Trump Points Out Biden’s 1994 Racist Crime Legislation to Black Detroit Church 

cristiano barni /
cristiano barni /

Over the weekend, former President Donald Trump visited 180 Church, a Black church in Detroit, Michigan, to announce a Black voter coalition. Pastor Lorenzo Sewell welcomed the visit despite Detroit being a blue stronghold in the state.  

While Democrats skewered Trump’s appearance at 180 Church, Pastor Sewell noted that it is far more than Biden has ever done. Sewell said that Biden has “forgotten the reason” Black voters supported him in 2020, stating that Black Americans chose him because the “first Black president” chose him in 2008 and that in 2020, he selected a Black female as vice president. Sewell said, “At the end of the day, in urban America, typically people are on the menu, and they’re never at the table.” 

Trump spoke about the escalating crime plaguing African American communities and took a few minutes to remind voters of Biden’s hypocrisy in claiming he has done more for the Black voter than any other president. 

But Black voters will likely remember Biden’s 1994 crime bill, which Biden boasted would “do everything but hang people for jaywalking.”  The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 included several significant provisions. One key aspect was the Three-Strikes Rule, which mandated life sentences for individuals with three or more federal convictions for violent crimes or drug trafficking. The bill also earmarked billions of dollars to build new prisons and promote “community policing.” 

Biden’s 1994 crime bill significantly increased incarceration rates, particularly affecting Black and Latino communities. The “three-strikes” provision and mandatory minimum sentences resulted in longer prison terms for nonviolent offenses, disproportionately impacting minority populations.  

Although the bill allocated funds for community policing, it also intensified the “war on drugs,” targeting low-income neighborhoods and straining relationships between law enforcement and communities. The emphasis on punitive measures over prevention and rehabilitation worsened economic disparities, leaving families affected by incarceration facing financial strain, disrupted households, and limited employment opportunities.  

The 1994 bill was not the only time Biden advocated for laws that disproportionately affected minority communities. In response to the rising consumption of crack cocaine in the 1980s, then-Senator Biden co-sponsored the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986. Signed into law by President Reagan, this legislation imposed harsher sentencing penalties for possession of crack cocaine compared to its powder form. Despite their similar chemical makeup, crack cocaine was used by Black Americans, while White Americans more commonly used powder cocaine. This disparity led to widespread criticism that the bill unfairly targeted Black communities. 

In 1975, Biden advocated for continued school segregation in the United States, arguing that it benefited minorities and that integration would hinder Black people from embracing “their own identity.” Additionally, during a Senate hearing, Biden sponsored a bill limiting the power of courts to mandate school desegregation through busing, which undermined the nation’s efforts toward educational equality. He attached the segregationist provision to an education spending bill. 

It was around this time that Biden’s “racial jungle” remarks were made. In 1977, he expressed concern about desegregation by noting that unless something was done to stop integration, his children would grow up in a “racial jungle.” 

For Trump, who has been criticized for referring to illegal immigrant criminals as “animals,” there was a “gotcha” moment when he could remind the audience of Biden’s references to criminals as “super predators.” That quote, however, was misplaced. Biden referred to criminals as “predators,” but it was failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton who referred to them as “super predators” in 1996. 

But Trump didn’t need the phrase “super predators” to make his point. Biden has repeatedly shown his disregard for the Black community throughout his presidential term and for quite some time leading up to it. He referred to Obama as a “rare” example of a clean, smart, and articulate Black man. In 2019, he observed that “poor kids” were just as talented and bright as “white kids.” He has told minority voters that they were “not Black enough” if they didn’t support him, doubling down on this sentiment by telling a Black radio host that if he was considering voting for Trump, he “wasn’t Black.” 

During the pandemic, Biden noted that Americans were able to quarantine because of “some Black woman stocking a grocery shelf.” He delivered eulogies for segregationists Strom Thurmond and former KKK member Robert Byrd. 

Biden’s speeches have been peppered with questionable racism for years. As Black voters are losing faith in his ability to bring economic stability to their communities, Trump is peeling back the layers of Biden’s comments to expose them in all their “aw, shucks” glory.