President Joe Biden took his opportunity standing before the class of 2023 to give a politicized graduation speech that many say sounded more like a campaign stop than a word of advice to grads.
“The harsh reality of racism has long torn us apart,” Biden said at the historically black university in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, reported Yahoo. “It’s a battle. It’s never really over, but on the best days, enough of us have the guts and the hearts to stand up for the best in us, to choose love over hate.”
“…To stand up against the poison of white supremacy like I did in my inaugural address to single it out as the most dangerous terrorist threat to our homeland.”
After applause from the crowd, he added: “I’m not saying this because I’m at a black HBCU. I say it wherever I go.”
NPR reported that the speech was used to “appeal to young Black voters, offering a preview for how his campaign plans to regain waning enthusiasm from a key demographic.”
Biden explicitly mentioned former President Donald Trump’s infamous “very fine people on both sides” line regarding the racially charged rally in Charlottesville in 2017 even though it was debunked that Trump called neo-Nazis “very fine people.”
“I don’t have to tell you that fearless progress towards justice often meets ferocious pushback from the oldest and most sinister of forces,” Biden told the grads. “That’s because hate never goes away.”
CNN reported the “campaign-style speech came less than a month after Biden announced his bid for a second term,” adding:
Biden’s speech Saturday also previewed the platforms he expects to prioritize on the campaign trail. He called out Republican-led efforts that he cast as seeking to chip away at rights for transgender children and affordable health care and housing.
Biden also received applause for political promises on marijuana decriminalization, climate change investment and student loan forgiveness. He conceded there was still “more to do” on gun violence, reiterating calls for an assault weapons ban, as well as a comprehensive police overhaul, both issues that do not currently have the votes to pass in Congress.
Howard University described the speech as inspiring “hope,” noting Biden recalled his time with former President Barack Obama and promised more funding for historically black colleges and universities.
“We are living through one of the most consequential moments in our history, with fundamental questions at stake for our nation. Who are we? What do we stand for? What do we believe? Who will we be? You’re going to help answer those questions,” Biden told the grads.
IMAGE: CSPAN screenshot