The words of a president matter. They can move markets. They can send our brave men and women to war. They can bring peace.
And they can unleash the deepest, darkest forces in this nation — like Donald Trump has chosen to do.
When he said after Charlottesville that there were “very fine people on both sides” he gave license and safe harbor for hate to white supremacists, Neo-Nazis, and the KKK.
Those words stunned the nation and shocked the world.
I said at the time that we were in a battle for the soul of this nation. I said it again when I announced. It’s why I’m running for president.
How far is it from Trump’s saying this “is an invasion” to the shooter in El Paso declaring “this attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas”?
Not far at all.
How far is it from the white supremacists and Neo-Nazis in Charlottesville – Trump’s “very fine people” – chanting “You will not replace us” to the shooter at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh saying Jews “were committing genocide to his people.”
Not far at all.
In both clear language and in code, this president has fanned the flames of white supremacy in this nation.
I wish I could say this hate began with Trump and will end with him. It didn’t & it won’t.
The battle for the soul of this nation has been a constant push-and-pull between the American ideal that we are all created equal & the harsh reality that racism has long torn us apart.
The honest truth is both elements are part of the American character. At our best, the American ideal wins out. But it’s never a rout. It’s always a fight. And the battle is never finished.
At moments when we have been tested most, American presidents have stepped up. They led, opposed hate, and chose to fight for the best of the American character.
We don’t have that today. Our president has aligned himself with the darkest forces in this nation.
Trump offers no moral leadership, no interest in unifying the nation, and no evidence the presidency has awakened his conscience in the least.
Instead, we have a president with a toxic tongue who has unapologetically embraced a political strategy of hate, racism, and division.
So it’s up to us. We’re living through a rare moment in this nation’s history. Where our president isn’t up to the moment. Where our president lacks the moral authority to lead. Where our president has more in common with George Wallace than George Washington.
We are almost 330 million Americans who have to do what our president can’t. Stand together. Stand against hate. Stand up for what—at our best—this nation believes.
If we stand together, we will win the battle for the soul of this nation.
You can follow @JoeBiden.