Former President Donald Trump "ripped the band-aid off" racism in the US and gave a platform to white nationalists who seek to assert themselves above America's other ethnic and racial groups, President Joe Biden said Thursday.
Speaking at a ceremony commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Biden said "hate never goes away" but rather "hides until some seemingly legitimate person breathes oxygen under the rocks where they’re hiding and gives it some breath."
"The bad news: we had a president who appealed to the prejudice," he said. "The good news is he ripped the band-aid off, made absolutely clear what’s at stake. I think the American people will follow us. But guess what: whether they will or not, we have no choice. We have to continue to fight."
Turning to King's legacy, Biden said the civil rights leader fought to "redeem the soul of America," maintaining that work continues long after his untimely death.
"We know that's not the work of a single day, or a single administration, or even a single generation," the president said.
"But here we stand with Dr. King to show that out of struggle, there's progress, out of despair, there's hope. From the promise of equality and opportunity, of jobs, justice and freedom, we see Black excellence, American excellence, Black history as American history and a defining source of the might of this nation," he added.
King is widely regarded as one of the most important leaders of the struggle for Black equality in the 1960s, emphasizing the importance of nonviolence and civil disobedience. He was assassinated in 1968 in Tennessee.