WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Joe Biden vowed to address “institutional racism” in his first 100 days in office, if elected, as he met with community leaders at a predominantly African American church in Delaware on Monday morning amid the coronavirus pandemic to address exploding racial tensions that have begun to reshape the upcoming presidential election.
Biden, the former vice president and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has struggled in recent weeks to be heard from his makeshift home TV studio over the noise of dueling national crises. But after another night of violent protests, Biden gathered with roughly a dozen local black leaders during an intimate hometown meeting ahead of a virtual meeting with mayors from Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago and St. Paul, Minnesota.
“Hate just hides. It doesn’t go away, and when you have somebody in power who breathes oxygen into the hate under the rocks, it comes out from under the rocks,” Biden said, his face mask lowered around his chin, after several participants shared their thoughts on police brutality.
If elected, he promised to “deal with institutional racism” and set up a police oversight body in his first 100 days in office.
Biden’s low-key, high-touch approach marked a sharp contrast to that of President Donald Trump, who has made little effort to unify the country. The Republican president slammed governors as “weak” during a video teleconference Monday and demanded tougher crackdowns on protesters. Trump also lashed out at Biden on Twitter, writing that “Sleepy Joe Biden’s people are so Radical Left that they are working to get the Anarchists out of jail, and probably more.”
Biden’s softer approach may foreshadow how he presents himself in the five months before the presidential election, emphasizing calm and competence as a contrast to a mercurial president. It is an approach that carries the risk of being drowned out by Trump’s much louder voice.
“He’s not in office, and he certainly does not have the megaphone like the person currently occupying the White House does, but I do think our people are looking for someone who can make them feel better during these extremely tough times,” said Rep. Val Demings of Florida, whom Biden is considering as a running mate. “America just needs to be reassured that there’s someone who’s understanding, someone who’s willing to say, ‘Yes, we do have some issues,’ and someone who’s willing to address it.”
Reassurance requires presence, and that has been a hurdle for the former vice president, driven inside by the coronavirus pandemic, still working to adapt to the power of social media as a substitute and without the natural platform of a public office.
Biden delivered a well-received address on Friday calling on white people to shoulder the responsibility of ending America’s systemic racism. But he was largely out of sight over the weekend, which marked the fifth anniversary of the death of his son Beau Biden from brain cancer.
Monday marked just his third public appearance since the pandemic exploded in mid-March.
Biden and his wife, Jill, marked Memorial Day by laying a wreath at a veterans’ memorial near his Wilmington home last week, and the former vice president’s campaign posted pictures of him visiting a protest site in the city on Sunday afternoon. Earlier, he wrote a post on Medium expressing empathy for those despairing about the police killing of George Floyd.
In the early moments of Monday’s gathering at the Bethel AME church in Wilmington, Biden listened quietly and took notes in a spiral notebook. All the attendees, including Biden, wore face masks but lowered them as they spoke.
“The vice president came to hear from us. This is a homeboy,” pastor Sylvester Beaman said before everyone bowed their heads in prayer.
Biden’s standing with the black community weighs heavily as he works to deny Trump a second term. African Americans rescued Biden’s flailing primary campaign earlier in the spring, but it’s unclear if they will turn out for him in large numbers in November.
“I want to make something clear. I don’t expect anything from the black community,” he said Monday, insisting he has never taken their support for granted. The former vice president has been doing cleanup since telling a prominent black radio host a week and a half ago that African Americans who back President Donald Trump “ain’t black.”
The morning gathering featured 15 religious, political and educational leaders, including Democratic Rep. Blunt Rochester. Pasted notices on the main entrance cautioned people from entering if they had a cough or other symptoms that could indicate they were suffering from coronavirus.
For his part, Trump has refused to wear a mask and has largely ignored social distancing guidelines issued by his administration’s medical professionals.
Much of Biden’s campaign strategy centers on trying to draw a contrast with Trump on temperament and values. He has called the White House contest a battle for the soul of the nation and has been particularly forceful in condemning Trump’s handling of moments of racial tension.
Democrats note that Biden spoke about Floyd’s death before Trump addressed it and has shown compassion for the protesters. Trump has alternated between expressing alarm over Floyd’s death and sympathy for his family and issuing tweets antagonizing protesters and disparaging his political enemies.
In an election that is likely to be a referendum on the sitting president, some Biden aides say privately that the best plan may be to let Trump do himself in.
