(AP) Joe Biden acknowledged Wednesday that questions raised about his support for the 1994 crime bill are “legitimate.”
But the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee insisted that people should judge him based on his current actions, not his past.
Speaking during a virtual NAACP forum, Biden responded to questions that the moderator said were from young voters concerned about his role in writing the bill when he was a senator from Delaware.
Critics say the tough-on-crime bill contributed to the mass incarceration of racial minorities in recent decades.
Biden, growing testy, acknowledged that “it’s a legitimate concern, they should be skeptical.”
But he also said that while he’s been “told all along” that young people oppose his past stances on criminal justice issues, “there is no polling evidence to sustain that. Nor is there voting evidence thus far to sustain that.”
“Watch what I do. Judge me based on what I do, what I say and to whom I say it,” he said.
Biden also addressed calls to defund police departments, often made in protest following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“The question is, in order to get those funds, it seems to me they should have to meet certain basic minimums,” Biden said, before naming standards police departments should meet, such as eliminating choke holds, before receiving federal funding.
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In This Story: George Floyd
George Floyd was an African-American man who died on 25th May 2020 in Powderhorn, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, following police arrest. Video recording by a witness, showing Floyd repeating “Please”, “I can’t breathe”, and “Don’t kill me”, was widely circulated on social media platforms and broadcast by media. The incident led to widespread protests across the United States.
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In This Story: Joe Biden
Joe Biden is an American politician serving as the 46th and current president of the United States. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as the 47th vice president from 2009 to 2017 under Barack Obama and represented Delaware in the United States Senate from 1973 to 2009.
He is married to Dr Jill Biden.