Opinion

How Biden Just Blew Up the Claim That He's an Honest, Decent Guy

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Posted: Aug 21, 2020 9:12 AM
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How Biden Just Blew Up the Claim That He's an Honest, Decent Guy

Source: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

A constant theme of the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night was that Joe Biden is a decent and honest person. Someone who wants to heal the divisions in the country and bring people together. 

Well, in his acceptance speech at the convention, Biden completely blew up that narrative.

Biden couldn’t help telling whopping lies in accusing President Trump of racism. In recalling the horrors of racists rioting in Charlottesville in 2017, Biden claimed that Trump said that there were “very fine people on both sides,” among both the protesters — which included white supremacists and white nationalists — and the counter-protesters.

We must condemn racists. But what do you make of someone who repeatedly lies that someone else is racist?

Ever since the 2016 campaign, Democrats and the media have asserted that President Trump has failed to distance himself from white nationalists and neo-Nazis. The fact that White House staffers must answer these questions shows how far out of kilter the discussion has gone.

These media depictions are so extreme that they are easily proven false. If Trump “stayed silent” and really “refused to distance himself,” there shouldn’t be any statements. Yet, there are dozens of them.

Instead of taking a few words completely out of context, here is Trump’s statement where he referred to “very fine people.”

TRUMP: Excuse me, they didn’t put themselves down as neo-Nazis, and you had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. . . . I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally – but you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists, okay? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly. Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people, but you also had troublemakers and you see them come with the black outfits and with the helmets and with the baseball bats – you had a lot of bad people in the other group too.  

REPORTER: I just didn’t understand what you were saying. You were saying the press has treated white nationalists unfairly?  

TRUMP: No, no. There were people in that rally, and I looked the night before. If you look, they were people protesting very quietly, the taking down the statue of Robert E. Lee. . . .

So what exactly is unclear? It’s hard to see how any rational person could think that Trump wasn’t condemning neo-Nazis. Was “very bad people” not strong enough? Should he have said, “very, very bad people”?

Or how about another Trump statement in the aftermath of the riots? “Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

No matter how many times Trump specifically singles out white supremacists, his other blanket condemnations of bigotry convince the media that he supports racists. This tweet from August didn’t pass the media smell test: “The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division. We must come together as a nation. I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence. Peace to ALL Americans!”

Biden’s claims in his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention feeds into a narrative that the national news media has pushed. 

Over the years, no matter how often Trump disavows David Duke and other racists like him, the media refuses to concede the point. Just take some of his statements before Charlottesville.

“David Duke is a bad person, who I disavowed on numerous occasions over the years,” Trump said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” in March 2016. “I disavowed him. I disavowed the KKK. Do you want me to do it again for the 12th time? I disavowed him in the past, I disavow him now.”

After the election, The New York Times asked Trump about the “alt-right.” The president-elect replied, “I condemn them. I disavow, and I condemn.”

On CBS’s "60 Minutes," after he was elected president, Lesley Stahl asked Trump about reports his supporters used racial slurs and making personal threats against blacks, Latinos, and gays. Trump replied, “I am very surprised to hear that.” When Stahl asked if he had a message for these offenders, Trump was firm: “I am so saddened to hear that. And I say, ‘Stop it.’ If it — if it helps. I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: Stop it.”

How can Biden claim to be an honest and decent person who wants to bring people together while telling such vicious lies about another person? But Biden making these vicious attacks against Trump isn’t an aberration. Anyone who remembers the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Robert Bork or Clarence Thomas knows how far Biden is willing to go to destroy others.

* Lott is the president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and the author most recently of “Gun Control Myths: How politicians, the media, and botched "studies" have twisted the facts on gun control.”