Biden says 'we've got Jim Crow sneaking back in' thanks to Trump and Republicans

Getty Images/Sean RayfordDemocratic presidential candidate Joe Biden addresses a crowd at the Hyatt Park community center on May 4, 2019 in Columbia, South Carolina.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden said Saturday that “we’ve got Jim Crow sneaking back in” thanks to Republicans and President Donald Trump.
  • Biden accused Republicans of seeking to curtail Americans’ voting rights, using laws that target communities of colour, in an effort to win elections and stay in power.
  • He also vehemently denounced Trump’s handling of race relations, seizing on Trump’s 2017 remarks saying there were “very fine people on both sides” of the clashes in Charlottesville between white supremacists and counter-protesters.
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Former Vice President Joe Biden said at a campaign rally on Saturday that “we’ve got Jim Crow sneaking back in” thanks to Republicans and President Donald Trump.

Speaking to a crowd of supporters in Columbia, South Carolina, Biden gave a wide-ranging speech lamenting that issues such as income inequality, affordable health care, and race relations have gotten worse under the Trump administration.

Biden, who recently announced his 2020 bid for the White House, seized on voting rights, in particular, and accused Republicans of seeking to make voting more difficult for people of colour.

“Speaking of dignity, we have to protect – which is not happening now – the single most important right you have as an American. The right to vote,” Biden told the crowd. “We’ve got Jim Crow sneaking back in. No, I mean it.”

Biden cited a figure that at least 24 states have introduced or enacted at least 70 bills to restrict voting access, and said most of those efforts targeted people of colour.

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“If everyone has an equal right to vote, guess what? They lose,” Biden said. “So folks, it’s just absolutely wrong, and the Justice Department if I’m your president will be you might say aggressive in making sure it doesn’t happen.”

Biden spent much of his speech vehemently denouncing Trump by name, criticising his infamous remarks after a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, turned violent in 2017.

Read more: Joe Biden’s 2020 announcement seized on images of Charlottesville violence to declare a battle for the soul of the nation

In response to the clash, Trump had said there were “very fine people on both sides.”

“Think about that,” Biden told the crowed. “I don’t ever recall a president of the United States, Democrat or Republican, ever saying anything like that. Ever.”

He continued: “We have to restore the soul of America. That’s not who we are.”

Biden also argued that the winner of the upcoming 2020 election will need to restore decency to the White House.

“Your state motto is, ‘While I breathe, I hope,'” he said at the rally after continuing to lambaste Trump. “It’s not a joke. We’re breathing, but God, we have got to have hope.”

The Associated Press contributed reporting.

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