Biden repeats ‘Charlottesville lie’ that prompted him to run

By Art Moore

Joe Biden delivers his speech accepting his nomination as the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee (screenshot)

In his acceptance speech Thursday night calling for “unity” and “light,” Joe Biden once again repeated the false claim that President Trump referred to neo-Nazis in Charlottesville as “very fine people,” saying it prompted him to run for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Biden said Trump’s words in 2017 were “a wake-up call for us as a country” and, for him, “a call to action.”

“At that moment, I knew I’d have to run,” he said.

“My father taught us that silence was complicity. And I could not remain silent or complicit. At the time, I said we were in a battle for the soul of this nation,” said the former vice president, who served 36 years in the Senate.

Noting the third anniversary of the clash over a statue of Robert E. Lee, Biden recalled the “neo-Nazis and Klansmen and white supremacists coming out of the fields with lighted torches,” their “veins bulging,” “spewing the same anti-Semitic bile heard across Europe in the ’30s.”

“Remember the violent clash that ensued between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it?” Biden asked. “Remember what the president said? There were quote, ‘very fine people on both sides.'”

In fact, during his remarks on Charlottesville, Trump immediately made it clear he was not talking about “the neo-Nazis and white nationalists,” explicitly declaring “they should be condemned totally.”

His reference – as a CNN contributor pointed out in a rebuke to his network colleagues – was to the people on both sides of the issue of whether or not to maintain statues of Robert E. Lee and other Confederate figures.

Biden, for his part, weighed in on the controversial Confederate flag issue in a 1993 Senate session declaring that “many fine people” display it.

The falsehood persists

In March 2019, CNN contributor Steven Cortes chastised his colleagues for continuing to promote “the Charlottesville lie.”

In a RealClearPolitics column, he cited CNN’s correct contemporaneous reporting and the transcripts of the Trump Tower presser after the deadly protest.

“Excuse me, they didn’t put themselves down as neo-Nazis, and you had some very bad people in that group,” Trump said at the time. “But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. You had people in that group – excuse me, excuse me, I saw the same pictures you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.”

Cortes noted that after another question by a reporter, Trump became even more explicit.

“I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally,” the president said.

Yet, the “falsehood” persists, Cortes wrote, pointing to CNN contributor Keith Boykin stating the previous week: “When violent people were marching with tiki torches in Charlottesville, the president said they were ‘very fine people.'”

When Cortes objected, arguing Trump’s “fine people on both sides” observation clearly referenced those on both sides of the Confederate monument debate, anchor Erin Burnett insisted Trump “didn’t say it was on the monument debate at all.”

“No, they didn’t even try to use that defense,” the CNN anchor said. “It’s a good one, but no one’s even tried to use it, so you just used it now.”

Cortes also cited MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace saying Trump had “given safe harbor to Nazis, to white supremacists.”

Her NBC colleague Chuck Todd claimed Trump “gave me the wrong kind of chills. Honestly, I’m a bit shaken from what I just heard.”

The New York Times ran a headline saying “Trump Gives White Supremacists Unequivocal Boost.”

In March 2019, Fox News host Chris Wallace pressed White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on why Trump had not given a speech “condemning … white supremacist bigotry.”

Mulvaney responded that the president has done so several times, including after the death of Charlottesville victim Heather Heyer.

“Racism is evil,” Trump said, “and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

Cortes said “the only explanation for such a repeated falsehood is abject laziness or willful deception.”

‘Ku Klux Klan president’

In January, as WND reported, Biden repeated the falsehood at a black Baptist church commemorating Martin Luther King Jr.

Expressing fear that the progress of the Civil Rights Movement was unraveling, at least in part due to President Trump, Biden referenced the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville.

“What I realized is that hate just hides,” Biden told the congregation at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Columbia, South Carolina, in reference to his false rendering of Trump’s remark.

“And it when it comes out from under the rocks, when it gets a little bit of oxygen.”

Biden went further.

“This president and his – the Ku Klux Klans and the rest of them, they think they’ve beaten us again but they have no idea. We’re just coming back.”

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