Former Vice President Joe Biden pledged during a Monday meeting with African American leaders in Delaware that if he is elected president he will address “institutional racism” that has set back black communities.
He also urged black voters to come out to vote to take not only the White House but the Senate where Republicans now hold a 53-seat majority.
“It’s not enough to win back the presidency. We have to win back the Senate,” Biden said, before referencing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
“We have to change the leadership in the Senate. Mitch McConnell cannot remain as the majority leader,” he said.
Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said he would be making a number of national speeches soon about the future and the direction of the country.
“I need help and advice as we go on as to what I should and shouldn’t be doing,” Biden said.
Biden also addressed his search for a running mate, saying he was considering a number of African American women.
“I promise you there are multiple African American candidates being considered, as well as Latino, as well as white, Caucasian,” he said.
The event marked the second day in a row Biden left his home in Wilmington amid the coronavirus pandemic. Biden visited a protest site on Sunday, where he was photographed kneeling with a demonstrator.
Biden first spent time listening to community leaders at Bethel AME Church in Wilmington before addressing leaders and attendees.
“The vice president came to hear from us. This is a homeboy,” Pastor Sylvester Beaman said at the start of the gathering.
Fifteen religious, political and educational leaders were present at the event, including Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) and Delaware state Sen. Darius Brown (D).
Biden spoke a day after the latest nationwide protests sparked by the police killing of African American George Floyd. In a pattern that has repeated over the last few days around the country, peaceful protests in Washington, D.C., were marred by moments of violence on Sunday night, with protesters throwing bottles at police officers and fires lit near the White House.
Biden said in a statement over the weekend that demonstrations were an appropriate response to police brutality but cautioned against violence and the destruction of property.
“Protesting such brutality is right and necessary. It’s an utterly American response,” Biden said. “But burning down communities and needless destruction is not. Violence that endangers lives is not. Violence that guts and shutters businesses that serve the community is not.”
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