Joe Biden says 10 to 15% of Americans 'are just not very good people'
- US Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden told a Thursday online town hall that 10 to 15% of Americans are "just not very good people."
- Critics said his remarks echoed Hillary Clinton's "basket of deplorables" comment in 2016, when she was running for presidents.
- But Biden defenders pointed to the full context of the remarks and his optimism that America would overcome current divisions.
- "Do we really think that this is as good as we can be as a nation? I don't think the vast majority of people think that. There are probably anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of the people out there that are just not very good people. But that's not who we are. The vast majority of people are decent," he had said.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
In an interview on the widespread anti-racism protests sweeping America, Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden said that despite 10 to 15% of Americans being "not very good people," the country would overcome its divisions.
Biden made the remark in an online town hall event Thursday night, moderated by actor Don Cheadle, in which he spoke of the need to unite the country. Ryan Wilson, CEO of The Gathering Spot, a cultural private-membership group, was also present in the discussion.
"Do we really think that this is as good as we can be as a nation? I don't think the vast majority of people think that. There are probably anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of the people out there that are just not very good people," Biden said.
"But that's not who we are. The vast majority of people are decent. We have to appeal to that and we have to unite people."
Some critics pointed out that those remarks echoed 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's "basket of deplorables" comment four years ago.
Clinton made those remarks during the 2016 presidential campaign, in which she referred to some of her rival Donald Trump's supporters - white nationalists and members of the alt-right - as a "basket of deplorables." (She walked back her statement hours later.)
The remarks were spun by critics as an elitist attack on grassroots conservatives, and are believed to have damaged her campaign.
Others have praised Biden for seeking to address racism in the US, and how it can be tackled, in the hour-long conversation.
He also accused President Donald Trump of seeking to divide US society.
"Look, if elected, my view is that you will have address these issues straight on. And the words the president says matter. So when a president stands up and divides people all the time, you're going to get the worst of us to come, the worst in us to come out," Biden remarked.
Former military leaders, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, have also excoriated Trump over his response to the protests.
Receive a daily update on your cellphone with all our latest news: click here.
Get the best of our site emailed to you daily: click here.
Also from Business Insider South Africa:
- Mango flights on sale – and you get one free date change, which you can use if you feel sick
- SAA is selling tickets – but there’s ‘no certainty’ it will fly
- Joburg's strip club on wheels gets the show on the road during lockdown
- Ships waiting to offload cargo, as Cape Town harbour staff hit by Covid-19
- Ordering booze online? Here are some of the cheapest options