USA Today, October 2020
During last week’s presidential debate, both Donald Trump and Joe Biden frequently shifted from answering direct questions posed by moderator Kristen Welker to criticizing their opponent. Although a common tactic in political confrontations, Trump’s race to pivot on the matter of race not only revealed his own lack of empathy for Black Americans, but rehashed an overused allegation that Biden is to blame for mass incarceration, particularly of Black people.
Welker: “I would like you to speak directly to these (Black) families. Do you understand why these parents fear for their children?”
Trump: “Yes, I do. And again, he’s (Biden) been in government 47 years. He never did a thing, except in 1994, when he did such harm to the Black community. And they were called … and he called them super predators. And he said that, he said it, super predators. And they can never live that down. 1994, your crime bill, the super predators.”
Biden’s role with the 1994 crime bill
It is true that Biden has been in public service for nearly five decades, as the U.S. senator from Delaware from 1973 until 2009 followed by eight years as vice president. At no time, however, did he have ultimate authority to block legislation or sign executive orders like Trump has done as occupant of the Oval Office.