President Joe Biden draws contrast with Donald Trump in appeal to Black voters

President Biden on Wednesday sought to woo Black voters in Philadelphia, laying out a contrast between his first term and that of former President Trump, as he looks to solidify support with a key voting bloc that could determine the outcome of November’s election.

Biden and Vice President Harris addressed supporters at Girard College for the launch of Black Voters for Biden-Harris, an effort intended to mobilize support in the Black community. Biden credited Black voters with putting him in the White House and argued they have the power to do so again in November.

“I’ve shown you who I am and Trump has shown you who he is, and today Donald Trump is pandering and peddling lies and stereotypes for your vote so he can win for himself, not for you,” Biden said. “Well, Donald Trump, I have a message for you: Not in our house, and not on our watch.”

Biden made the case that he had kept numerous promises from his campaign that have benefited the Black community, citing investments in historically Black colleges and universities, student debt forgiveness, infrastructure projects that have removed lead pipes, legislation to cap the cost of insulin and the appointment of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court.

He contrasted that with Trump’s record, warning that “all progress, all freedom, all opportunity is at risk.”

“Trump is trying to make the country forget just how dark and unsettling things were when he was president,” Biden said at the event at the historic college prep boarding school.

The president mocked Trump’s handling of the pandemic, mentioning when Trump suggested disinfectants could be used to treat the coronavirus. 

Biden warned Trump could put health care at risk for millions of Americans if he tries to “terminate” the Affordable Care Act.

The president slammed Trump for his sympathetic stance toward rioters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, suggesting if it were Black Americans who clashed with law enforcement that day, Trump would not be promising them pardons.

And Biden mocked Trump’s frequent boast that he is the best president for Black Americans other than Abraham Lincoln.

“I think he injected too much of that bleach,” Biden said. “I think it affected his brain.”

Supporters watch as President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event at Girard College, Wednesday, May 29, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Black voters were key to Biden’s success in 2020, when he won 87 percent of those voters and carried critical swing states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia.

Trump held a rally last week in the Bronx in New York City, and his campaign has been bullish about his ability to cut into Biden’s margins with voters of color.

“From high gas prices and soaring food costs to violent crime, Joe Biden has failed the Keystone State,” Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman Michael Whatley said in a statement. “No matter how much Biden lies, he cannot gaslight Pennsylvanians into supporting him — his approval ratings are abysmal.”

A poll published earlier this month conducted by The New York Times, Siena College and The Philadelphia Inquirer found Biden leading Trump among Black voters, 63 percent to 23 percent, which would be a significant decrease from his 2020 margins.

The Black Voters for Biden-Harris coalition is one way the campaign is hoping to address that issue. The initiative will include an eight-figure investment and involve work over the summer to partner with Black organizations to increase outreach to Black voters and strengthen voter protections ahead of the election, according to the campaign.

It will also engage with Black-owned media outlets and travel by surrogates to battleground states the weekend after the rally, including to a Black church in Atlanta, a block party celebration in Nevada and barber shops in Michigan.

“Kamala and I are president and vice president of the United States because of you. That’s not hyperbole,” Biden said Wednesday. “Because you voted, Donald Trump is a defeated former president. And with your vote in 2024, we’re going to make Donald Trump a loser again.”

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