“Are you with me?” Biden and Harris launch outreach campaign to black voters, warn of second Trump term

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — President Joe Biden renewed his election-year pitch to black voters Wednesday, attacking Donald Trump’s “MAGA lies” and saying the winner of this White House race year will make crucial decisions, including Supreme Court nominees. , this could affect the country for decades.

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, in a joint appearance at a Philadelphia boarding school, thanked Black voters in Pennsylvania and elsewhere for being key to their victory in 2020 and argued that their agenda has had a huge impact on improving the lives of black people. voters.

The Democratic president also claimed that an “unhinged” Trump was peddling disinformation in an effort to win back the White House.

“I’ll be damned if I let Donald Trump turn America into a place of anger and resentment and hatred,” Biden said, calling on the crowd to help him and Harris win a second term. “My question is simple: are you with me?

At Girard College, whose student body is predominantly black, Biden warned of the threat he said a second Trump presidency would pose and cited some of the racial controversies stoked by the presumptive Republican nominee during his lifetime.

“This is the same guy who wanted to tear gas you while you were peacefully protesting the murder of George Floyd. “The same guy who keeps calling the Central Park Five guilty, even though they’ve been exonerated,” Biden told the crowd. “This is the landlord who refuses housing applications because of the color of your skin.”

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The visit to Philadelphia marked the start of what the Biden campaign describes as a summer-long effort to engage Black student organizations, community groups and religious centers. That partly reflects how their support for him has frayed as Trump seeks to make inroads in the longtime Democratic constituency.

The issue of abortion rights and the justice system also came up in Biden and Harris’ remarks. The vice president noted that Trump dramatically shaped the Supreme Court by invoking the name of Thurgood Marshall, the high court’s first black justice.

Trump, she said, “handpicked three members of the Supreme Court – the Thurgood court – with the intention that they would overturn Roe vs. Wade”, the historic decision on the right to abortion. “And as he predicted, they did.”

“Who sits in the White House matters,” she said.

Underscoring the point later, Biden said the next president “may appoint a few judges.”

Among Black adults, Biden’s approval fell from 94% at the start of his term to just 55%, according to one report. Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey published in March.

The economy has been a particular thorn in Biden’s side since 2022, when Inflation has reached its highest level in 40 years. But there have also been signs of discontent within the Black community more recently over Biden’s handling of the seven-month period. Israel-Hamas War.

Turnout among black voters could prove crucial to Biden’s chances in what is expected to be one of the most contested states: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Biden defeated his predecessor and 2024 challenger, former President Donald Trump, in all six states in 2020, but he could face a tougher climb this year.

Trump presents himself as a better president than Biden for black voters. HAS rally last week in the BronxHe denounced Biden on immigration and said the “biggest negative impact” of influx of migrants in New York is “against our black population and our Hispanic population losing their jobs, losing their housing, losing everything they can lose.”

The Biden campaign wants to use the new engagement effort in part to remind Black voters of some of the Democratic administration’s accomplishments during its tenure. On Wednesday, Biden repeated the refrain “because you voted” as he rattled off a litany of his accomplishments for Black Americans, including record funding for historically Black colleges and universities, cancellation of federal student debt and the exemption for simple possession of marijuana.

“Black voters had enormous confidence in me,” Biden said. “I tried to do my best to honor that trust.”

The Black unemployment rate stands at 5.6%, according to the latest federal government data, compared to an average of about 8% from 2016 to 2020 and 11% from 2000 to 2015. Black household wealth increased, and Biden’s efforts to cancel billions in student debt that have disproportionately affected Black borrowers.

Biden also highlights his nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first Black woman justice on the United States Supreme Court and his choice of Harris as the first Black woman to serve as vice president.

The president’s visit to Philadelphia follows a series of engagements with members of the black community in recent weeks, including hosting plaintiffs in the 1954 Supreme Court ruling that institutionalized racial segregation canceled in public schools, an opening address at Morehouse College in Atlanta, and a virtual address at the Reverend. Al Sharpton’s conference on racial justice.


Associated Press writer Seung Min Kim in Washington contributed to this report.

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