Written by Chris Megerian
BUFFALA (AP) – President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden paid tribute on Tuesday at an impromptu memorial to 10 people killed in an attack on white supremacy in Buffalo, again resisting hate forces who he said called him back look for white house.
Near Air Force One, the first couple laid a bouquet of white flowers at a memorial of flowers, candles and condolences near the Tops supermarket, where on Saturday a young man armed with a machine gun targeted black people in the deadliest racist attack in the United States since Biden took office.
Biden met privately with the families of the victims, first service officers and local officials before the president was to make public remarks in which he planned to call for tougher gun laws and urge Americans to renounce racism and embrace the diversity of the nation. The White House said.
This is a message that Biden has voiced several times since he became the first president to specifically address white supremacy in his inaugural address, calling it “internal terrorism that we must confront.” However, such beliefs remain an entrenched threat at a time when his administration has focused on fighting the pandemic, inflation and war in Ukraine.
The White House said the president and first lady would “miss the community that lost 10 lives in a senseless and horrific mass shooting.” Three more people were injured. Almost all the victims were black, including all the dead.
On Monday, Biden paid a special tribute to one of the victims, retired police officer Aaron Salter, who worked as a security guard at the store. He said Salter “gave his life trying to save others” by opening fire on an armed man, but he himself was killed.
Upon arrival in Buffalo, the president and two New York senators were greeted by Governor Katie Hochul, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and local police and firefighters.
The hated writings of the shooter echo the writings of white supremacists who marched with torches in 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia, a scene that Biden said inspired his decision to speak out against President Donald Trump in 2020 and led him to join. what he calls the “battle for the soul of America”.
“It’s important for him to appear before families and society and express his condolences,” said Derrick Johnson, NAACP president. “But we are more concerned that this will not happen in the future.”
It is unclear how Biden will try to do this. Proposals for new gun restrictions are usually blocked by Republicans, and racist rhetoric spreading on the fringes of national politics is only intensifying.
18-year-old Peyton Hendron was arrested at a supermarket and charged with murder. He pleaded not guilty.
Hendron reportedly posted a banner full of racism and anti-Semitism on the Internet before the shooting. The author called himself a supporter of Dylan Rufus, who killed nine black parishioners at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015, and Brenton Taranto, who attacked a mosque in New Zealand in 2019.
Investigators are considering Hendron’s connection to the so-called “big replacement” theory, which unreasonably claims that white people are deliberately fascinated by other races through immigration or birth rates.
The claims are often intertwined with anti-Semitism, with Jews identified as the culprits. During the Unite the Right march in 2017 in Charlottesville, supporters of white supremacy chanted “Jews will not replace us.”
“Many of these dark voices still exist today,” White House spokeswoman Caryn Jean-Pierre said Monday. “And the president is set up like then. . . to make sure we fight back against these forces of hatred, evil and violence. ”
In the years since Charlottesville, substitution theory has shifted from the Internet country to basic right-wing politics. One-third of U.S. adults believe that there is “a group of people in this country trying to replace Native Americans with immigrants who agree with their political views,” according to a December poll by the Associated Press and NORC. for public relations research.
Tucker Carlson, a well-known Fox News presenter, accuses Democrats of organizing mass migration in order to consolidate their power.
“The country is being stolen from American citizens,” he said on August 23, 2021. He echoed the same topic a month later, saying “this policy is called a great replacement, a replacement for the legacy of Americans by more obedient people from far-flung countries.”
Carlson’s show usually gets the highest ratings in cable news, and he responded to a furor Monday night by accusing liberals of trying to silence their opponents.
“Therefore, because a mentally ill teenager killed strangers, you cannot be allowed to express your political convictions out loud,” he said.
His commentary reflects how this conspiratorial view of immigration spread through the Republican Party ahead of this year’s midterm elections, which will determine control of Congress.
An ad on Facebook posted last year by MP Eliza Stefanik’s election committee, RN.Y., said Democrats wanted a “permanent MEMORIAL OF THE ELECTION” through an amnesty for illegal immigrants. This plan should “overthrow our current electorate and create a permanent liberal majority in Washington.”
Alex Degras, a senior adviser to Stefanica’s company, said Monday that she had “never advocated a racist position or made racist statements.” He criticized the “nasty and false messages” about her advertising.
Stefanic is the third-ranked leader of the Republican House of Representatives, replacing MP Liz Cheney, R-Vayo, who angered the party with her denunciations of Trump after the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
Cheney tweeted Monday that the Caucasus leadership “allowed white nationalism, white supremacy and anti-Semitism. History has taught us that what begins with words ends much worse. ”
The rhetoric of replacement theory has also swept through primary Republican campaigns.
“Democrats want to open borders so they can introduce and amnesty tens of millions of illegal aliens – that’s their election strategy,” Blake Masters, who is running in the Senate Republican primaries in Arizona a few hours after the Buffalo shooting, wrote on Twitter. “Not on my watch.”
A Masters spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
Although Biden did not speak directly about the theory of substitution, his warnings about racism remain an integral part of his public speeches.
Three days before the Buffalo shooting at a Democratic rally in Chicago, Biden said, “I really think we’re still fighting for the soul of America.”
Associated Press writer Karen Matthews of New York contributed to this report.