Joe Biden gave an impassioned speech about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) rights on Sunday at the annual Human Rights Campaign dinner in Washington, D.C. But despite reports that he called all supporters of President Donald Trump “the dregs of society,” video of Biden’s speech shows otherwise.
The former Vice President, 75, was discussing the violence against the LGBTQ community during his speech and how “forces of intolerance remain determined to undermine and roll back the progress” many have made.
He then mentioned that those people who want to take away LGBTQ rights — like members of the alt-right and the KKK — have an ally in President Trump. But never did Biden specifically say that all of “Trump’s supporters” fell into that category.
Referring to those who attack the LGBTQ community, Biden said, “They’re a small percentage of the American people, virulent people. Some of them, the dregs of society.”
Regardless, Biden’s words were criticized by Trump voters, who compared his remarks to Hillary Clinton calling Trump supporters “deplorables” during the 2016 presidential election.
“We are all used to Creepy Joe saying stupid stuff but this is too far even for him,” Trump’s son, Donald Trump, Jr., tweeted.
Biden did speak about how Trump has seemingly turned his anger to those who don’t have rights.
“Instead of using the full might of the executive branch to secure justice, dignity and safety for all, the president uses the White House as a literal, literal bully pulpit, callously exerting his power over those who have little or none.”
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He also addressed why the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virgina — and the death of 32-year-old counter-protester Heather Heyer — inspired him to speak out about the Trump administration, after previously promising former President Barack Obama that he would “remain silent for awhile to give this administration the chance to get up and running the first year.”
“God forgive me,” Biden said on Sunday. “I could not remain silent after Charlottesville.”
“This is about basic decency,” he added. “The idea that goons could come out of fields at night with lighted torches, carrying Nazi flags, chanting the same exact anti-Semitic bile that was chanted in the streets of Nuremberg, and Berlin, and every other German city in the ’30s. We are in a fight for America’s soul. And we have leaders who at the time when that occurred, when these guys were accompanied by white supremacists and the Klu Klux Klan, making a comparison saying ‘they’re good people on both groups.’ “
Asked Biden: “What has become of us? Our children are listening and our silence is complicity.”