tv Campaign 2020 Fmr. VP Joe Biden in Iowa CSPAN August 8, 2019 6:32am-7:00am EDT
but today that big idea is more relevant than ever. on television and online c-span is your unfiltered view of government. a publico you as service by your cable or satellite provider. campaign stop in iowa former vice president joe biden talked about the recent mass shootings in texas and ohio. he made the comment while the president and first lady were survivors and family members of those who died in the shootings.
[cheering] fmr. vp biden: thank you very much. folks, thank you very, very much for being here and giving me this opportunity. i will say at the outset that the speech i'm going to give you today, i planned on coming when we set this up some weeks ago to talk about agricultural policy, unions, rural policies. but too much has happened in the recent past. i have prepared for me what is a speech that i hope will set a marker for what we should be doing. you all know the words of a president matters. they can move markets. they can send our brave women and men to war. they can bring peace. they can calm a nation in
turmoil. they can console, and confront and comfort those who have faced tragedy. they can inspire us to literally reach for the moon. they can encourage us to appeal to our better angels, our better nature. but they can also unleash the deepest, darkest forces in this nation. that is what i believe donald trump has chosen to do. when he said after charlottesville, there were, and i quote, "very fine people on both sides," i said then that it gave license and safe harbor to white supremacists and neo-nazis, to the ku klux klan. these words not only stunned america, but they stunned the world. and in doing so, he has signed a moral equivalence between those
spewing hate and those with the courage to stand against it. i said at the time, we are in a battle for the soul of this nation. i said it again when i announced my candidacy. and i say it here today. we are in a battle for the soul of this nation. that's why, primarily, i'm running for president. [applause] charlottesville was no isolated incident. when trump announced he was running for president, he called mexicans
rapists. days before the midterm he fomented fears of a caravan headed to the united states and created hysteria when he said,
look, look at what's marching up, this is an invasion. he asserted that immigrants would "carve
you up with a knife." more recently, he called a major american center city a disgusting, rat infested, rodent mess. no human being, he said, would choose to live, as though the vibrant and diverse community around baltimore was somehow less than human. at a rally in florida when he asked the crowd, how do we stop these people, meaning immigrants, someone yelled back, shoot them. and he smiled. in north carolina, he basks in the chants of send her back going across the stadium.
how far from trump saying that this is an invasion to the shooter in el paso declaring "this attack is in response to hispanic invasion of texas." how far apart are those comments? how far is it from white supremacists and neo-nazis in charlottesville, trump's very fine people chanting to the shooter in pittsburgh who said that the jews are committing genocide on his people. i don't think it's that far at all. it's both. clear language and in code. this president has fanned the flames of white supremacy in the nation. his low-energy, vacant-eyed mouthing of the words written
for him condemning white supremacy this week, i don't believe fooled anyone at home or abroad. the energetic embrace of this president by the darkest hearts to the most hate filled minds in this country say it all. when the white nationalists richard spencer celebrated trump 's election by declaring hail trump at an alt-right conference where the nazi salute was being used. in charlottesville, david duke, the former leader of the kkk said this is why we voted for donald trump. because he said he's going to take back the country. after trump tweeted his go back screed, a leading neo-nazi website said, "this is the kind of nationalism we elected him for."
he knows it, he saw it. on 8chan, a haven for radicalism on the internet, where the declaration of hate from the el paso shooter was posted, one commentator wrote that trump is "helping to normalize the most extreme radical sentiments because his perceived authority carried so much weight." we have a problem with this rising tide of white supremacy in america. and we have a president who encourages and emboldens it. the statistics are clear. extremism is on the rise in america.
the southern poverty center finds that of the 120 hate groups operating in the united states in 2018 -- that is how many there are -- they pointed out that white nationalist groups have surged by over 50%. in 2017, and active shooter with ties to white extremism claimed 135 victims and 70 killed. according to the anti-defamation league, all but one of the 50 extremist linked murders counted in 2018 had direct links to white supremacists. his own fbi director recently testified to congress that extreme right-wing groups, white nationalists, posed the greatest threat to racially-motivated domestic terrorism. and what has trump done? he has poured fuel on the fire. he has re-tweeted postings from extremists and white nationalists.
