Donald Trump’s campaign remarks about Mexican immigrants represent a play to the worst parts of society, Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday.
Speaking at a reception marking Hispanic Heritage Month, Biden laid into the businessman turned GOP front-runner – naming him twice – as reverting to “xenophobia” in a play for votes.
“There’s one guy absolutely denigrating an entire group of people, appealing to the baser side of human nature, working on this notion of xenophobia in a way that hasn’t occurred in a long time,” Biden said at the backyard reception, held around the swimming pool at his Washington residence.
Later in his speech, Biden named Trump as the purveyor of a “sick message” about immigrants coming to the United States. He said that political tack wouldn’t ultimately resonate with most of the country.
“Folks, the American people are with us. I know it doesn’t feel that way, but I’m telling you, I’m telling you the American people agree with us,” he said.
Trump has drawn criticism for his hardline stance on immigration, and for claiming that some Mexicans coming to the United States are killers and rapists.
His message has caused anger among American Latinos, and consternation among the Republican establishment, which has been working to increase its standing among minority voters.
Biden on Tuesday suggested that instead of Trump, more Americans were drawn to the message of Pope Francis, who will visit Washington next week.
“This will pass: Trump, and that stuff that you’re hearing on the other team,” he said.
Biden is currently weighing a run for president, saying last week he’s unsure if he’s ready emotionally following the death of his son Beau this spring.
At the conclusion of his fiery remarks, the small crowd chanted “Run, Joe, Run” – to which the vice president said only, “No, no, no, no.”
Making the sign of the cross and saying “bless me Father,” he offered only a “thank you” before walking away from the podium.