Joe Biden showed up at a black church on Monday to pander for votes, in what Bloomberg descriebd as a "subdued and sometimes meandering speech" as violent protests over the death of George Floyd grip the nation.
Speaking to an audience at the Bethel AME Church in Wilmington, Delaware, the former Vice President said he would establish a police oversight board in his first 100 days as president, while promising that his coronavirus relief efforts would "deal with institutional racism."
Biden, who told black voters last month that if they don't vote for him "you ain't black," said "I've never taken for granted" the black vote, adding "I’ve never ever done that. It has to be earned, earned every single time."
He also stumbled at times during his "sometimes meandering" speech, offering the following suggestion on police training:
"Instead of standing there and teaching a cop when there's an unarmed person comin' at 'em with a knife or something to shoot 'em in the leg instead of the heart is a very different thing."
Biden today on police training: "Instead of standing there and teaching a cop when there's an unarmed person comin' at 'em with a knife or something to shoot 'em in the leg instead of the heart is a very different thing." pic.twitter.com/2xgqvlQtJ2— The Recount (@therecount) June 1, 2020
When it came to criticizing Trump's response to COVID-19, he said "45-60,000 people would be alive instead of dead" because "he didn't listen to guys like me back in January."
That said, Biden notably called Trump 'xenophobic' one day after his January 31 travel ban which blocked foreign nationals who had been in China over the preceding two weeks from entering the US.
After President Trump implemented his travel ban from China on January 31, Joe Biden said in Iowa "this is no time for Donald Trump's record of hysterical xenophobia and fear-mongering." pic.twitter.com/gru4jsiCVf— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) June 1, 2020
Meanwhile, Delaware State Senator Darius Brown said that the protests were about deeper, longstanding issues of injustice.
"What African Americans are expressing over the past few days are the need for economic opportunity," he said, adding "The African American community wants you to bring home the bacon for us."
Brown noted that blacks did not share equally in the country’s recovery from the 2008-2009 economic crisis overseen by Biden as President Barack Obama’s vice president.
“The African American community did not experience the same economic opportunity as they did during the 90s,” he said.
Biden met with the leaders as cities around the country have endured days of protests, vandalism and looting.
“The Band-Aid has been ripped off by this pandemic and this president,” he said. “It’s been minorities. It’s been blacks. It’s been Hispanics” who have kept working, and getting ill during lockdowns.
“They are the ones out there making sure the grocery stores are open,” he said. -Bloomberg
Later in the speech, Reverend Shanika Perry suggested that Biden should address his previous support for the 1994 Crime Bill signed by former President Bill Clinton which has been credited with sending a flood of black men to prison.
"They have issues with the participation in that," said Perry. "They want to know how you plan to undo the impacts of the mass incarceration."
"We have qualified black women who are capable of helping you lead this country," she added.