Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden tried to whitewash comments from more than two decades ago at the second and final presidential debate Thursday night, when he denied that he ever called young black men “predators” while shepherding the 1994 Crime Bill through Congress.
“He called them super predators,” President Donald Trump charged. “He said that. He said it … 1994, the crime bill. Super predators.”
Biden immediately denied the claim on stage.
“I never, ever said what he accused me of saying,” Biden said.
During a speech on the Senate floor in 1993 however, Biden warned of “predators on our streets” that were “beyond the pale.”
“They must be taken off the street,” Biden said. “Unless we do something about that cadre of young people, tens of thousands of them born out of wedlock without parents, without supervision, without any structure, without any conscience developing … we should focus on them now … they will, or a portion of them will become the predators 15 years from now, and madam president we have predators on our streets.”
Media fact-checkers flocked to the defense of their preferred presidential candidate, including CNN’s Daniel Dale, a predictable culprit.
Biden never used the phrase "super predators." (That was Hillary Clinton.) He did use the word "predators"; the right scoffs at this fact check, but as @KFILE has explained, "super predators" was a specific term with a specific crime-theory meaning Biden didn't endorse.
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) October 23, 2020
NBC also made a similar fact-check, declaring Trump’s claim “mostly false” while acknowledging Biden’s 1993 comments.
“It was Hillary Clinton, then the first lady, who used the word ‘superpredator’ to advocate for the 1994 crime bill that Biden co-wrote more than 30 years ago,” NBC wrote. “Biden did warn of ‘predators’ in a floor speech in support of his bill, however.”
As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Biden played a pivotal role in getting the 1994 Crime Bill across the finish line earning the Delaware senator the title “Architect of Mass Incarceration,” by New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker last summer.
Biden’s crime bill was responsible for investing billions of federal dollars into the contemporary prison industrial complex giving Trump, who passed criminal justice reform in 2018 more credibility on the issue than his Democratic opponent less than two weeks before election day.