Joe Biden gave rousing remarks during a Saturday speech, talking about the importance of the upcoming midterm elections and speaking out against Trump’s use of power.
Former Vice President Joe Biden wasn’t holding anything back Saturday during a speech at the 22nd Annual Human Rights Campaign National Dinner held in Washington D.C.
Biden covered an array of subjects, including the decision by him and former president Barack Obama to keep silent about Trump for the first year.
“Barack and I agreed to remain silent for a while to give this administration a chance to get up and running the first year. God forgive me,” Biden told the crowd adding that the turning point for him was the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville which left over thirty people injured and 32-year-old Heather Heyer dead.
“I could not remain silent after Charlottesville… This is about basic decency,” he explained.
“We are in a fight for America’s soul!” Biden continued. “And we have leaders who at the time when that occurred, when these guys were accompanied by white supremacists and [the] Ku Klux Klan and those that objected making a comparison saying there are good people in both groups. What has become of us? Our children are listening.”
Noting that “forces of intolerance remain determined to undermine and roll back the progress you have made,” Biden took direct aim at Trump’s use of power, accusing him of using the presidency as a bully pulpit.
“Instead of using the full might of the executive branch to secure justice, dignity, and safety for all, the President uses the White House as a literal, literal bully pulpit, callously exerting his power over those who have little or none,” Biden told the audience.
Biden also spoke out about equal rights for members of the LGBT community, tweeted by the Human Rights campaign:
- “Since the last time I’ve spoken to you from this stage, we’ve made progress, notwithstanding the onslaught by this administration and the regressive elements of American society.”
- “We’ve come this far because you spoke up, because you demanded justice you’ve been denied for too long.”
- “Your tenacity and your integrity literally bent the moral arc of this nation toward justice. Thanks to you, our children and grandchildren will grow up in a world that’s far more just, open-minded and humane. But our work is not yet done.”
- “Today, we still don’t have a federal law that explicitly protects LGBTQ people from being fired or evicted or denied service in a restaurant. In 28 states, you can still be fired for being gay. In 30 states you can be fired if you’re transgender.”
- “Those who try to excuse this kind of discrimination in the name of ‘culture,’ I say, prejudice is prejudice; inhumanity is inhumanity.”
- “But despite losing in the courts – and in the court of public opinion – these forces of intolerance remain determined to undermine and roll back the progress you all have made. This time, they – not you – have an ally in the White House.”
- “Instead of using the full might of the executive branch to secure justice, dignity, and safety for all, the president uses the White House as a literal bully pulpit, callously exerting his power over those who have little or none.”
- “Despite all the progress we’ve made, there are still so many young people in America who feel so abandoned, so alone, so afraid, they struggle to picture a future in which they are safe, affirmed, loved.”
- “Too many of our young people are rejected, not just by their communities, but by their families. Kicked out of their homes. Subjected to the vile practice of ‘conversion therapy.’…We can’t rest until all of our young people are affirmed & accepted”
- “I realize people these days are pessimistic because of the personal and political onslaught against the community from so many quarters. But I am optimistic. Because I know the story of the journey of the American people.”
- “This onslaught that we’re seeing does require us to be not only vigilant, but more aggressive and demand more of our leaders that represent basic American values of respect, decency, equality.”
- “I have confidence, because as we stand up in the face of this onslaught, the vast majority of American people are with us. It’s the story of supporting many brave Americans who came out and spoke up.”
- “All of you here tonight – & those who are no longer with us – your courage gives millions of people hope…And you remind us that we all have a lot of work to do — to stand up to abuses of power, and to ensure that everyone is treated with dignity.”
.@HRC was honored to have former Vice President and equality champion @JoeBiden speak at this year’s #HRCNationalDinner. Thank you for using your platform and influence to advance and preserve the rights of ALL Americans. pic.twitter.com/v25OpipuyL
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) September 16, 2018
You can watch his full speech, below:
FOOTNOTE 1: For those unfamiliar with the Human Rights Campaign, the hosts of Saturday’s dinner, Wikipedia notes that they are “the largest LGBT civil rights advocacy group and political lobbying organization in the United States. The organization focuses on protecting and expanding rights for LGBT individuals, most notably advocating for marriage equality, anti-discrimination and hate crimes legislation, and HIV/AIDS advocacy.”