Former Vice President Joe Biden told a small audience at the Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin, that President Donald Trump had called neo-Nazis “very fine people” — repeating a false claim he has made since his campaign began.
Biden — whose campaign billed his visit as an opportunity for racial healing — repeated the same script he has used over and over again, talking about white supremacists coming “out of the fields,” and “carrying torches,” with their “veins bulging.”
He added that a “young woman was killed” protesting against them. (Her name was Heather Heyer, a detail he often omits.)
Biden — standing before the cross — went on to say that the president, when asked about the white supremacists, said there were “very fine people on both sides.” But Biden misled his audience: Trump actually condemned the white supremacists.
As Breitbart News noted in a fact check:
President Trump repeatedly condemned the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville in August 2017 — “totally.”
Moreover, the neo-Nazis were not the only violent group in Charlottesville. The “clash” was not with those “standing against” hate peacefully, but with violent, black-clad Antifa extremists.
As to “very fine people,” Trump had been referring to peaceful protests both for and against the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
He completely condemned the extremists — as the timeline and transcript confirm:
- Aug. 12, 2017: Trump condemned “violence “on many sides” in Charlottesville, after neo-Nazi and Antifa clashes
- Aug. 14, 2017: Trump condemned “neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups” in White House statement
- Aug. 15, 2017: Trump condemned neo-Nazis “totally,” praised non-violent protesters “on both sides” of statue debate
Biden launched his campaign with the Charlottesville hoax, and persisted in doing so, even after Breitbart News confronted him last August with the fact that he was misquoting the president. His words on that occasion, like his words on Wednesday, repeated his campaign launch speech almost verbatim — a script from which he refuses to depart.
The former vice president told the congregation that Trump’s words — which he misrepresented — “legitimize[d]” hate.
Biden’s first comment on the recent violence in Kenosha was to condemn police on Aug. 24 for the shooting of Jacob Blake Jr., 29, who fought with police during an altercation Aug. 23 and was shot while resisting arrest, reaching into his car, where a knife was later recovered. Biden did not comment on the riots that had ensued the night before. Only after three nights of rioting did Biden condemn the riots. Initially, he declined to visit Kenosha but changed his mind after Trump’s visit Tuesday.
He told the church that the issue of racial justice was worth losing the election over and promised to “go down fighting.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.