Biden: U.S. faced with “toxic disunity”

Biden: U.S. faced with "toxic disunity"

At a White House summit on combating hate violence and overcoming divisions in the United States, President Joe Biden condemned supporters of white supremacy and urged the country to overcome a “toxic” political divide.

The “Us Together” summit brought together local leaders, human rights organizations, experts and community groups.

The White House said the summit focused on communities facing hate-motivated violence.

Such violence includes a series of mass shootings in places associated with certain groups, such as a Sikh temple in Wisconsin (2012), a gay nightclub in Florida (2016) and Asian spas in Georgia (2021). This could also include the shooting of Mexicans in a Texas supermarket in 2019 and the shooting of blacks in a New York City supermarket in May of this year.

Opening the summit, Vice President Kamala Harris said the country was facing an “epidemic” of hate violence.

“We have seen our neighbors, our friends, our loved ones attacked simply for who they are or where they pray,” she said.

In his remarks, Biden spoke about a white extremist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, which he said prompted him to run for president.

“Supporters of white supremacy will not have the last word, and this venom and violence cannot be the story of our time,” he said, urging the country to choose “hope, unity and optimism” over “fear, division and hatred.”

A recent Economist and YouGov poll found that 66 percent of Americans believe the country’s political divisions have increased since the beginning of 2021, and 62 percent expect them to intensify further in the coming years.

Biden acknowledged that the country faces a “toxic disunity.”

“Hate-fueled violence is born in the fertile soil of toxic disunity,” he said. – We will not solve this problem if we only deal with its extreme manifestations. We must block the ways in which our toxic divisions fuel this crisis for all of us. Our differences must not turn a fellow American into a sworn enemy.”

The president’s critics claim that Biden himself is fanning the flames of division by stepping up attacks on former President Donald Trump’s staunch supporters, the so-called MAGA Republicans, whom he accused of “semi-fascism.” MAGA is an acronym for Trump’s famous slogan Make America Great Again, which he used in the 2016 campaign.

“If he wants to find the main cause of disunity in America today, he should look in the mirror,” Republican Sen. Tom Cotton wrote on Twitter.