Donald Trump, known to himself as “the least racist person” in the world, says his Democratic opponent Joe Biden has a “racism problem”.
On Tuesday night, Trump posted an attack advert aimed at undermining the presidential candidate’s support among Black Americans.
The US president had, hours earlier, called Kamala Harris “nasty” after Biden nominated her to become the first Black and South Asian woman to appear on an American mainstream party’s presidential ticket.
Many on Twitter have rushed to point out the obvious hypocrisy, noting Trump’s record of racist policies and incitement of racial hatred.
During his presidency, Trump has pandered to white supremacists after they held a violent rally in Charlottesville, and calls the coronavirus the “Chinese virus” and “kung flu”. On the campaign trail, Trump repeatedly made explicitly racist remarks, calling Mexican immigrants criminals and rapists and proposing a ban on all Muslims entering the US.
Trump has a long history of this kind: the very first time Trump appeared in the pages of the New York Times, back in the 1970s, was when the US Department of Justice sued him for racial discrimination.
Tuesday's video, which has so far received more than 4 million views, received a politically binary reaction of supporters praising Trump for standing up to Biden, and others pointed out the blatant irony of the post.
The video picks out moments where Biden has made less-than-acceptable statements on race. The audio clips date back to 1973, and right up to his remarks last week about ideological diversity in the Black community (which he later apologised for).
It is a collection of quotes from when Biden has spoken clumsily and offensively about race, like when he said in an interview last May, “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”
Another clip was a snippet from a speech in Iowa in which Biden said, “Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.”
While Biden does have a somewhat fraught history on his past politics surrounding race, it seems this ad is a sign of panic from a candidate whose political career was built around stocking racial division and fear.