(Headline USA) Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden promised Tuesday in front of an empty stadium that his economic agenda would combat racial inequalities.
Biden said the Republican president is exacerbating social discord across the country, including by sending federal authorities into major cities to addressing crime.
And he said Trump has little interest in addressing the racism that Biden said has been laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“He can’t turn the economy around. He’s determined to stoke division and chaos,” Biden said, speaking in a community center gymnasium in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware. “It’s not good for the country, but Donald Trump doesn’t care. His campaign is failing and he’s looking for a lifeline.”
Biden countered with a litany of proposals to steer federal money and tax credits to small business and economic development programs for minority-owned firms and disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Biden also said he’d encourage home ownership to help close wealth gaps among minority communities and push the nation’s banking system, including the Federal Reserve, to more directly address economic inequality.
Many of his proposals — and the billions in federal spending needed to pay for it — had already been promised as part of previous, larger Biden plans to jump-start the economy when the coronavirus outbreak begins to recede.
A recent Politico story alleged that Biden’s longtime friend and vetting committee leader Chris Dodd, a former Democratic senator like Biden, had raised concerns about Harris going after Biden last summer on the debate stage and showing “no remorse” in conversations with Biden’s campaign.
On Biden’s notepad, he’d written below Harris’ name: “Do not hold grudges” and “Great respect for her.”
Biden did not field a question specifically about Harris. But he has praised her extensively, and he’s confirmed in recent weeks that his short list for vice president includes several black women.
Biden said most people in the streets are “peaceful protesters” who don’t require a response from the federal government. “Arsonists and anarchists should be prosecuted,” Biden said, and “local law enforcement can do that.”
Still, Biden said, “This election is not just about voting against Donald Trump. It’s about rising to this moment of crisis, understanding people’s struggle and building a future worthy of their courage and ambition to overcome.”
And he said that means thinking about every policy debate in terms of structural inequalities.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press.