Joe Biden has a message for America.
The former vice president is speaking out about hate in the wake of a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this month. In an op-ed in The Atlantic on Sunday, Biden confronts racism, white supremacy and even President Donald Trump.
Trump was widely denounced for saying “very fine people” were among those attending the white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally. Biden wrote to criticize Trump’s response to the events in Charlottesville, saying America has a president who has emboldened white supremacists and presented a “special challenge” for its citizens today.
This is a moment for this nation to declare what the president can’t with any clarity, consistency, or conviction: There is no place for these hate groups in America. Hatred of blacks, Jews, immigrants—all who are seen as “the other”—won’t be accepted or tolerated or given safe harbor anywhere in this nation.
“You, me, and the citizens of this country carry a special burden in 2017,” Biden wrote. “We have to do what our president has not. We have to uphold America’s values. We have to do what he will not.”
The Charlottesville violence has put a spotlight on the rise of white supremacists and neo-Nazis in the United States. Since the Aug. 12 rally that turned deadly, counter-protests have emerged around the country, denouncing hate speech and racism.
Much of this pushback is a result of the “giant forward steps” the country has made in terms of civil rights, Biden wrote, and the burden is on American citizens to speak out against hate.
“If it wasn’t clear before, it’s clear now: We are living through a battle for the soul of this nation,” Biden writes.