Politics

Biden Didn’t Always Believe In Diversity. He Once Called It ‘Poppycock’

REUTERS

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief

Former Vice President Joe Biden has frequently suggested on the campaign trail that he is a strong advocate of ethnic diversity — but he didn’t always promote that political line.

Biden called diversity “a bunch of poppycock” that was politically divisive in a 1976 speech obtained by the Washington Examiner.

On July 14, Biden chastised President Donald Trump for what he deemed “hateful rhetoric” as he insisted, “America’s strength is and has always been rooted in our diversity.”

When introducing a White House summit on terrorism in 2015, Biden again spoke  of American’s diversity, “We are a nation of immigrants, and our strength is that we are a melting pot.” (RELATED: Joe Biden’s History On Race Looms As He Weighs Presidential Bid)

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - JULY 31: Democratic presidential candidates former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) greet each other at the Democratic Presidential Debate at the Fox Theatre July 31, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. 20 Democratic presidential candidates were split into two groups of 10 to take part in the debate sponsored by CNN held over two nights at Detroit’s Fox Theatre. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Democratic presidential candidates former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) greet each other at the Democratic Presidential Debate at the Fox Theatre July 31, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Biden has pivoted on a range of issues as a presidential candidate, from supporting to opposing the Hyde Amendment that blocks federal funding for most abortions to reversing himself on hardline criminal justice and supporting the death penalty. The long-time politician has also moved substantially on race and diversity.

Speaking to an annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Boise, Idaho, in 1976, Biden dismissed America’s “melting pot” as “poppycock.” (RELATED: Biden Blasts Trump For Enabling White Supremacy)

I told you [in a previous speech] about my view that the uniqueness of America didn’t lie in the fact that we’re a great melting pot. We hear that all the time, about it being black and white, rich and poor, Christian and Jew — therefore we’re strong. I told you then, I thought that was a bunch of poppycock.

The fact we are black and white doesn’t bring us together as a nation. The fact that we’re Christian and Jew doesn’t send us running into one another’s embrace to herald our differences. The fact is that people fear differences. The fact that the reason this nation is able to be the most heterogeneous nation in the history of mankind is not because it’s a melting pot. It’s because unlike any other nation in the world, we are uniquely a product of our political institutions.

Democratic U.S. Presidential candidate Joe Biden addresses the audience during the Presidential candidate forum at the annual convention of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Detroit, Michigan, U.S. July 24, 2019. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

Democratic U.S. Presidential candidate Joe Biden addresses the audience during the Presidential candidate forum at the annual convention of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Detroit, Michigan, U.S. July 24, 2019. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

“If France tomorrow, for example, were to turn in a monarchy, I told you, I did not believe that France would substantively change. Because in France there’s an ethnicity that binds them together, a cultural tie. You don’t have that in America,” Biden said.

Biden’s previous opinions on race relations have surfaced throughout his presidential campaign, sometimes on his own initiative. He has joked about possessing the personality and negotiating skills to deal with southern segregationist lawmakers that he says demonstrated “civility” in politics. Biden himself has also called segregation a source of “black pride” while saying school busing was “harmful” to the civil rights movement.