Revisiting Joe Biden’s History of Division

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Archival piece originally published June 14, 2020

Pictured: Biden cozying up to Strom Thurmond (Unrepentant segregationist, served 48 years in the U.S. Senate, fathered a child with his African-American housekeeper)


Former Vice President Joe Biden is running on a promise to bring the country together, but he is personally culpable in some of its worst divisions.

He continues to claim — falsely — that President Donald Trump supported neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, when Trump actually said they should be “condemned totally.” It is only the latest case in which Biden sought to exploit racial division and other fault lines in American society to achieve political gain.

1. Biden voted to restore U.S. citizenship to Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee. Biden voted to honor Confederate leaders who are now vilified by his party, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the New York Times as racists and traitors who must be expunged from history. He joined a unanimous Senate in voting for citizenship for Lee in 1975, and again in voting for citizenship for Davis in 1977 — the latter being sided into law by Democrat President Jimmy Carter.

2. Biden sided with segregationists. Early in his Senate career, Biden formed alliances with Southern politicians who had been segregationists. He also opposed of “busing,” the policy of forcibly desegregating schools.

3. Biden conducted the Anita Hill hearings. Biden presided over the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who was nearly derailed by Anita Hill’s accusations of sexual harassment.

4. Biden described Barack Obama in racist terms. Biden has a long history of racist language. One of the more notorious examples involved then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), who ran against Biden in the 2008 presidential campaign (before inviting him to join the ticket). Biden described Obama in demeaning terms: “You got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”

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