Yet there is also a recognition that Biden needs to do more than simply wait for voters who may be turned off by Trump to turn toward him. Some Democrats who have criticized Biden for not being more visible during the onset of the coronavirus said he is making the right moves now.
“I’m sure they have some reluctance, understandably, right now to politicize it. That’s not who he is,” said Democratic strategist James Carville. “There might be a time for eloquence, but I think that simplicity is eloquence right now.”
Associated Press writer Steve Peoples in Montclair, N.J., contributed to this report.
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Hunter Biden Burisma payments detailed in Treasury Department reports
Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden flatly denied at Tuesday night’s debate that his lawyer son took huge sums of money from corrupt oligarchs and Chinese communists during his vice presidency, but Treasury Department reports show that Hunter Biden did receive the money. President Trump chose to make an issue of Hunter Biden’s cash haul…
Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden flatly denied at Tuesday night’s debate that his lawyer son took huge sums of money from corrupt oligarchs and Chinese communists during his vice presidency, but Treasury Department reports show that Hunter Biden did receive the money.
President Trump chose to make an issue of Hunter Biden’s cash haul from Russia, Ukraine and China with the implication that unsavory figures were trying to buy Vice President Biden and the Obama administration.
“When somebody gets 3½ million dollars from the mayor of Moscow,” Mr. Trump said.
“That’s is not true. That report is totally false,” Mr. Biden said.
A Senate Republican report by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee says Mr. Trump is right, though it was not Moscow’s mayor, but his wife, whom the U.S. suspects of corruption in attaining billionaire status.
Hunter Biden received a single wire transfer of $3.5 million from Elena Baturina. The Senate report said she became a billionaire through illegal construction contracts awarded by her husband, since deceased.
This is based on Treasury Department reports received by committee Chairman Ron Johnson, Wisconsin Republican, and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican.
The Senate narrative is not specific, but the types of transaction records match the description of confidential suspicious activity reports that the Treasury issues when it suspects illegal activity.
The Senate report says, “On Feb. 14, 2014, Baturina wired $3.5 million to a Rosemont Seneca Thornton LLC (Rosemont Seneca Thornton) bank account for a ‘Consultancy Agreement.’ Rosemont Seneca Thornton is an investment firm co-founded by Hunter Biden that was incorporated on May 28, 2013 in Wilmington, Del.”
Russia invaded Crimea in Ukraine the month Ms. Baturina sent the money.
“Why did he get it?” Mr. Trump asked.
“That report was written for political reasons,” Mr. Biden said.
Mr. Trump asserted, “Once you became vice president, he made a fortune in Ukraine, in China, in Moscow and various other places.”
Mr. Biden responded, “That is not true.”
According to the senators’ Treasury records, it is true.
In April 2014, President Obama made Mr. Biden the point man in Ukraine, after the Russian invasion, to persuade leaders to rid the country of rampant corruption.
The next month, Hunter Biden showed up on the board of directors of the energy company Burisma Holdings, which the State Department considers corrupt, as it does its oligarch owner, Mykola Zlochevsky. Hunter Biden’s business partner, Devon Archer, already had secured a spot.
Over the years, Burisma paid the two more than $4 million. Treasury records show that 48 wire transfers from May 2014 to February 2016 totaled $3.4 million. The money went to Rosemont Seneca Bohai, a shell company run by Mr. Archer in partnership with a Chinese investment fund.
In 2014 and 2015, Burisma sent $700,000 directly to Hunter Biden. After Mr. Archer was arrested on fraud charges, Burisma sent Hunter Biden another $752,000.
On China, Vice President Biden promoted closer ties to the communist regime on many fronts. He traveled to China in 2013 on Air Force Two and took along Hunter, who met with Chinese businessmen.
“China ate your lunch, Joe,” Mr. Trump said Tuesday night. “And no wonder your son goes in and he takes out billions of dollars. He takes out billions of dollars to manage. He makes millions of dollars.”
Mr. Biden said, “None of that is true.”
The Bidens have adamantly denied reports that Hunter Biden’s investment firm received a $1 billion infusion.
But the Senate report documents extensive ties between Hunter Biden and various Chinese entities that produced millions of dollars in wire transfers.
In one example, China’s CEFC Infrastructure Investment wired $5 million to HudsonWest LLC, a New York company jointly owned by Hunter Biden and Chinese interests. HudsonWest then sent $4.7 million to Hunter Biden’s law firm. The next year, another $1 million was delivered.
