Several of the most notable 2020 presidential hopefuls attended the NAACP 110th National Convention in the Motor City today, addressing President Donald Trump’s blatant racism and their proposed plans to improve the Black community.
“We have the opportunity to change the landscape in America,” said former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who was greeted with a massive standing ovation. According to the current front-runner, that opportunity includes “getting rid of Donald Trump.”
He addressed recent backlash over positions he took during the civil rights era, in addition to his statement of working civilly with segregationist senators.
He also noted his support from President Barack Obama, who “did a significant background check on me for months with ten people. I doubt he would have picked me if these accusations about my being wrong on civil rights is correct.”
California Senator Kamala Harris talked education, housing, economic security and expanding the legal marijuana industry, while assisting those currently serving harsh sentences for cannabis offenses.
“Those young men and women who for years were selling it on the streets and are now felons for life have been excluded from this industry,” Harris expressed. “And now a lot of people are making money doing the exact same thing.”
Senator Elizabeth Warren said a country that elects Trump “has serious problems” that requires “structural change.”
Warren, who supports the NAACP impeachment vote, stressed how she believes the president broke the law and should be held accountable: “I understand there are people who for political reasons say it’s not where we want to be, but in my view, some things are above politics, and one of them is our responsibility to do what is right.”
Senator Bernie Sanders, who says his campaign's mission is “about bringing people together,” was not shy about his disdain for the current administration, calling out Trump: “We have a president who is a racist… a president who is trying to divide the American people up based on the color of their skin.”
The 77-year-old, who also called Trump “a pathological liar,” says if elected to the highest office, his primary goal would include supporting distressed communities in an effort to “end the kinds of inequities that currently exist."
Despite the promises of support to neglected communities, reparations isn’t included in his plans, saying a single check would not solve decades of systematic racism: “Here is my fear: The Congress gives the African-American community $20,000 checks and says thank you. I think that’s wrong.”
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, one of two African-American men of the 25 Democratic candidates, alongside Miramar, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam, also ripped into 45, reiterating how “this is the most important election of our lifetime.”
Addressing gun violence, Booker also persuaded audiences that “beating Donald Trump is not enough… it gets us out of the valley,” calling for genuine leadership who wants more than a vote, but to implement real change.
“I’m running for president because I think America is running out of time,” said South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. “White supremacy brought this country to its knees once.”
Buttigieg addressed the importance of adequate police and community relations, and detailed his plan to fight systemic racism, calling out Trump’s Department of Justice for its lack of support dealing with racial injustice.
The Associated Press reported Detroit’s Mayor, Mike Duggan, officially endorsed Joe Biden in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary on Monday, calling him “a great friend of Detroit.”
“He cares deeply about the city and auto industry and auto workers," Duggan told the AP. "Joe Biden has a whole career of watching out for the working class in this country.”
Biden remains in the lead for the Democratic primary, but Harris and others have decreased his lead in recent polls.
Past convention speakers have included Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama, Senator John McCain and Senator John Kerry.
President Donald Trump declined an invitation to attend the convention.
Traditionally, sitting presidents are invited to attend the convention, as presidents of both parties have accepted, including George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan.
Michigan has gained popularity as the go-to destination for presidential candidates. During the last presidential race, Donald Trump was the first Republican candidate to win the state since 1988, besting Hillary Clinton with only a slim 10,704 difference.
Photo: JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images