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Biden lashes into Trump for fanning 'the flames of hate'

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Joe Biden on Tuesday excoriated President Donald Trump's stewardship of a nation convulsed in crisis over issues of race and police brutality, likening Mr Trump's language to that of Southern racists of the 1960s and accusing him of sullying the highest ideals of America.

[PHILADELPHIA] Joe Biden on Tuesday excoriated President Donald Trump's stewardship of a nation convulsed in crisis over issues of race and police brutality, likening Mr Trump's language to that of Southern racists of the 1960s and accusing him of sullying the highest ideals of America.

"Donald Trump has turned this country into a battlefield riven by old resentments and fresh fears," Mr Biden said, speaking against a backdrop of American flags at Philadelphia's City Hall. "Is this who we want to be? Is this what we want to pass on to our children and grandchildren? Fear, anger, finger pointing, rather than the pursuit of happiness? Incompetence and anxiety, self-absorption, selfishness?"

The country, Mr Biden said, is "crying out for leadership."

Mr Biden's remarks, which were by turns optimistic about America's potential and somber about the depth of the country's challenges, come as his team moves urgently to draw sharper contrasts between the presumptive Democratic nominee and Mr Trump on traits of character, empathy and steadiness.

In the past several days alone, Mr Trump has lectured governors, called protesters "terrorists," spent time in an underground bunker, sought to deploy the military and visited a church for photographs while protesters were dispersed with tear gas to clear his path.

In his remarks, which lasted around 20 minutes, Mr Biden both rebuked his opponent and addressed the broader problems gripping the nation, saying directly in a way that he did not always emphasize during the primary that defeating Mr Trump would not be enough to heal the nation's centuries-old divisions and hatreds.

"We're a nation in pain," MrBiden said. "We must not let our pain destroy us. We're a nation enraged, but we cannot let our rage consume us. We're a nation that's exhausted, but we will not allow our exhaustion defeat us. As president, it's my commitment to all of you is to lead on these issues and to listen, because I truly believe in my heart of hearts, we can overcome."

Traveling to Philadelphia from his home in Wilmington, Delaware, to address the civil unrest consuming the nation, Mr Biden called the presidency "a very big job" and said no one would get everything right, including him.

"But I promise you this," he added. "I won't fan the flames of hate. I will seek to heal the racial wounds that have long plagued our country, not use them for political gain."

NYTimes

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