Joe Biden claims Trump is the first racist president. Critics point out other presidents owned slaves.

Joe Biden.
(Image credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, on Wednesday called his likely opponent, President Trump, the first racist president in the history of United States. It appears to be the first time he's explicitly described Trump as a racist.

The comment occurred during a virtual town hall meeting as Biden was addressing Trump's propensity to blame China for the coronavirus pandemic and call the pathogen the "China virus." Biden said that "we've had racists" who have tried to get elected president before, but Trump "is the first one that has."

Critics were quick to dispute the comments, though not in defense of the president. Instead, several observers argued many other American presidents deserve the label. Tim O'Donnell

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Tim O'Donnell

Tim is a staff writer at The Week and has contributed to Bedford and Bowery and The New York Transatlantic. He is a graduate of Occidental College and NYU's journalism school. Tim enjoys writing about baseball, Europe, and extinct megafauna. He lives in New York City.