Advertisement

Biden accuses Republicans of ‘being worse than 1960s racists’

Joe Biden believes the intransigence of Republicans compares unfavourably with segregationists
Joe Biden believes the intransigence of Republicans compares unfavourably with segregationists - Eric Thayer/Bloomberg

Joe Biden has accused Republicans in Congress of being “worse” than racist US senators of the 1960s because of their refusal to support more funding for Ukraine.

The US president has grown frustrated in recent weeks with Republicans in the House of Representatives blocking an additional $60 billion (£48 billion) aid package to help Ukraine fight Russia.

A senator before his time in the White House, Mr Biden, 81, believes the intransigence of those Republicans compares unfavourably with segregationists with whom he served in Congress.

Speaking at a fundraiser in San Francisco on Wednesday, the president said: “I’ve been a senator since ’72. I’ve served with real racists. I’ve served with Strom Thurmond. But guess what? These guys are worse. These guys do not believe in basic democratic principles.”

‘Republicans are party of chaos and division’

Mr Biden said Thurmond did “terrible things”, but “at least you could work with some of these guys”, adding: “Time and again Republicans show they are the party of chaos and division.”

Thurmond was a South Carolina senator who was known for his support of racial segregation and staunch opposition of the 1957 and 1964 Civil Rights Acts. He remained in the Senate until his death in 2003, age 100.

‘Democracy at stake if Trump wins’

Mr Biden has also claimed nine heads of state have privately told him “you’ve got to win” the 2024 presidential election, when his likely opponent will be Donald Trump. He said: “Not because I’m so special”, but because “democracy is at stake if the other guy wins. Nine heads of state have done that with me”.

The president is taking a three-day trip to California to raise funds for his re-election campaign. After Nancy Pelosi, the former House Speaker, introduced him at the San Francisco event with a quote from Aristotle about the middle class, Mr Biden joked about being so old he knew the Greek philosopher.

Mr Biden has faced criticism from political opponents over his fitness to serve a second term because of his age.