Biden Digresses, Talks About 'Tough Neighborhoods'; 'Only White Guy,' 'Basketball,' 'Liquor Store'

Susan Jones | August 31, 2022 | 5:30am EDT
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President Joe Biden discusses his crime-fighting plan in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on August 30, 2022. (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
President Joe Biden discusses his crime-fighting plan in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on August 30, 2022. (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - President Biden on Tuesday called for the hiring of more police officers as part of his "Safer America Plan."

"And as we hire more police officers, there should be more training, more help, and more accountability. Without public trust, law enforcement can’t do its job serving and protecting all the communities," Biden said in his speech in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

Then the president went off-script, describing "tough" neighborhoods, "where the best basketball in the state is." Making his point clear, Biden added that "I was the only white guy that worked as a lifeguard down in that area," and he even mentioned “gangs” and the “liquor store.”

Here's what Biden said, as he made the point that "tough, poor communities" want police protection "more than any other community."

"If I can just interject for a moment — my deceased son, Beau, he was the Attorney General of the State of Delaware. And what he used to do is go down, in the east side, the — called the 'Bucket' — highest crime rate in the country. It’s a place where I used to — I was the only white guy that worked as a lifeguard down in that area, on the east side.

"And you know where the — you could always tell where the best basketball in the state is or the best basketball in the city is: It’s where everybody shows up.

"And he’d go down and hang out and sit on a bench with my — my grandson, who’s now 17 years old.  And the police used to be in the car — the local city police.  And he’d walk up and bang on the window and say, 'Get out of the car, damn it, and meet these people. Let them see you. Let them know you. Let them know who you are.'

"Well, the truth was — remember what happened to community policing? We went from having enough cops on the street, to cities doing well, and then deciding they don’t need more police officers, so they reduced the police forces. So you didn’t have two cops in every vehicle; you had one cop in every vehicle. And I don’t blame one cop for not getting out in some certain neighborhoods — not getting out of the car.

"And what happens is — it used to be — I can remember that when my son was the Attorney General, he’d go around in the tougher neighborhoods and he would ensure that every single cop gave his cellphone number to the local liquor store owner, the local church, the local grocery store, the local hamburger joint, so if there was a problem, they’d pick up the phone and call.  Because what do people not want to do in tough neighborhoods? They don’t want to be the one identified as turning so-and-so in.

"I remember going on the east side in Wilmington, in one of those old Victorian two — three-story apartment buildings, and going up to see a woman whose name — she’s passed away, but I won’t mention her name now — and standing in that rotunda that — that part that stuck out around the building.

"And she said, 'Joey, I know — I know what’s going on. They all plan it downstairs. I can hear them, but I’m afraid to tell anybody — afraid to tell anybody.' The gangs. 

"And so, I got her — so that — I got a phone number for the local cops. She’d call. They promised not to identify her, because they knew there’d be retribution. And the crime rate began to drop. For real. Not a joke.

"You got to know people.  You got to know, and you got to be able to trust the police.  And the police had to be able to trust the community.  But we slipped away from that.  And we have a hell of a lot fewer cops today than we did when I wrote that initial crime bill.  But now we got to get back to it..."

Since Biden became president, crime has moved to the forefront of Americans’ concerns, with brazen attacks and carjackings at all times of the day in the nation’s big cities, and thieves clearing out store shelves with impunity.

And while Biden advocated more policing as a way to reduce crime, he did not address the poverty and living conditions that give rise to crime.

In fact, Biden has frequently boasted that his American Rescue Plan “cut child poverty in half…Our plan would reduce poverty in the Black community by one third and reduce poverty in the Hispanic community by almost 40 percent."

Three years ago, then-President Donald Trump was slammed by his many critics for calling out the late Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) for ignoring his poor, inner-city district:

Trump called Cummings' district "a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore," Trump wrote, "maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place.

“Why is so much money sent to the Elijah Cummings district when it is considered the worst run and most dangerous anywhere in the United States. No human being would want to live there. Where is all this money going? How much is stolen? Investigate this corrupt mess immediately!"

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