WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Biden Calls Out President in SE Iowa Speech

Aug 8, 2019

It was apparent Wednesday afternoon that former Vice President Joe Biden's planned campaign stop in southeast Iowa was going to be more than just a typical meet & greet or a question/answer session. The Teleprompters, large podium, and bright camera lights pointed toward a major speech, which Biden delivered, taking direct aim at the words and actions of President Donald Trump.

Biden told the crowd of nearly 300 people inside the Barn on the Hill north of Burlington that he planned to talk about agriculture, unions, and rural issues during his latest swing through Iowa. But he said he could not do so after recent events.

Instead, Biden focused on President Trump’s words and actions. Biden pointed out the President said there were “fine people on both sides” following a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. He also spoke about how the crowd at a Trump rally shouted “Send Her Back” about Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

Nearly 300 people attended the rally north of Burlington.
Credit Jason Parrott / TSPR

“This president has fanned the flames of white supremacy in this nation,” said Biden. “His low-energy, vacant-eyed mouthing of the words written for him condemning white supremacists this week I don’t believe fooled anyone at home or abroad. His energetic embrace--the energetic embrace by the darkest hearts and most hate-filled minds in this country say it all.”

Biden also spoke about the image and the responsibility of the Office of the President of the United States. He said Presidents are supposed to bring people together and offer the nation hope.

Biden referenced speeches by Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson and the actions of George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama following tragedies.

“Sadly, we don’t have that today,” said Biden. “Our President has aligned himself with the darkest forces in the nation. It makes winning this battle for the soul of our nation that much tougher.

“We are living in a rare moment in this nation’s history, where our President is not up to the moment, where our President lacks the moral authority to lead, where our President has more in common with George Wallace than he does with George Washington.”

Biden also used his speech to affirm his support for a new federal assault weapons ban, to call for the creation of a buy-back program for “military-style” weapons, and to push for a domestic terrorism law.