Hunter Biden sent 20 wire transfers totaling $1.3 million to Vice President Biden’s brother James for consulting services. Treasury flagged the transfers as potentially criminal, the Senate report said.
When the bank contacted James Biden’s wife, Sara, to learn details, she refused to cooperate, the Senate report said.
“Hunter Biden has extensive connections to Chinese businesses and Chinese foreign nationals that are linked to the Communist government,” the Senate report said. “Those contacts bore financial fruit when his father was vice president and after he left office.”
The Senate report also said Hunter Biden sent money to Ukrainian and Russian women. The Treasury reports said the transactions are linked to “what appears to be an Eastern European prostitution or human trafficking ring.”
Mr. Johnson, the Senate homeland security panel chairman, wrote in a FoxNews.com column Tuesday that liberal news media have ignored his report showing disturbing ties between the Biden family and corrupt people.
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Joe Biden: Trump ‘looks down on us’
Joseph R. Biden leaned into his recent populist messaging Wednesday as he kicked off a train tour of eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, saying President Trump looks down on Americans who might be struggling. “I think it’s more than ignoring us,” Mr. Biden said in Cleveland. “I look at things from [a] Scranton perspective —…
Joseph R. Biden leaned into his recent populist messaging Wednesday as he kicked off a train tour of eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, saying President Trump looks down on Americans who might be struggling.
“I think it’s more than ignoring us,” Mr. Biden said in Cleveland. “I look at things from [a] Scranton perspective — he looks at it from Park Avenue. I think he basically looks down on us.”
Mr. Biden spoke the day after his first debate with Mr. Trump that was dominated by name-calling and interruptions.
“The question is does he see you where you are and where you want to be? Does he care? Has he tried to walk in your shoes to understand what’s going on in your life?” Mr. Biden said. “Or does he just ignore you and all the folks all over America who are in a similar situation?”
Mr. Trump said Wednesday that Mr. Biden flopped the previous night and that the former vice president’s performance probably cost him support from the far left.
“Second Amendment is DEAD if Biden gets in! Is that what you want from a leader? He will destroy our Country! VOTE NOW USA,” the president said on Twitter.
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Joe Biden blasts Green New Deal after defending it
The Green New Deal was back on the front burner Tuesday after Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden said that he doesn’t support the ambitious climate plan, immediately both before and after defending it. During the presidential debate, Mr. Biden said, “The Green New Deal is not my plan.” But a moment later, he said:…
The Green New Deal was back on the front burner Tuesday after Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden said that he doesn’t support the ambitious climate plan, immediately both before and after defending it.
During the presidential debate, Mr. Biden said, “The Green New Deal is not my plan.”
But a moment later, he said: “The Green New Deal will pay for itself as we move forward. You’re not going to build plants that in fact are great polluting plants.”
Moderator Chris Wallace interrupted, saying, “You support the Green New Deal?”
Mr. Biden replied: “No, I don’t support the Green New Deal.”
President Trump jumped in with, “Oh, you don’t? Well, that’s a big statement,” predicting that Mr. Biden had just lost “the radical left.”
Mr. Biden explained, “I support the Biden plan that I put forward, which is different than what [Mr. Trump] calls the radical Green New Deal.”
The exchange deflated environmentalists on social media who champion the Green New Deal, although Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York Democrat who sponsored the House resolution, insisted that, “This isn’t news.”
“Our differences are exactly why I joined Biden’s Climate Unity Task Force — so we could set aside our differences & figure out an aggressive climate plan to address the planetary crisis at our feet,” tweeted Ms. Ocasio-Cortez. “Trump doesn’t even believe climate change is real.”
In 60 seconds Joe Biden said he doesn’t support the Green New Deal… then he DID support the Green New Deal.
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) September 30, 2020
This isn’t news, Kellyanne.Our differences are exactly why I joined Biden’s Climate Unity Task Force – so we could set aside our differences & figure out an aggressive climate plan to address the planetary crisis at our feet.Trump doesn’t even believe climate change is real. https://t.co/Bj8SMD9Syf
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 30, 2020
Mr. Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, is a cosponsor of the Green New Deal resolution in the Senate, the companion to the measure introduced by Ms. Ocasio-Cortez in the House.
The Biden campaign website says, “Biden believes the Green New Deal is a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face,” although Mr. Biden’s $2 trillion climate plan is less ambitious than Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s plan.
Mr. Biden’s plan calls for limiting but not abolishing hydraulic fracturing; replacing fossil fuels on the electrical grid by 2035, and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) September 30, 2020
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