Buffalo Shooting: President Joe Biden visits Buffalo and urges Americans to reject white supremacy

BUFFALO, New York — President Joe Biden mourned Tuesday with Buffalo’s grieving families and then exhorted the nation to reject what he angrily called the poison of white supremacy. He said the nation must reject “the lie” of the racist “surrogate theory” espoused by the shooter who killed 10 black people in Buffalo.

Speaking to victims’ families, local officials and first responders, Biden explained that America’s diversity is its strength and warned that the nation must not be distorted by a “hateful minority.” He promised to “unmask” those who spread hateful ideologies.

“The American experiment in democracy is in more danger than it was in my lifetime,” Biden said. “It is in peril at this hour. Hate and fear are being over-oxygenated by those who profess to love America but do not understand America.”

He promised: “In America, evil will not win, I promise you. Hate will not prevail, white supremacy will not have the last word.”

Back at the White House Tuesday night, Biden blamed the Buffalo incident and others not only on “maniacs” who commit hate crimes but also on those who “fill their brains with wrong ideas.”

As long as he’s president, he said, “I’m going to fight like hell and we’re going to expose everyone.”

Biden’s emotional remarks came after he and First Lady Jill Biden paid their respects at a makeshift memorial made of flowers, candles and messages of condolences outside Tops supermarket, where on Saturday a young man armed with an assault rifle was killed in the deadliest racist Attack on blacks has been targeted in the US since Biden took office.

“Jill and I have come to stand by you and to the families, we have come to grieve with you,” Biden said.

He added, “Now is the time for people of all races and backgrounds to speak up as a majority … and reject white supremacy.”

Replacement theory is a racist ideology that has spilled over into the mainstream from white nationalist circles, claiming that whites and their influence are being deliberately “replaced” by people of color through immigration and higher birth rates.

In Buffalo, the President once again faced the forces of hate that he frequently says called him back to the White House.

Buffalo shooting victims include regular shoppers and retired police officers who saved lives during the attack

“It’s important to him to come out and offer his condolences to the families and community,” said NAACP President Derrick Johnson. “But we’re more concerned with preventing that from happening in the future.”

It’s unclear how Biden can do that. Proposals for new gun restrictions have been repeatedly blocked by Republicans, and racist rhetoric on the fringes of national politics has grown louder.

Asked about gun legislation, Biden said at the airport, “It’s going to be very difficult. … I will not give up trying.”

Wayne Jones, whose mother Celestine Chaney was killed in the attack, said he appreciated Biden taking the time to meet with families but was not optimistic anything would be accomplished in Washington without the partisan partition to end.

Money is also a big issue, he said. “There’s a lot of money to be made from gun purchases – who needs an AR-15 anyway?”

Biden’s condemnation of white supremacy is a message he has conveyed several times since becoming the first president to specifically address it in an inaugural address. But such beliefs remain an entrenched threat at a time when his government has focused on fighting the pandemic, inflation and war in Ukraine.

In his speech on Tuesday, Biden paid tribute to each of the 10 people who lost their lives, describing them as beacons of their community and with great commitment to family.

Three other people were injured. Almost all of the victims were black, including all of the dead.

The shooter’s writings mirror those of the white supremacists who marched with torches in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, a scene Biden said inspired his decision to run against President Donald Trump in 2020 and propelled him to commit himself to join what he calls the “struggle for the soul of America.”

In Buffalo, 18-year-old Payton Gendron was arrested at the grocery store and charged with murder. He has pleaded not guilty. His attorneys declined to comment Tuesday.

Before the shooting, Gendron is said to have posted a screed online that was brimming with racism and anti-Semitism. The document’s author described himself as a supporter of Dylann Roof, who killed nine black parishioners at a church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015, and Brenton Tarrant, who targeted mosques in New Zealand in 2019.

Investigators are investigating Gendron’s connection to the so-called “Great Replacement” theory.

“I condemn those who spread the lie for power, political gain and profit,” Biden said, stopping to name those he believes are responsible for perpetuating the lie.

The compensation demands are often intertwined with anti-Semitism, with Jews being identified as the culprit. During the 2017 Unite the Right march in Charlottesville, white supremacists chanted “Jews will not replace us.”

In the years since Charlottesville, replacement theory has moved from the edge of the internet to mainstream right-wing politics. A third of US adults believe there is “a group of people in this country who are trying to replace Native Americans with immigrants who are consistent with their political views,” according to a December survey by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public affairs research survey.

Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson is a prominent television personality who has accused the Democrats of orchestrating mass migration to consolidate their power.

“The country is being stolen from American citizens,” he said in August last year. He reiterated this theme a month later, saying that “this policy is called the great replacement, the replacement of the old Americans by more obedient people from far-off lands”.

Carlson’s show routinely gets the highest ratings on cable news, and he responded to Monday night’s excitement by accusing the Liberals of silencing their opponents.

“So because a mentally ill teenager has murdered strangers, you can’t express your political beliefs out loud,” he said.

His comment reflects how this conspiratorial view of immigration has spread throughout the Republican Party ahead of this year’s midterm elections that will determine control of Congress.

Facebook ads released last year by Rep. Elise Stefanik, RN.Y.’s campaign committee, said Democrats want a “PERMANENT ELECTION riot” by granting amnesty to illegal immigrants. The plan would “overthrow our current electorate and establish a lasting liberal majority in Washington.”

Alex DeGrasse, a senior adviser to Stefanik’s campaign, said Monday she “never took a racist position or made a racist statement.” He criticized “nauseating and false reporting” about their ads.

Stefanik is the third-ranking leader of the Republican faction in the House of Representatives, replacing Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., who angered the party with her denunciations of Trump after the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

Cheney said in a tweet Monday that the leadership of the caucus “enabled white nationalism, white supremacy and anti-Semitism. History has taught us that what begins with words ends far worse.”

Retired cop who confronted shooter in Buffalo shooting hailed as hero: ‘He went down fighting’

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

https://abc13.com/buffalo-shooting-payton-gendron-president-biden-tops-supermarket/11863992/ Buffalo Shooting: President Joe Biden visits Buffalo and urges Americans to reject white supremacy

Dais Johnston

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