DETROIT – Former Vice President Joe Biden on Monday blamed President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential rival Sen. Bernie Sanders for the protesters at his speech in Detroit Monday night.
First, protesters called out Biden for a 1984 interview in which he referred to the Rev. Jesse Jackson as “that boy.” Then several men held up signs that criticized Biden’s vote in favor of the North American Free Trade Agreement,
Biden told the crowd “the Bernie bros are here.”
Just minutes after, protesters holding signs that read “Green New Deal Now” and “Green Jobs for All” started chanting, “Hey hey, ho ho, Joe Biden has got to go.”
After five minutes of chanting, the protesters were drowned out by the crowd’s “let’s go Joe” chants.
“This is one of the things that Donald Trump is generating,” Biden said as the protesters were escorted out. “This is not who we are as a party or as a people. We’ve got a lot of crazy folks around.”
He did not address NAFTA but did say that climate change is the “existential threat of our time” and vowed to rejoin the Paris Agreement on climate change if elected president. He said America accounts for 15% of the world’s climate problem and other countries also need to reduce their carbon emissions.
Biden continued to speak of unity in his speech to supporters at Detroit’s Renaissance High School the night before Michigan’s primary. He said his campaign is one for people who feel they have been knocked down.
“When (Donald Trump) is gone we’ll get back on that road of building a more perfect union,” Biden said.
The candidate also showed his support for Detroit and Michigan by telling the audience he has a long history of delivering on promises to support the automotive industry and to protect the Great Lakes.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, who endorsed Biden at the start of his presidential campaign, told the crowd he has never wavered his support of Biden because Biden never wavered in his support for Detroit.
When General Motors and Chrysler were on the verge of bankruptcy in 2009, Biden, who was vice president at the time, went to Detroit to help save the auto industry, Duggan said. in 2013 when the city filed for bankruptcy, Duggan said, Biden visited his office every few months to help the city get federal aid for housing and businesses.
“When the rest of the country had written us off, he was there,” Duggan said.
Duggan was joined by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as well as former presidential candidates Sen. Cory Booker and Sen. Kamala Harris to show their support for Biden.
Ruth Johnson also said her support for Biden has not wavered. Johnson’s husband works for GM and she said she appreciates what Biden has done for the auto industry and the ways he has helped Michigan before.
“He’s going to do what he says he’s going to do, and I trust and believe in that,” Johnson said.