Joe Biden wanted to criminalise raves, resurfaced footage shows: 'I would put the son of a gun in jail'

Democratic 2020 frontrunner finding past views increasingly under spotlight

Tom Embury-Dennis
Thursday 20 June 2019 12:00 BST
'I would put the son of a gun in jail': Joe Biden says in 2001 hearing that he would criminalise raves

Footage has re-emerged showing Joe Biden calling for anyone who held a rave to be jailed.

The former vice-president, who is vying to become the Democratic 2020 presidential nominee, made the comments during a 2001 Senate hearing on the use of ecstasy, an illicit party drug popular in the 1990s rave scene.

"If I were governor of my state or the mayor of my town, I would be passing new ordinances relating to stiff criminal penalties for anyone who holds a rave, the promoter, the guy who owns the building, I would put the son of a gun in jail, I would change the law,” he said.

He continued: "There's no doubt about where these raves are, in the middle of the desert. Arrest the promoter, find a rationale unrelated to drugs.”

The footage is just the latest example of a history many grassroots Democrats say demonstrates Mr Biden’s unsuitability to lead a progressive party into the next election.

The 78-year-old, who remains the favourite to win his party’s nomination, angered activists earlier this week when he recounted working with 1970s segregationist Mississippi senator James Eastland.

“He never called me boy, he always called me son,” Mr Biden said, adding: “At least there was some civility. We got things done.”

It echoed Mr Biden’s repeated – and widely mocked - claims that as president he would be able to work with Republicans, who he says would be open to cooperation post Donald Trump.

A host of opponents condemned Mr Biden’s remarks about Eastland, including African-American senators Kamala Harris and Corey Booker, the latter of whom called on his veteran rival to apologise immediately.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in