Jul 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden calls Trump America's first racist president

Vice President Joe Biden sitting behind a glass

Joe Biden. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Joe Biden claimed that President Trump is the first racist to be elected to the White House during a virtual town hall on Wednesday, The Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Biden has previously said that Trump stokes racism, but this marks the first time Biden has directly called Trump a racist, the Post notes.

What Biden is saying: “No sitting president has ever done this. Never, never, never. No Republican president has done this. No Democratic president. We’ve had racists, and they’ve existed, they’ve tried to get elected president. He’s the first one that has.”

  • Biden also criticized Trump's preference for calling COVID-19 the "China virus," saying, "the way he deals with people based on the color of their skin, their national origin, where they’re from, is absolutely sickening.”

Reality check:

  • 12 U.S. presidents owned enslaved people at some point during their lives, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson.
  • President Woodrow Wilson has been criticized for some of his policies that negatively impacted Black Americans, prompting Princeton University to remove his name from buildings in late June.
Go deeper