Speaking to an audience at an annual Hispanic Heritage Month celebration Tuesday night, Vice President Biden suggested that GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s views on immigrants lie on the margins of American society.
“I don’t want anybody to be down right now about what’s going on in the Republican Party,” Biden told the crowd at the Naval Observatory. “Folks, the American people are with us. I know it doesn’t feel that way. But I’m telling you. I’m telling you. The American people agree with us.”
Although President Obama and other top White House officials have generally shied away from commenting on the 2016 presidential race, they have weighed in from time to time on the rhetoric dominating the race — especially when Trump is involved.
“I want you to remember, notwithstanding the fact that one guy absolutely denigrated an entire group of people, appealing to the baser side of human nature, working on this notion of xenophobia in a way that hasn’t occurred in a long time,” Biden said, a day before GOP presidential candidates will take the stage for their second primary debate, noting that this hasn't happened “since the Know-Nothing Party at the end of the 19th century.”
“The American people are decent. They’re basically, basically decent,” he added.
Referring to Chinese President Xi Jinping, who will be arriving in Washington for a state visit next week, Biden said Xi once asked him to define the United States in a single word. The vice president offered this one: “possibilities.”
“What America’s all about is possibilities. And whenever you give anyone in this country, regardless of where they come from, they struggled to get here or [were] born here, they are for looking for a simple proposition: What are my possibilities? If I work I can do anything. Anything at all,” Biden said.
“Given a chance, given a chance, there is not a single person fighting to get here, particularly Latinos and Hispanics, who aren’t capable of taking advantage of the possibilities here.”
And in case it wasn’t clear that he was taking on the New York real estate magnate, Biden hammered home the point.
“I walked out of the house just as Trump was talking on the television,” he said. ‘Folks, this will not prevail. This will not prevail. And in the meantime, let’s not take our eye off the ball. Let’s not take our eye off the ball. Continue to fight.”