Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said on Tuesday that while there's "a lot of prejudice" in the U.S., white supremacists "are not going to be convinced" that minority groups are vital to restoring the soul of America. The former vice president’s response is part of an interview that will air Thursday at the combined conventions of the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. The convention is being held online this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
ALFREDO CORCHADO: I'm sitting in El Paso, Texas, and it's been one year since a gunman walked into a Walmart and killed 23 people. He told police he came to kill Mexicans. This is the largest attack on Latinos in modern history. You've accused President Trump of burying responsibility for the rise in hate crimes. How do you convince white supremacists that minority groups are vital to restoring the soul of America?
JOE BIDEN: I don't convince white supremacists. They're not going to be convinced. They have to be put in jail when they do things that are inappropriate. White supremacists are not going to be convinced, but the vast, vast, vast majority-- majority of people are not white supremacists.
The reason I'm running is because of Donald Trump's-- what he said when those folks came out of the fields in Charlottesville. I realized hate doesn't go away, it just hides. And when a president breathes oxygen under the rocks and pulls them out, it legitimizes them. They make up a significant minority of the American public, but left unattended, they grow. They grow. And they cause great damage.
ERROL BARNETT: I want to follow up on your point, to Alfredo's question, that white supremacists can't be convinced. You just said there that the extreme right wing folks in the country, left unattended, will grow. So shouldn't there be some sentiment to reach out to people who hold racist views to convince them--
JOE BIDEN: Now, that's different-- that's different than the white-- look, you're talking about white supremacists. I thought you're talking about the people like the kid who showed up in El Paso and gunned down all those innocent people. OK, that's what we're talking about-- the Ku Klux Klan and the like-- the white supremacists, those who belong to those groups. They are a minority.
I'm reaching out to everyone else. I've done it my whole career. My state has the eighth-largest black population in the United States of America as a percent of population. That's where I started. That's my support. That's what I've been working with my whole career. And you can deal with those who, in fact-- who, in fact, are prejudiced. A lot of prejudice out there, but not everyone is a white supremacist like the kid who went in and gunned down those folks in El Paso. There's a difference.