Skip to main content

Biden Expresses Anger At San Diego Fundraiser

Former vice president Joe Biden speaks at a rally in support of striking Stop...

Photo by Michael Dwyer / AP

Above: Former vice president Joe Biden speaks at a rally in support of striking Stop & Shop workers in Boston, Thursday, April 18, 2019

Former Vice President Joe Biden said Sunday evening at a fundraiser in Del Cerro for his campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination that he had not been this angry before Sunday.

"You know what, the president's words have meaning, no matter who he or she is," Biden told the crowd of about 75.

"They are the face of America. We can tolerate four years of this man, but we have a hell of a lot to make up, nationally and internationally. But my God eight years? Eight years of this man will fundamentally change the character of our country," said Biden.

"When you give a safe harbor to hate from the Oval Office, it gives license to extremism all across the country."

Biden added that he wasn't saying President Donald Trump was personally responsible for the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio Saturday that left 29 dead, but that he had significant influence on what was happening across the country.

Speaking to reporters in Morristown, New Jersey before boarding Air Force One to return to Washington, Trump said, "Hate has no place in our country. And we're going to take care of it."

"I spoke with Attorney General Bill Barr at length. I spoke to Christopher Wray, director of the FBI. I spoke to the governors, both governors, and we're doing a lot of work. A lot of people are working right now, a lot of law enforcement people and others.I spoke to members of Congress about whatever we can do and a lot of, a lot of things are being done right now, as we speak."

"We're talking to a lot of people, and a lot of things are in the works and a lot of good things.

And we have done much more than most administrations.And it does — it's not — really not talked about very much, but we've done, actually, a lot. But perhaps more has to be done."

Trump said "this is also a mental illness problem."

"If you look at both of these cases, this is mental illness," Trump said. "These are (people) — really, people that are very, very seriously mentally ill.So a lot of things are happening.

A lot of things are happening right now."

Trump said he would be making a statement Monday, then offered "condolences to all" and later telling reporters "I will see you tomorrow at 10 o'clock."

When asked "what are you going to do" about "the gun problem," Trump replied, "We have to get it stopped. This has been going on for years — for years and years — in our country. And we have to get it stopped."

In his speech at the fundraiser, the 76-year-old Biden almost immediately spoke of Saturday's mass shootings, at first referring to them as "the tragic events in Houston today and also in Michigan the day before" but later correcting himself to say El Paso and Dayton, Ohio.

"The American people may be running out of tears, but I pray to God we're not running out of will," Biden said. "A will to do something about what we're seeing. You know, we don't need any more thoughts and prayers out of Washington. What we need out of Washington is a strength and resolve that I have yet to see."

"There are escalating acts that are occurring not of madness but of absolute, absolute hatred, and we have to call that hatred out and confront it."

Biden said the nation needed to do more than address the guns that are being used in these shootings, but to also address the hatred that is fueling them. He also promised that if becomes president that he would again make sure those types of weapons, apparently referring to AR-15 style weapons, could no longer be purchased and to limit magazine capacities.

"This is a lot more than about guns," Biden said. "This is about hatred. That's not hyperbole. The fact is, white nationalists, white supremacists, these extreme ideologies is growing, is taking root in America."

The fundraiser was held at the home of Mark Arabo, a businessman, and San Diego civic leader and a prominent advocate for persecuted Iraqi Christians. The Arabo family immigrated from Iraq to the United States in 1979 in search of a better life and safety.

Former San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and former Rep. Lynn Schenk, D-San Diego, were among those attending the fundraiser.

Biden is set to join three other candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination Monday in speaking at the annual conference of the nation's largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization.

California Sen. Kamala Harris, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Biden will take the stage at the San Diego Convention Center individually and deliver remarks followed by a question-and-answer session with UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguia.

The candidates are expected to discuss education, immigration, health care, the economy and other issues, according to Murguia, who said Latinos "are anxious to be engaged by candidates who can provide concrete ideas and proposed solutions for the issues that matter to them most."

Murguia calls the conference the nation's largest convening for Latinos.

"Vision 2020: A Conversation with the Candidates" will be livestreamed from 1-3 p.m. by Telemundo in Spanish via NoticiasTelemundo.com and Noticias Telemundo's properties on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.

UnidosUS will livestream the event in English on its Facebook page.

Previously known as National Council of La Raza, UnidosUS bills itself as challenging the social, economic, and political barriers that affect Latinos at the national and local levels.

FEATURED PODCAST

San Diego News Matters podcast branding

KPBS' daily news podcast covering local politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings so you can listen on your morning commute.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.