BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Pres. Joe Biden denounced white supremacy in a speech from Buffalo Tuesday, calling it “poison” to our county after a mass shooter killed 10 in a racist rampage. He honored the victims of the tragedy, reading their names and sharing stories of their lives.
Biden and the first lady touched down in Buffalo Tuesday morning and immediately headed to a memorial for the ten victims killed Saturday at Tops Friendly Markets on Jefferson Avenue. The Bidens then headed to the Delavan-Grider Community Center to privately meet with the families of the victims and speak to America.
The 46th president acknowledged the anger, pain, and “black hole in your chest” that losing a loved one leaves. “Jill and I bring you this message from deep in our nation’s soul,” Biden said. “In America, evil will not win, I promise you. Hate will not prevail. And white supremacy will not have the last word.”
Biden pointed to other attacks in years past calling on Americans to not stand on the sidelines, but to reject the ideology. “White supremacy is a poison,” he said. “It’s a poison, it really is, running through our body politic. It’s been allowed to fester and grow right in front of our eyes. No more. I mean no more.”
“We need to say as clearly and forcefully as we can, the ideology of white supremacy has no place in America,” the president said. “Silence is complicity. We cannot remain silent.”
The president said that tragedy cannot be forever overcome, fully understood or prevent violence and radicalization, but said: “we can keep assault weapons off our streets.” He added that the country needs to stand up and have the courage to put an end to the “relentless” exploitation of the internet to mobilize terrorism. “What happened here is simple and straightforward: terrorism. Domestic terrorism.”
The president firmly rejected “the great replacement theory,” the conspiracy to diminish and “replace” the influence of white people with nonwhite people. He sharply criticized those who spread the conspiracy, calling it violence inflicted “in the service of hate and a vicious thirst for power.” Biden said, “I call on all Americans to reject the lie, and I condemn those who spread the lie for power, political gain, and for profit.”
Biden said the hateful rampage of those like the Tops gunman represents a hate-filled minority, saying they cannot destroy the soul of the nation. “The American experiment and democracy is in danger like it hasn’t been in my lifetime. It’s in danger this hour,” President Biden said. “Hate and fear are being given too much oxygen by those who pretend to love America, but don’t understand America.”
“Love thy neighbor as thy self, that’s the America that I know, that Jill knows,” the president added. “Now’s the time for the people of all races from every background to speak up as a majority in America and reject white supremacy.”
President Biden concluded his speech with a message to the families affected by the attack, “from your pain, may we find purpose to live life worthy of the loved ones you lost.” Quoting a hymn from Psalm 91, Biden said, “And he will raise you up on eagle’s wings, bear you on the breath of dawn, make you to shine like the sun, and hold you in the palm of his hand.”
The president said that this is his wish for the country. “Hold on to each other tightly, stick together. You’ll get through this and we’ll make Buffalo and the United States a better place to live than it is today.”