Hours after Donald Trump long-windedly boasted of killing ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi—something that reportedly happened in spite of rather than because of him—Democratic Party presidential candidate Joe Biden praised the military and intelligence officials whose work led to the terrorist’s death.

Then, in a speech at Hillside High in South Durham, he criticized the “corrosive message” the current White House occupant used in a rambling fifty-minute announcement that preempted the Sunday morning news shows.

Biden said that, since the 2016 election, Trump has employed “bigotry and hatred” by using language that could lead the country “down a path of unimaginable darkness” while “demonizing the poor, immigrants, and the other.”

“The future of the American creed is on the line,” said Biden. He later called Trump “a danger for his generation—and generations and generations of Americans. This is not a campaign. It has to be a movement to repair America’s moral fabric.”

In the face of questions about his age, the seventy-six-year-old Biden presented supporters with a vigorous, battle-ready candidate capable of striking back at a White House that’s bound and determined to paint him and his son Hunter as corrupt

Trump, Biden predicted, will grow “more desperate and more erratic as the walls of accountability close in on him.”

Biden’s criticism of Trump took place among hundreds of supporters who gathered on Sunday afternoon at the storied Hillside High for a brief, raucous rally. The event was replete with a soundtrack of golden oldies that included Bill Withers’s “Lovely Day,” Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “Aint No Mountain High Enough,” and members of the Hillside drum corps, who played before and after Biden spoke.

For many in attendance, Ol’ Joe is The One—a genuinely decent human being who represents the last line in the defense of American democracy. Indeed, the rally didn’t end after Biden finished. He stepped off the stage and into the crowd, which greeted him with hugs, smiles, and kind words. More than a few crowded around Biden and asked the former veep to pose with them for selfies. 

For many progressives outside of the auditorium, however, Biden represents a bygone era of too-cautious, too-moderate politics. Polls show the former vice president struggling to keep the more liberal Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders at bay. 

Folks traveled from all over the state to attend the rally, along with Triangle residents including state senators Floyd McKissick and Dan Blue and U.S. Representative G.K. Butterfield, who introduced Biden.

Biden’s visit “sets the stage for the 2020 election,” Butterfield said. “The stakes couldn’t be higher,” and if Trump wins, “he will rip our country apart.”

Kendrick Cunningham, twenty-three drove from Mecklenburg County to hear the former vice president. Cunningham is twenty-three, and his presence kicks a bit of dirt on the conventional wisdom that Biden’s base of support comes from older African Americans.

“For me, Vice President Biden has connectivity,” Cunningham says. “He’s a relatable figure. He’s not a celebrity. He’s not a typical politician. He’s an ordinary guy.”

Biden’s ordinariness—he was a U.S. senator or vice president from 1972 to 2017—is debatable. But that experience is a plus for Candace Gorham, a thirty-eight-year-old mental health counselor from Durham.

 “I have been in love with Joe Biden since he was the vice president,” she says. Gorham thinks the next president should be “an insider.” 

“He already has relationships with so many international leaders,” Gorham says. “We need somebody who’s going to get in there right now and fix what’s been broken. I love Kamala Harris, but he’s way ahead of her.”

Cindy Proctor, sixty-six, traveled to the rally from Winterville. “I support him primarily because of his respect for our country, and he’s familiar with how Congress works,” Proctor says.

To get to take on Trump, Biden will first have to secure the Democratic nomination, and it’s possible North Carolina’s March 3 election could play a key role. The most recent polling in the state has Biden out to a healthy lead over Warren and Sanders. 

Before voicing his support for historically black colleges and universities, Biden noted that the rally was taking place “in the shadow of North Carolina Central University.” He also praised the city’s involvement in the civil rights movement, pointing to the nonviolent sit-in protest in 1957 at the old Royal Ice Cream parlor that sparked the more widely known sit-ins at the Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro in 1960.

“Durham was a shining example, especially in the South, during Jim Crow,” Biden said. “It stood as a symbol of justice and opportunity. Parrish Street was an oasis of thriving black businesses that was known as the Black Wall Street. Durham was a pioneer in the civil rights movement. Y’all began it here. The nation owes Durham.”

Contact staff writer Thomasi McDonald at tmcdonadl@indyweek.com. 

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2 replies on “In Durham, Biden Says Trump Is Taking America “Down a Path of Unimaginable Darkness””

  1. For all the rhetoric about ripping the US apart are any voters keeping an eye on 50 year record low for unemployment?
    Biden comes from the cloth of false hope and change where he disingenuously claims he doesn’t want Obama’s endorsement. Sure. And pigs fly. He avoids joining others with a plan for our country by resting and hiding behind the “moral fabric.” Last time I checked laziness and no job in sight were the enemies of hope and progress. He’s washed up and can’t focus on anything other than attacking others. That’s his moral fabric that he hopes double talk will go unnoticed.

  2. Ah, the globalist, socialist, progressive mind is a thing of wonder to me. These three ideologies are really all one and the same and it amazes me how people of this lot move and think as one; like religious zealots, their thoughts and beliefs never stray from what their high priests and priestesses dictate. Only a loyal scribe, an unquestioning servant to the democrat party’s dogma, could write such an article and fail to mention a few important facts about one of the party’s demigods. In their world, it’s OK to sell your office for billions of dollars to the Chinese. To a normal person, the hypocrisy of Democrats is astounding. But democrats don’t see it. I realize that is because the edits of the globalist/socialist/progressive democrat religion cannot be questions. It is akin to a Christian questioning if Jesus really dies on a cross. Of course he did, to even suggest otherwise is ludicrous. An evangelical Christian believes this and as long as they do, they will go to heaven, regardless of their sins. It’s those unbelievers who are damned to hell, even if they lived a clean and peaceful life. Lying, hypocrisy, misleading the gullible, it’s all a means to an end for the democrats, and this is power. It all boils down to power and control. The thing is, too many people have woken up and are walking away from the democrat cult, just as they are walking away from organized religion. Hence, Trump, or as democrats know him, the devil. Well, get used to him. He isn’t going anywhere, despite the democrat caliphate’s best attempts at overthrowing him. Times are changing. Soon, the entire corrupt, traitorous filth that infects every aspect our or society will be exposed. There is nothing the democrats can do to stop it. People praising Joe Biden now will either not be in the future, or will be a small, insignificant minority of whackos that no one will pay attention to. It will be interesting to see how the Indy spins what is coming.

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