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‘Are you with me?’ Biden and Harris launch Black voter outreach and warn of a second Trump term

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – President Joe Biden renewed his election year not to black voters Wednesday, blasting Donald Trump’s “MAGA lies” and said the winner of this year’s White House race will make crucial decisions, including Supreme Court nominees, that could affect the country for decades.

Biden and vice president Kamala Harrisduring a joint appearance at a Philadelphia boarding school, thanked Black voters in Pennsylvania and elsewhere for being key to their victory in 2020 and argued that their agenda has had a huge impact on improving of the lives of black voters.

The Democratic president also claimed that an “unhinged” Trump was peddling disinformation in an effort to win back the White House.

“I’ll be damned if I let Donald Trump turn America into a place of anger and resentment and hatred,” Biden said, calling on the crowd to help him and Harris win a second term. “My question is simple: are you with me?

At Girard College, whose student body is predominantly black, Biden warned of the threat he said a second Trump presidency would pose and cited some of the racial controversies fanned by the presumptive Republican nominee during his lifetime.

“This is the same guy who wanted to tear gas you while you were peacefully protesting the murder of George Floyd. The same guy who keeps calling the Central Park Five guilty, even though they’ve been exonerated,” Biden told the crowd. “This is the landlord who refuses housing applications because of the color of your skin.”

What you need to know about the 2024 elections

The visit to Philadelphia marked the start of what the Biden campaign describes as a summer-long effort to engage Black student organizations, community groups and religious centers. That partly reflects how their support for him has frayed as Trump seeks to make inroads in the longtime Democratic constituency.

The issue of abortion rights and the judiciary also came up in Biden and Harris’ remarks. Biden pledged to codify the protections of Roe v. Wade, the now canceled Supreme Court decision that had legalized the right to abortion, if he and enough Democratic lawmakers were elected, while Harris noted that Trump had dramatically shaped the Supreme Court by invoking the name of Thurgood Marshall, the first black judge of the High Court.

Trump, she said, “handpicked three members of the Supreme Court – Thurgood’s court – with the intention that they would overturn Roe v. Wade,” the landmark ruling on abortion rights . “And as he predicted, they did.”

“Who sits in the White House matters,” she said.

Underscoring the point later, Biden said the next president “may appoint a few judges.” With some vacancies on the Supreme Court, Biden said he could “appoint some really progressive justices, like we’ve always had.”

“Tell me this won’t change your life,” he said.

Among Black adults, Biden’s approval fell from 94% at the start of his term to just 55%, according to one report. Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey published in March.

The economy has been a particular thorn in Biden’s side since 2022, when inflation has reached its highest level in 40 years. But there have also been signs of discontent within the Black community more recently over Biden’s handling of the seven-month period. Israel-Hamas War.

Turnout among black voters could prove crucial to Biden’s chances in what is expected to be one of the most contested states: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Biden defeated his predecessor and 2024 challenger, former President Donald Trump, in all six states in 2020, but he could face a tougher climb this year.

Trump presents himself as a better president than Biden for black voters. HAS rally last week in the BronxHe denounced Biden on immigration and said the “biggest negative impact” of influx of migrants in New York is “against our black population and our Hispanic population losing their jobs, losing their housing, losing everything they can lose.”

The Republican National Committee focused on gas prices and food costs under Biden’s presidency as it attacked his stop in Pennsylvania.

“No matter how much Biden lies, he can’t get Pennsylvanians to support him — his approval ratings are abysmal,” Whatley said. “President Trump continues to lead in polls in Pennsylvania and across the country. Pennsylvanians are ready to make America great again and will vote for President Donald J. Trump in November. »

The Biden campaign wants to use the new engagement effort in part to remind Black voters of some of the Democratic administration’s accomplishments during its tenure. On Wednesday, Biden repeated the refrain “because you voted” as he rattled off a litany of his accomplishments for Black Americans, including record funding for historically Black colleges and universities, cancellation of federal student debt and the exemption for simple possession of marijuana.

“Black voters had enormous confidence in me,” Biden said. “I tried to do my best to honor that trust.”

Biden then visited the South Restaurant & Jazz Club and greeted supporters there, while continuing to tout his accomplishments with black voters and particularly the economic gains under his presidency. At the more intimate meeting, jointly hosted by the African American Chamber of Commerce of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, he also emphasized to the crowd that “there is nothing a white man can do what a black man can do. I don’t do it, or I don’t do it better.

The Black unemployment rate stands at 5.6%, according to the latest federal government data, compared to an average of about 8% from 2016 to 2020 and 11% from 2000 to 2015. Black household wealth increased, and Biden’s efforts to cancel billions in student debt have disproportionately impacted Black borrowers.

Biden also highlights the appointment of Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first black female justice of the United States Supreme Court and his choice of Harris as the first black woman to serve as vice president.

The president’s visit to Philadelphia follows a series of engagements with members of the black community in recent weeks, including hosting plaintiffs in the 1954 Supreme Court ruling that repealed institutionalized racial segregation in public schools, an opening address at Morehouse College in Atlanta, and a virtual address at Reverend Al Sharpton conference on racial justice.

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