Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden on Wednesday said some of President Trump’s backers support the idea that “all Mexicans are rapists” and “all Muslims are bad.”
“There are people who support the president because they like the fact that he is engaged in the politics of division,” Mr. Biden said at a virtual fundraising event.
“They really support the notion that, you know, all Mexicans are rapists and all Muslims are bad and … dividing this nation based on ethnicity, race,” Mr. Biden said. “This is one of the few presidents who succeeded by deliberately trying to divide the country, not unite the country.”
He had been asked if he hopes to reach Mr. Trump’s “base” during the general election.
“His base? Probably not,” Mr. Biden said with a laugh.
Hillary Clinton, the Democrats’ 2016 presidential nominee, was forced to walk back her commentary during that race that half of Mr. Trump’s supporters were “irredeemable” and belonged in a “basket of deplorables.”
Mrs. Clinton later said she regretted using the word “half.”
In September 2016, Mr. Trump said he was stunned to the point of disbelief when he heard Mrs. Clinton’s comments.
He had pointed out comparisons to 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” comments during that year’s race, when Mr. Romney said at a private event that nearly half of the country was likely to vote for then-President Barack Obama no matter what and that a huge slice of the population depended on government and saw themselves as victims.
Mr. Biden, the likely Democratic presidential nominee, did say he’s the candidate to bring back at least some people who Mr. Trump won over in 2016.
“The people who voted Republican last time … who don’t want to vote for Trump, whether they want to vote for me or not is a different story, but they don’t want to vote for Trump. They’re looking for an alternative and I think, I hope to God, I can provide that alternative. … I really mean it. I think there’s a chance,” Mr. Biden said.
He also said Mr. Trump has moved too slowly to confront the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The sacrifices that these folks are making are heartbreaking, and they’re showing the real soul of America,” Mr. Biden said. “Their friends and families and coworkers are literally dying, and President Trump is having temper tantrums about his authority or whether or not he can do whatever he wants.”