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‘This is a Temporary State of Affairs’: Biden Rails Against Populism and Trump in Speech at Cornell

Former Vice President Joe Biden railed against populism, hate speech and — presumably — the Trump administration in a powerful keynote address at Cornell University’s commencement.

“I thought we had passed the days where it was acceptable for political leaders at local and national levels to bestow legitimacy on hate speech and fringe ideologies,” Biden said. “But the world is changing so rapidly there are a lot of folks out there who are afraid, and susceptible to this kind of negative appeal.”

Biden commented on “the forces of populism not only here, but around the world,” ostensibly a reference to the rising support for populist politicians — from President Donald Trump to France’s Marine Le Pen and the Netherlands’ Geert Wilders.

Biden also slammed anti-immigrant rhetoric, rejecting Trump’s “call to close our nation’s gates against the challenges of a rapidly changing world.”

“The immigrant, the minority, the transgender, anyone not like me, became a scapegoat,” he added.

In a clear jab at Trump, Biden decried the idea that immigrants are the root of America’s problems. “Just build a wall, keep Muslims from coming to the United States. They’re the reason I can’t compete, they’re the reason I don’t have a job, that’s why I worry about my safety,” he said.

Biden then called the rising tide of nationalism in the United States “incredibly disorienting and disheartening.”

But he had some reassurances for the graduates: “your reaction, you graduates in particular, is understandable,” Biden said. “But I assure you that this is a temporary state of affairs.”

“The American people will not sustain this attitude for long, I promise you,” he said.

Watch a segment of his speech above.

[image via screengrab]

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Aidan McLaughlin is the Managing Editor of Mediaite. Send tips via email: aidan@mediaite.com or via Signal: 917-817-8266. Follow him on Twitter: @aidnmclaughlin