You’ve never heard President Joe Biden described quite like this.
An MSNBC contributor described Biden’s decision to run for president in 2020 in terms more befitting a screenplay than real life, saying the ex-senator and vice president was happily retired but forces beyond his control kept pulling him back into the fray. And it was the 2017 Charlottesville riot, after which former President Trump was falsely accused of praising white supremacists, that did it, according to Jason Johnson.
“If you believe the story, which I do, that [Biden] said, ‘I had no intention of running for president,’” said Johnson, a professor at Morgan State University. “He was, he was the retired war hero out in the mountain, chopping wood. Charlottesville brought him back into the fight that he never thought he’d have to fight again.”
— NewsBusters (@newsbusters) September 16, 2022
While it is interesting imagery, Newsbusters pointed out that Biden never served in the military, although he was draft eligible in the Vietnam era. Instead, the former high school football star got five draft deferments for asthma. Also, unlike former President Reagan, who famously spent vacations chopping wood at his Santa Barbara ranch, Biden vacations at a Delaware beach house where he often rides a bike and cutting down trees is likely frowned upon.
Johnson and MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace were discussing a recent speech by Biden at the so-called United We Stand summit, Johnson said he found the speech “charming and engaging.”
Biden has often recalled the August 12, 2017 Charlottesville riot, where a white supremacist fatally ran over a protester, as a motivating factor in his decision to challenge Trump.
“Charlottesville changed everything,” Biden said Thursday at a summit on extremism at the White House attended by the Rev. Al Sharpton, Jonathan Greenblatt of the Anti-Defamation League, and others.
Biden and much of the media claim that Trump praised white supremacists following the Charlottesville riot, which started as a “Unite the Right” rally to protest taking down Confederate statues. Counter protesters showed up to support the effort, but so did members of Antifa and white supremacists.
Although he said there were “very fine people” on both sides of the clash, the full context of his remarks indicated he was referring to the statue debate, and not Antifa or white supremacists, and that he had been against taking down the statues.
“You’re changing history,” Trump told reporters in a ambling Q&A on August 15, 2017. “You’re changing culture. And you had people — and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists — because they should be condemned totally. But you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists. Okay? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly.”
“Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people,” he continued. “But you also had troublemakers, and you see them come with the black outfits and with the helmets, and with the baseball bats. You had a lot of bad people in the other group.”
Trump also condemned James Alex Fields Jr., who ran down Heather Heyer, calling him a “murderer” and a “disgrace to himself, his family, and this country.”