he's cutting funding, in some places completely eliminated funding, initiated by barack and i to counter violent extremism at home. trump readily, eagerly attacks islamic terrorism but can barely bring himself to use the word white supremacy. and even when he says it, he doesn't appear to believe it. he seems more concerned about losing their votes than beating back this hateful ideology. he says that guns are not the problem in mass shootings. the issue is mental health. it's a dodge. hatred isn't a mental health issue. i can tell you, as the guy along with senator dianne feinstein
who got the assault weapons ban and the high-capacity magazines banned in this country for 10 years, if elected president, we will do it again. we will do it again. [applause] mr. biden: 100 rounds in dayton. 30-round clips in el paso. they will be banned. and when we do it, we will put in place a buyback program to get as many as we need to get these military-style weapons of war off the street. and we need -- we need a domestic terrorism law. we can do it without infringing on anyone's free speech. without tampering with anybody's liberties. quite simply, we have to make the same commitment as a nation to root out domestic terrorism as we have in stopping international terrorists.
i wish i could say that this all began with donald trump and will end with him. but it didn't and i won't. american history is not a fairytale. the battle for the soul of the nation has been a constant push and pull for 243 years between the american ideal that says we are all created equal and the harsh reality that racism has long torn us apart. the same document that promised to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity also allowed for slavery and the so-called 3/5
compromise that discounted the very humanity of black people in america at the time. the honest truth is, both elements are part of the american character. at our best, the american ideal wins out. but it's never a rout, it's always a fight, and it's a battle that is never fully finished. go back to the beginning. thomas jefferson wrote what many believe to be the most important document, civil document in human history. and he was a slave holder. we have never lived up to our american ideals. jefferson himself didn't. but what he wrote has pulled us towards justice for more than two centuries, and it still does. it remains this nation's north star. take a look at the klan, the ku
klux klan. after the civil war, we saw a rise in the klan. it was beaten down only to rise again in the 1920's. in fact, in august of 1925, 30,000 fully clad klansmen in their robes and pointed hats marched down pennsylvania avenue in the streets of washington. imagine. imagine that today. and then the klan was once again beaten back, as it was after the civil war. how? the courts, the press, and yes, presidents, stood against them. and that is the point. our institutions often imperfectly stood against hate at moments when we were most tested. american presidents have stepped up in the past.
george h.w. bush renouncing his membership in the nra. president clinton after oklahoma city. george w. bush going to a mosque after 9/11. president obama after charleston. presidents who led, who opposed, chose to fight for what the best of american character is about. there's deafening silence now. sadly, we don't have that today. our president has aligned himself with the darkest forces in this nation. and it makes winning this battle for the soul of our nation that much tougher. harder. trump doesn't understand what franklin d. roosevelt did. roosevelt said that the presidency is, quote, "preeminently a place of moral
leadership." he doesn't see what jfk did when he said "only the president represents the national interests." he is blind to what lyndon baines johnson said of the office when he said "nothing makes a man come to grips more directly with his conscience than the presidency." trump offers no moral leadership. he seems to have no interest in unifying this nation. no evidence that the presidency has awakened his conscience in the least. indeed, we have a president with a toxic tongue who has publicly and unapologetically embraced a political strategy of hate, racism, and division. so, it is up to us, as it was in the 1920's. it is up to us. we are living through a rare moment in this nation's history
where our president isn't 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. you know -- [applause] mr. biden: we are almost 330 million americans. we will have to do what our president can't. stand together. stand against hate. stand up for what is best. our nation's best when we're the best. in this nation, we believe when we are at our best. we believe in honesty. decency. treating everyone with respect. giving everyone a fair shot. leaving nobody behind. giving hate no safe harbor.
demonizing no one, not the poor, the powerless, the immigrant, or the other. lead by the power of our example, not by the example of our power. that has allowed us to stand as a beacon to the world. being part of something bigger than ourselves. it's a code. it's uniquely american code. it's who we are. but donald trump doesn't get it. what this president doesn't understand is that, like every other nation on earth, we are unable to define what constitutes american by religion, by ethnicity, or by tribe. you can't do it. america is an idea. an idea stronger than any army. bigger than any ocean. more powerful than any dictator or tyrant.
it gives hope to the most desperate people on earth. it is not only are our values that are under assault, our democracy is as well. a free press, an independent judiciary, a legislature that is a coequal branch of government. these are the guardrails. [applause] mr. biden: these are the guardrails of our democracy. they are written into our constitution. and if you have noticed, for the last two plus years, they have been under attack. phrases like "fake news." "enemy of the people." they are no joke. they are insidious. they are corrosive.
