read with a sense of resignation that no help can be expected from the Oval Office, but, despite this, Biden isn’t hopeless. In fact, he goes on to praise Americans for standing up for decency while the president did not.
‘This is a moment for this nation to declare what the president can’t with any clarity, consistency, or conviction: There is no place for these hate groups in America. Hatred of blacks, Jews, immigrants—all who are seen as “the other”—won’t be accepted or tolerated or given safe harbor anywhere in this nation.
That’s the America I know. That’s who I believe we are. And in the hours and days after Charlottesville, America’s moral conscience began to stir. The nation’s military leadership immediately took a firm stand. Some of America’s most prominent CEOs spoke out. Political, community, and faith leaders raised their voices. Charitable organizations have begun to take a stand. And we should never forget the courage of that small group of University of Virginia students who stared down the mob and its torches on that Friday night.’
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Despite his frustration with Trump, Biden’s message is ultimately a hopeful one because he knows that, in the end, we don’t need Trump’s help. “Joined together, we are more than 300 million strong. Joined together, we will win this battle for our soul,” Biden wrote near the end of his article.