(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Former Vice President Joe Biden spoke to about 750 people at the annual Human Rights Campaign Columbus Dinner in Ohio Saturday night where he went after the Trump administration for being a “disaster for human rights” on the first day of LGBT Pride Month.
Biden said the Trump administration damaged America’s standing on human rights globally.
The Democratic front-runner called out Trump for using the office as a “bully pulpit” and said he is “callously extending his power” by implementing discriminatory policies such as “the Muslim ban, turning away asylum seekers [and] putting children in cages.”
He then called out “the current vice president” for using religious freedom as “a way to license discrimination broad areas and denying LGBTQ basic rights.”
Biden went on to attack specific areas of the Trump administration for damage they’re doing to the LGBTQ community “in the past two weeks.”
He criticized the Department of Health and Human Services for imposing new regulations and taking away nondiscrimination provisions for transgender individuals. Biden also hit the Department of Housing and Urban Development for allowing homeless shelters to turn away transgender people.
Biden also cited a report claiming that the Trump administration has denied birthright citizenship to children of same-sex couples.
Biden told the room that there has been at least five black transgender women who have been violently killed in America so far this year and that “it has to stop.”
“It has to stop,” Biden said. “And the fastest way to end it is to end the Trump administration.”
The former vice president pointed to all of these examples as reasons to elect a Democratic Senate and pass the Equality Act. Biden pledged that if the Senate didn’t pass the Equality Act, it’d be the first thing he’d do in office.
He also said other countries look at the United States “to set an example on how to treat historically marginalized population.” Biden said that in his administration, he would make it clear that the United States would not “stand for any countries and will not cooperate with those countries who engage in this fratricide they’re moving in on.”
The speech wasn’t all about the Trump administration. He praised all the progress that’s been made in the LGBTQ community, such as the “Irish Catholic Republic of Ireland” passing a referendum legalizing gay marriage.
Biden spoke about when he became the first administration official to support gay marriage in an interview with Meet the Press in May 2012 — a reminder that prompted someone in the crowd to yell, “You were awesome!”
He said that “many people thought I made a gigantic blunder.” He said that before the interview, he told President Barack Obama that if he was asked whether he supported gay marriage, he “wouldn’t hold back.” He said that the day after the interview aired, Obama hugged him and said, “Well, you warned me.”
Biden promised the room that “elected or not, I’ll be back as a private citizen and make sure I’ll stand with you in this fight. It matters to me, it matters to my children, it matters to my grandchildren. There’s no reason we can’t do it all. Happy Pride. Remember who you are.”
Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.