President Biden said Thursday that the U.S. has not been so divided since the days of the Civil War and suggested that Donald Trump was to blame.
“The third reason I was running [for president] was to unify the country. Well, folks, it’s never been as divided as it is today, never been as divided as it is today since the Civil War,” Biden said in remarks in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he was pushing residents to get vaccinated. “And folks, it’s such a waste of talent. It’s such a waste of time. And the rest of the world is looking at us. The rest of the world is wondering, can we really lead the world again?
He then invoked the presidency of the predecessor.
“The last four years have been devastating to our leadership around the world,” Biden said.
Biden urged young people, in particular, to get vaccinated, warning of the fast-spreading Delta variant of the conronavirus. “I call for June to be the month of action to get folks vaccinated so we can all enjoy the Fourth of July with our independence from the virus.”
The White House had set a goal of having 70% of Americans with at least one COVID shot by Independence Day but has acknowledged it will fall short of this goal.
The president also said the reason it had been harder to convince African Americans to get vaccinated initially is that “They’re used to being experimented on.”
“It’s awful hard as well to get Latinx vaccinated,” Biden continued. “Why? They’re worried that they’ll be vaccinated and deported.”
Biden said the Delta variant, now the most common form of COVID in the U.S., is “more easily transmissible” and “potentially deadlier and especially dangerous to young people.”
Only 55% of adults in North Carolina have received at least one COVID shot, where 66% nationwide are at least partially vaccinated.