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Biden connects with Black voters at NAACP dinner in Detroit, warns that Trump is ‘unhinged’

Biden Speaking at NAACP Event in Detroit Michigan. The event took place on May 19th 2024.
Russ McNamara
Biden Speaking at NAACP Event in Detroit Michigan. The event took place on May 19th 2024.

President Joe Biden spoke to over 4,000 people at the NAACP’s 69th annual Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner in Detroit Sunday night.

During his keynote speech at Huntington Place, Biden touted a slowly improving economy, his administration’s climate resilience efforts and investment into social services in larger cities like Detroit — all of which the President said would be undone under a second Trump presidency.

Biden also pointed to his nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court as a reason to re-elect him and used the high court to take a shot at Donald Trump.

“If he’s reelected, who do you think he’ll put on a Supreme Court? You think he’ll put anybody who has a brain?”

Trump reshaped the court while in office by successfully nominating three conservative justices.

Biden called Trump “unhinged” in the speech, warning that his motivations for running for reelection are nefarious.

“Trump isn’t running to lead America, he’s running for revenge,” Biden said. “For revenge is no way to lead the country. You can’t build a future on revenge, you can’t build better lives through revenge, that’s why I’m running, to lead America into the future.”

Before the dinner, Biden gave the commencement address at the historically Black Morehouse College in Atlanta. In both speeches he touted a funding increase at HBCUs.

Biden says that he will try to live up to the NAACP’s civil rights roots, while his likely election opponent will not.

“The idea of America is that we’re all created equal, deserve to be treated equally throughout our lives. We’ve never fully lived up to it, we’ve never fully walked away from it either, but Trump will.”

Biden won Michigan in 2020 by 150,000 votes, and Black voters are seen as key to winning the state. Polling has shown flagging support from Black voters, but Biden’s speech seemed to go over well in Detroit, as he alluded to his long day.

“I don’t feel tired… I feel inspired.”

The civil rights group has invited presidential candidates before — the last one being Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Biden received a cold reception from a group of protesters in Detroit on Sunday, however.

About 200 pro-Palestinian picketers showed up outside the event to protest Biden’s continued support for Israel’s military action in Gaza. During his commencement speech at Morehouse College, Biden said that he supported a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. However, last week his administration sought to send an additional $1 billion in military aid to Israel.

Nation of Islam Minister Troy Muhammad showed support for protesters on his way to the dinner. He too is frustrated that Biden hasn’t done more to help Palestinians.

“He hasn’t heard the protests, he hasn’t listened in the manner that asking you know and really is just having a civil conversation about the issue, and he hasn’t even done that yet,” Muhammad said.

Polling shows Biden’s support among Arab-Americans has cratered the longer the war in Gaza has continued.

Donald Trump will be in Detroit next month to speak at the conservative Turning Point Action conference.

Russ McNamara is a reporter and host of All Things Considered for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news to the station’s loyal listeners.