Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden has been accused by Donald Trump of using the term “Super Predator” in his 1993 speech that pushed for a crime bill.
In 1993, Biden warned of “predators on our streets,” predators he deemed “beyond the pale.” And because the legal system had no adequate solution to rehabilitate these types of offenders, Biden believed they should be cast away from the rest of society.
At this time Biden was the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and spearheaded the tough-on-crime initiative. He delivered his speech a day before the voting was to take place on the senate’s version of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act.
The issue now is that Biden’s 1993 objectives no longer aligns with the new bipartisan coalition of activists and lawmakers who seek to dismantle the mass incarcerations resulting from Biden’s senate days. In addition to his use of rhetoric that can be seen as spreading harmful stereotypes upon the Black community, Biden’s front-line role and favor for the 1993 Act could result in a lot of criticism from the new generation of Democrats who see it this way.
It’s not surprising to know that Trump is hanging Biden’s 1993 stance over his head, but per usual he’s exaggerating the truth. On Friday, Trump tweeted that in 1993, Biden called African Americans “super predators, and they’ve never forgotten it.” But NBC News and Factcheck.org discovered this was untrue. Biden did use the word “predator.” He didn’t say “super predator”– not sure what the big difference is though.
But to set the record straight, it was actually Hillary Clinton who used the term while advocating for the bill–which was eventually signed by her husband and president at the time, Bill Clinton, the following year, NBC News reports. Clinton has since told the Washington Post that “looking back, I shouldn’t have used those words, and I wouldn’t use them today.”
Included in the 1994 enactment was the “three-strike” rule, mandating life sentences for offenders who were charged and convicted of violent felonies after two or more offenses. This also included drug crimes, CNN reports.
“We have predators on our streets that society has in fact, in part because of its neglect, created,” Biden said. “They are beyond the pale many of those people, beyond the pale. And it’s a sad commentary on society. We have no choice but to take them out of society.” Apparently, the people Biden described that day were a “cadre of young people, tens of thousands of them, born out of wedlock, without parents, without supervision, without any structure, without any conscience developing because they literally…because they literally have not been socialized, they literally have not had an opportunity. We should focus on them now because if we don’t, they will, or a portion of them will become the predators 15 years from now.”
Well, here we are beyond those 15 years. Biden defended his move four years ago in an interview with CNBC, “By large, what it really did, it restored American cities.” But this past January he admitted that “I haven’t always been right. I know we haven’t always gotten things right, but I’ve always tried.”
This isn’t the time for a flip-flop, and although it doesn’t appear that a certain race was the topic of discussion in 1993, many of us are well aware that this law was largely targeting the Black communities.