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In a 1993 Senate floor speech, Biden spoke about doing something for young people who did not have supervision, structure or opportunities. He said the country needed to focus on them, because otherwise, a portion of them would "become the predators 15 years from now."
Biden did not single out any racial or ethnic group.
In a 1998 speech at an attorneys general conference, Biden also used the term “predators.” He did not say he was talking about Black people.
As he courts Black voters days before Election Day, President Donald Trump repeated his false claim that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden called Black people "superpredators."
"Joe Biden called Black Youth SUPER PREDATORS. They will NEVER like him, or vote for him. They are voting for ‘TRUMP’," Trump tweeted Nov. 1 around 8 a.m.
Trump followed-up with a similar tweet a few hours later: "Joe Biden constantly used the term "Super Predator" when referring to young Black Men, according to my sources."
Trump also claimed this on the debate stage with Biden in September. Despite his repeated assertions, Trump’s claims lack evidence.
When Trump said this in September, his campaign pointed to a Trump campaign video that compiled clips of Biden saying the word "predators." But none of those clips show Biden specifically calling Black people "predators" or "superpredators." Trump’s campaign did not respond to our Nov. 1 query.
As a senator in 1993, Biden supported a criminal justice bill that eventually became known as the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. (Whether the bill led to mass incarceration was debated during the Democratic presidential primary.)
In a Nov. 18, 1993, Senate floor speech pushing for the bill, Biden spoke about doing something for young people who did not have supervision or structure and who did not have opportunities. He said the country needed to focus on them, because otherwise, a portion of them would "become the predators 15 years from now."
The context of what Biden said shows that he was talking about people hypothetically becoming predators, and it shows he did not single out Blacks, African Americans, or any other racial or ethnic group.
"We must take back the streets. It doesn’t matter whether or not the person that is accosting your son or daughter or my son or daughter, my wife, your husband, my mother, your parents, it doesn’t matter whether or not they were deprived as a youth; it doesn’t matter whether or not they had no background that enabled them to become socialized into the fabric of society; it doesn’t matter whether or not they are the victims of society. The end result is that they are about to knock my mother on the head with a lead pipe, shoot my sister, beat up my wife, take on my sons. So I do not want to ask what made them do this. They must be taken off of the street. That is No.1. There is a consensus on that. …
"There is a second thing that we all have agreed upon. And that is, unless we do something about the cadre of young people — tens of thousands of them, born out of wedlock, without parents, without supervision, without any structure, without any conscience developing because they literally, I yield myself three more minutes, have not been socialized, they literally have not had an opportunity.
"We should focus on them now, not out of a liberal instinct for love, brother, and humanity although I think that is a good instinct, but for simple, pragmatic reasons. If we don’t, they will — or a portion of them will — become the predators 15 years from now. Madam President, we have predators on our streets, that society has in fact, in part because of its neglect, created."
In a 1998 speech at an attorneys general conference, Biden also used the term "predators." He did not say he was talking about Black people.
The term "superpredators" came up during the 2016 presidential race between Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Then-GOP chairman Reince Priebus claimed that Clinton once referred to African American youth as "superpredators." We found that Clinton in a 1996 speech used the term "superpredators" when talking about the 1994 crime bill. Although she did not directly call African Americans superpredators in that speech, in 2016 she apologized for her word choice.
Trump said, "Biden called Black youth super predators."
This is inaccurate. Biden in a 1993 speech said that a portion of young people who lacked superpervision, structure and opportunities could become "predators." The context of Biden’s speech shows he was not specifically talking about Black people or any other specific group of people. Biden used the term again in a 1998 speech, but again, did not apply the label to people of any specific race.
We rate Trump’s claim False.
This fact check is available at IFCN’s 2020 US Elections FactChat #Chatbot on WhatsApp. Click here, for more.
C-SPAN, Senate Session, Nov. 18, 1993
PolitiFact, Did Hillary Clinton call African-American youth 'superpredators?', Aug. 28, 2016
The Washington Post, Hillary Clinton on ‘superpredator’ remarks: ‘I shouldn’t have used those words’, Feb. 25, 2016
Congress.gov, Congressional Record — Senate, Nov. 18, 1993
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