biden: Capitol insurrection was about 'white supremacy': Biden at Martin Luther King Jr memorial

biden: Capitol insurrection was about ‘white supremacy’: Biden at Martin Luther King Jr memorial

NEW DELHI: Addressing a celebration to mark the 10th anniversary of the dedication of the Martin Luther King Junior memorial on Washington’s National Mall, United States President Joe Biden on Thursday attributed the January 6 Capitol insurrection by a pro-Trump mob to “white supremacy”.
“The violent deadly insurrection on Capitol, around nine months ago was result of ‘white supremacy’,” said Biden who used the backdrop of the memorial to the slain African-American civil rights hero to charge Republicans with following former president Donald Trump into a “deep black hole” of white supremacy and voter suppression.
“They’re following my predecessor, the last president, in a deep, deep black hole,” Biden said, citing “a sinister combination of voter suppression and election subversion”.
Biden alleged Republican state representatives, ranging from governors to officials in charge of overseeing elections, have launched “an unrelenting assault” on access to free elections ahead of next year’s midterm legislative poll and the 2024 presidential vote.
As Trump continues to press his unprecedented bid to discredit Biden’s win in the 2020 election, Biden said the white supremacy that King fought before being assassinated in 1968 had never fully gone away.
“It only hides until some seemingly legitimate person breathes some oxygen under the rocks where they’re hiding…”
In a reference to Trump, Biden said, “We had a president who appealed to the prejudice,” adding, “We cannot and must not give hate any safe harbour.”
Biden was speaking a day after the US Senate Republicans blocked a voting rights bill. It was the third time this year that Senate Democrats had tried to advance such a bill in response to new state balloting restrictions fuelled by Republican Trump’s false claims of a stolen 2020 presidential election.
He singled out Martin Luther King Jr.‘s native Georgia, a state that Trump falsely said he lost due to voter fraud.
The Democratic president has set a strong agenda for Black Americans, but since taking office in January has not been able to push through voting rights and police reform laws in the face of solid Republican opposition.
‘Country has reached an inflection point on issues like voting restrictions’
Biden also tied his legislative priorities on voting rights, police reform and climate change to King’s push for racial justice.
Invoking King, Biden said the country was still working to live up to its ideals as a nation and had reached an inflection point on issues, including fighting voting restrictions.
“I know that progress does not come fast enough,” Biden said. “It never has.”
He reiterated that protecting the right to vote was “central” to his administration. Biden has promised to push for the legislation, but supporters are growing impatient that he has not embraced changing Senate rules.
Biden also promised to “continue to fight for real police reform legislation”, which has stalled out in Congress after bipartisan talks collapsed this summer.
Highlighting his agenda of social spending, which remains the subject of heated intraparty negotiations, Biden said the bill would cut prescription drug costs, reduce poverty and fight housing discrimination.
“We can afford to do this,” Biden said. “We can’t afford not to do this.”
Biden is hoping to rally Democrats around an agreement on that legislation before he departs for an international climate summit next week.
Biden appeared at the memorial tribute with Kamala Harris, the first Black and Asian-American woman Vice President.
Monument dedicated to a man whose voice we still hear: Harris
Vice President Kamala Harris, who introduced Biden at the event, praised King as a “prophet”.
“This monument, whatever your age, is dedicated to a man whose voice we still hear, whose words still echo not only across this city, but throughout our country and our world,” she said.
The massive granite monument, dedicated in the fall of 2011, is the first honour for an African-American on the National Mall. Located on Independence Avenue along the Tidal Basin, the memorial features a huge likeness of King carved out of stone and a separate wall etched with some of his most notable quotes.
(With agency inputs)

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