just look around the world. the worst despots are using now trump's language to justify their own abuses of power. trump is trying to weaken our institutions, the press, the courts, the congress, precisely because they are the only checks on his power. that's what this is all about. the abuse of power. if there's one thing i can't stand, and i know you can't, is the abuse of power, whether it is a boss taking advantage of his or her workers, or a man who raises his hand to a woman or a child. or a president who is running roughshod over everything this country believes and stands for. [applause] mr. biden: no matter how old or young you are, you have never seen anything like this in your lifetime.
we are being reminded every day that there is nothing guaranteed about democracy. not even here in america. we have to constantly earn it. we have to protect it. we have to fight for it. i believe america is, as lincoln named us, "the last best hope on earth." but we have to remember why. it's not because we have the biggest economy. the strongest military in the history of the world. it is not because we have the most innovative entrepreneurs and the greatest research universities. that's all true, but it's not why we are america. the reason is, what we believe, the most powerful idea in the history of the world i think beats in the hearts of the people of this country, it beats in all of us, no matter your race, ethnicity, no matter your
gender identity, your sexual orientation, no matter your faith. it beats in the hearts of the rich and poor alike, it unites america, whether your ancestors were native to these shores or they were brought here forcibly and enslaved, or they are immigrants from generations back, like my family from ireland, or those coming today, looking to build a better life for their families. the american creed that we are all created equal was written long ago, but the genius of every generation of americans has opened it wider and wider and wider, to include those who have been excluded in the previous generation. that is why it has never gathered any dust in our history books. it is still alive today, more than 200 years after its inception. but i, honest to god, don't believe donald trump sees it that way.
on january 20, 2017, in his inaugural address, donald trump painted a dark, bleak picture of our country in crisis, when he declared, and i quote, "this american carnage stops right here. it stops right now." but as a sitting president, trump's anger, hate, and divisiveness, pitting americans against one another, preying on our divisions and doing nothing, nothing about the endemic and epidemic of guns that is fueling a literal carnage in america. we now have more mass shootings in 2019, since january, than we have days that have passed since january 1, 2019. as of monday, according to data from the gun violence archives, there have been 255 mass shootings in the first 217 days of this year.
we can't let this go on. we can't, and i will not, let this man be reelected president of the united states of america. [cheers & applause] mr. biden: we can't. [applause] mr. biden: folks -- [applause] mr. biden: folks, his incompetence, his immorality, his carnage stops with us, right here, right now, starting in the midwest. limit to four years, and i
believe history will look back on this president as an aberrant moment in american history. but if donald trump is reelected, i believe he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation. if we give donald trump four more years, this will not be the country envisioned by washington and adams and jefferson. if we give donald trump four more years, this will not be the nation bound together by lincoln. if we give donald trump four more years, this will not be the nation lifted up by roosevelt or inspired by kennedy. it will not be the nation that barack obama proved bends toward justice. [applause] mr. biden: the danger of donald
trump and the alt right pose to this nation is not hypothetical or exaggerated. it is real. the core values of this nation, our standing in the world, our very democracy, everything that makes america america, is at stake. folks, everyone knows who donald trump is, even the people who support him. we have to show who we are. we choose hope over fear. we choose science over fiction. we choose unity over division. and yes, we choose truth over lies. [applause] mr. biden: if we stand together, if we stand together, we will
win the battle for the soul of this nation. we are the united states of america. there is not a single thing beyond our capacity, if we stand together and get up and remember who we are. this is the united states of america. period. thank you, and may god protect our troops. [applause] [crowd cheering] >> campaign 2020. watch our live coverage of the presidential candidates on the campaign trail and make up your own mind. campaign 2020. your unfiltered view of politics. livere's a look at what's thursday. on c-span at 11:30 am, britain's secretary of state for international trade talks about
the future of u.s. u.k. relations. then we will have live coverage of the iowa state fair, where presidential candidate steve bullock and joe biden are speaking. also later in the day, the cato institute and heritage foundation cohost a debate among interns about libertarianism versus conservatism. that's at 6:30 p.m. eastern. on more live coverage c-span2 in the morning as the center for strategic and international studies looks at trade relations between the u.s. and china. that's followed by a discussion on the future of ukraine with two former u.s. diplomats. and foreign policy experts discuss rising tensions between the u.s. and iran. that's at 2:00 p.m. eastern. coming up on today's washington journal, american university professor cynthia miller-idriss