‘It was a wake-up call’: Biden honours third anniversary of Charlottesville rally while slamming Trump’s ‘very fine people’ comment

‘No president of the United States have ever said something like that,’ Mr Biden says 

Danielle Zoellner
Wednesday 12 August 2020 23:22 BST
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Presumptive Democratic candidate Joe Biden took time during his first joint event with running mate Kamala Harris to acknowledge the third anniversary of Charlottesville.

“Today is not only the day I’m proud to introduce Senator Harris ... it’s also the third anniversary of that terrible day in Charlottesville,” he said.

Hundreds of people descended on Charlottesville, Virginia, three years ago today to protest the removal of a Robert E Lee statue. The rally was led by white supremacist and white nationalist organisations, some of whom were wearing Nazi symbolism and spewing anti-semitic and racist rhetoric.

Mr Biden said it was ”a wake-up call for all of us as a country” before attacking how President Donald Trump handled the rally.

“For me, it was a call to action ... at that moment I knew I couldn’t stand by and let Donald Trump, a man who went on to say ... ‘there are very fine people on both sides’ ... No president of the United States have ever said something like that,” he added.

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Mr Trump faced backlash for supporting the rally attendees who were protesting the removal of the Confederate general’s statue because of the anti-semitic and racist remarks made by members in the crowd. But the president stood by his statements by repeating there were “fine people” on both sides.

By the end of the August weekend in Charlottesville three years ago, several counter-protesters standing up against the white supremacist groups were injured. One woman, Heather Heyer, was murdered after one rally attendee drove his car into a large crowd of counter-protesters.

Mr Biden used the anniversary of the incident in an effort to show voters how he and Mr Trump differed, with claims the president promoted racist rhetoric and worked to divide the nation instead of unite it.

Another attack from the former vice president towards his opponent came when he was speaking about Ms Harris.

During a press conference on Tuesday, Mr Trump called Ms Harris “nasty” for her questioning of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during a Senate hearing. The president often uses the word “nasty” when describing women he disagrees with politically.

“It’s no surprise, because whining is what Donald Trump does best, better than any president in ... history,” Mr Biden said about the name-calling, adding the president had a problem with “strong women”.

Mr Biden also went on the attack for the Trump administrations response to the coronavirus pandemic. As of Wednesday, nearly 165,000 Americans have died from the novel virus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

"This president says, 'It's not my fault. The governors should thank me more.' As the old saying goes: give me a break," Mr Biden said. "Donald Trump is on track ... to leave office with the worst jobs record of any president in modern history."

The Biden/Harris rally on Wednesday was the first moment America saw the running mates together and heard the message they were prepared to deliver in the coming months to encourage voters to support them in the November election.

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