Joe Biden proclaimed that the United States of America “was an idea” that “we’ve never lived up to.” The statement by the Democratic presidential nominee was quickly lambasted by many.
Biden made the controversial statement on Wednesday during an interview on the “Unlocking Us with Brené Brown” podcast in the midst of a discussion about the legacy of slavery in the United States.
“America was an idea, an idea. ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident,'” Biden said, quoting the Declaration of Independence. “We’ve never lived up to it, but we’ve never walked away from it before. And I just think we have to be more honest. Let our kids know, as we raise them, what actually did happen. Acknowledge our mistakes so we don’t repeat them.”
America was an idea. We’ve never lived up to it but we’ve never walked away from it before.
— Joe Biden (@Joe Biden)1603330680.0
The Trump campaign responded to Biden’s statement that America was an idea.
“Running for President, Joe Biden’s closing argument is that America has always been a disappointment,” said Tim Murtaugh, director of communications for the Trump campaign. “You know he’s blaming this on you. And after 47 years as a failed DC politician, he wants you to believe that NOW he’ll get it right.”
“@JoeBiden Where have you been for 47 years? America is the greatest nation in the world. We stand for freedom and opportunity for all. Our nation is filled with strong, innovative and hard-working individuals who love this nation & don’t want to fundamentally transform it,” senior adviser to the campaign Mercedes Schlapp wrote on Twitter.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) reacted to Biden comments by saying, “47 years, 0 accomplishments. Americans deserve better than your apology tour.”
Many online commenters pointed out that American soldiers storming the beaches of Normandy to defeat the Nazis and making sacrifices during World War II were times that the country lived up to the “idea of America.”
Political scientist and author Ian Bremmer inquired, “Not even World War II? Creating the United Nations? MacArthur rebuilding Japan? The Marshall Plan?”
“‘We’ve never lived up to it’? Speak for yourself, man!” Center for American Liberty founder and trial lawyer Harmeet Dhillon responded. “This immigrant is so grateful to be an American — and I never diss her or take her for granted.”
Previously, Biden declared that Antifa is an idea. During the first presidential debate, Biden said, “Antifa’s an idea, not an organization.” Biden’s comment was applauded by far-left Portland mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone, who said, “I love that Joe Biden answered this question before me, because being opposed to fascism in 2020 is not something to be embarrassed about.”
Also during the podcast interview, Biden commented on President Donald Trump’s executive order establishing the 1776 Commission to promote “patriotic education.” President Trump said children must be taught that America is “an exceptional, free and just nation, worth defending, preserving and protecting.”
The commission was a response to The New York Times’ “1619 Project,” which was used to “reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black America at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.”
Biden continued, “So I think it’s important we teach history, not in a prescriptive way, from my perspective, but what actually the facts were without also acknowledging that there’s 400 years of racism in the United States of America. That’s what it is. And it’s able to be fixed. And I think most people are starting to step up to it.”