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The US President and his wife, Jill Biden, traveled to Buffalo, New York, on Tuesday, where a racially motivated shooting claimed the lives of ten African Americans on Saturday. Joe Biden notably declared that the Buffalo massacre was an act of “terrorism” and denounced the “poison” of the theory of white supremacism.
An armful of white flowers and a sign of the cross: the presidential couple, Jill and Joe Biden, gathered on Tuesday May 17 in Buffalo, where ten African-American people died on Saturday, victims of a racist massacre.
Shortly after arriving in this northeastern US city, the US president and his wife visited the Tops supermarket, where one of the worst racist massacres in recent US history took place. . Under a dazzling sun, they advanced towards bouquets, words and candles piled up at the foot of a tree, in a silence disturbed only by the breath of the wind and the clicking of cameras. Jill Biden laid an armful of white flowers. Joe Biden, after removing his sunglasses, signed himself.
Joe Biden has vehemently denounced the “poison” of white supremacism and those who help spread it. In this city of New York state, where a young man adept at conspiracy theories such as that of the “great replacement” committed an assault rifle massacre, the American president spoke of an act of “terrorism” .
Evoking this racist thesis of the “great replacement”, Joe Biden, very moved, very solemn, struck: “I call on all Americans to reject this lie and I condemn all those who spread it to gain power, votes, the money”.
“Those who claim to love America have given too much fuel to hate and fear,” the Democrat said again, without mentioning names or partisan affiliations. “This venom, this violence cannot be the history of our time”, he pleaded, while the United States has experienced several killings in recent years targeting African-Americans, Jews, people of of Latin American origin.
The presidential couple have planned to meet families of victims, members of rescue teams and local officials, before the president delivers a speech at 5 p.m. GMT.
More than 200 “mass shootings” in the United States since the beginning of the year
The 79-year-old Democrat wants to call the massacre “for what it is: terrorism motivated by a hateful and evil ideology, an ideology that tears at the soul of our country,” according to a White House official.
The Buffalo massacre is a cruel reminder that Joe Biden, elected on a message of unity, has so far failed to appease an America plagued by racial hatred and gun violence.
The President, knowing full well that his party does not have a sufficient majority there, nevertheless wants to call on Congress on Tuesday to “act so that weapons of war do not circulate in our streets” and so that “weapons fire do not end up in the hands of criminals or people with serious mental illnesses.”
The Democrat has long called for a ban on assault weapons — like the one used on Sunday. This is what New Zealand did, for example, after the racist massacre against mosques in Christchurch in 2019, a massacre which was also inspired by the alleged murderer of Buffalo, Payton Gendron, 18 years old.
Joe Biden would also like to impose a criminal and psychiatric background check on people buying firearms. But he comes up against a Republican opposition very attached to the constitutional right to bear arms, and the powerful lobby of the sector, the NRA.
The organization Gun Violence Archive has already counted more than 200 “mass shootings” in the United States this year – an average of 10 per week – during which at least four people were injured or killed.
“Motivated by hate”
Saturday’s shooting is counted in this list. A young white man, with his assault rifle, committed “a racist hate crime”, according to the authorities.
Before the massacre, Payton Gendron published a 180-page manifesto, where he defined himself as “fascist”, “racist”, “anti-Semitic” and claimed the conspiracy theory of the “great replacement”.
Joe Biden often recalls that he had decided to run for the White House after seeing the ultra-right parading in August 2017 in Charlottesville (Virginia, south). A young woman was killed after a neo-Nazi sympathizer drove into a group of anti-racist protesters.
Since his election, he has promised to repair the “soul” of an America which would be, in essence, united. But it lacks the levers to take action.
Constrained by its excessively thin parliamentary majority, confronted with conservative states endowed with extensive prerogatives, limited by a Supreme Court now firmly anchored on the right, it had to content itself with acting at the margins, by decrees, on the control of firearms. fire.
Joe Biden, who has promised to protect African Americans, has also failed to pass federal legislation protecting access to the ballot box for minorities, threatened in the Southern states at the hands of Republicans.