Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said that up to 15% of Americans are “not very good people.”
Former Vice President Biden made the statement during an online forum with black supporters on Thursday. Biden was joined by actor Don Cheadle, who moderated a discussion on the death of George Floyd, police brutality, and racism, according to The New York Times.
“The words a president says matter, so when a president stands up and divides people all the time, you’re going to get the worst of us to come out,” Biden said.
“Do we really think this is as good as we can be as a nation? I don’t think the vast majority of people think that,” Biden continued. “There are probably anywhere from 10 to 15% of the people out there that are just not very good people, but that’s not who we are. The vast majority of the people are decent, and we have to appeal to that and we have to unite people — bring them together. Bring them together.”
Later on in the discussion, Biden said he could empathize with black Americans who have faced racism because he grew up being bullied.
“I’m a white man,” he said. “I think I understand but I can’t feel it. I feel it but I don’t know what it’s like to be a black man walking down the street and be accosted, or to be arrested or, God forbid, something worse.”
Biden’s “10 to 15%” comment is reminiscent of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Sept. 9, 2016 gaffe when she labeled millions of Americans “deplorables.”
As The Daily Wire reported at the time:
At a glitzy fundraiser in New York on Friday night, Hillary Clinton effectively insulted millions of Americans in a statement that was far more pernicious, in both tone and substance, than Mitt Romney’s obsessively-scrutinized “47 percent” comment.
Speaking to an audience of high-profile liberal celebrity donors, including Barbara Streisand and Laverne Cox, Clinton condemned exactly “half” of all Trump supporters, claiming that they come from a “basket of deplorables.”
“To just be grossly generalistic, you can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables,” Clinton snickered. “Right? Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it.” The other half, she qualified, are fed up with the government.
Clinton apologized for the remark a day later, saying she was wrong to criticize “half” of then-candidate Donald Trump’s supporters.
“I regret saying ‘half’ – that was wrong,” Clinton said, before turning her criticisms on Trump directly. “It’s deplorable that Trump has built his campaign largely on prejudice and paranoia and given a national platform to hateful views and voices.”
Despite her apology, Clinton’s “deplorables” comment dogged her for the rest of her ultimately losing campaign. Many supporters of President Trump have adopted her phrase and still show up to rallies with the president toting signs saying “Proud Deplorable” or some other play on the term.
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