During a campaign event in Greenwood, South Carolina Thursday night, former Vice President Joe Biden told a protestor who confronted him over the Obama administration’s mass deportation policies to “vote for Trump,” prompting outrage from immigrant rights groups and activists.
“You should vote for Trump,” Biden repeated as Carlos Rojas, an organizer with Movimiento Cosecha, urged the former Vice President to depart from the destructive record of the Obama White House and support a moratorium on deportations.
Biden, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, refused to agree to the demand, insisting that he will “prioritize deportations only of people who have committed a felony or a serious crime.”
Rojas replied that he wants to ensure immigrants living in the United States don’t have to live in fear of deportation and separation from their families.
“You have the power, as a candidate, to actually commit to stop all deportations from day one—and we want to hear you say that,” Rojas said.
Watch the exchange, which quickly went viral on Twitter:
“YOU SHOULD VOTE FOR TRUMP” – @JoeBiden.
An immigrant leader confronted Biden in Greenwood, SC about her fear of ICE. She said it’s hard for the community to trust him because he defends Obama’s deportations.
Then Biden told the Cosecha organizer translating to vote for Trump. pic.twitter.com/A410FSKdiu
— Movimiento Cosecha (@CosechaMovement) November 22, 2019
In a statement (pdf) following the town hall, Rojas said, “By now, it is clear that the immigrant community cannot trust Biden.”
“Any candidate who claims to be against Trump’s raids and family separations needs to commit to a full moratorium on deportations,” Rojas added. “We won’t accept empty promises of immigration reform, while our families are torn apart. We cannot allow history to repeat itself.”
Biden was also confronted by climate activists from Friends of the Earth during the Greenwood event, which came a day after the 2020 Democratic presidential debate in Atlanta.
“Please don’t take money from corporations,” said a woman in the audience.
“I do not take money from corporations,” replied Biden, whose campaign last month greenlighted the creation of a super PAC organized by corporate lobbyists who serve clients in multiple major industries, including fossil fuels.
“You listen to Bernie too much, man, it’s not true,” added Biden, referring to rival 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
Tonight I and some @foe_us friends got thrown out of a @JoeBiden rally for telling the truth about his record with the @NoFossilMoney pledge. Just before this, they threw out dreamers as the crowd chanted “deport them.” This campaign is not ok, y’all. https://t.co/rml66oaZM6 pic.twitter.com/y1LqU31gkc
— drew hudson (@wealsoherdcats) November 22, 2019
Faiz Shakir, Sanders’ campaign manager, responded on Twitter that the activists “listen just the right amount.”
“And they are right,” Shakir added.