Biden urges Morehouse graduates to reject Trump’s fake macho persona

Predictions of massive unrest surrounding the Israel-Hamas conflict never materialized under the presidency. Joe BidenSpeech at the opening ceremony of Morehouse College. Rather, at Sunday’s graduation at one of the most vaunted men’s colleges in black American history, the valedictorian delivered an impassioned speech calling for an immediate ceasefire, which the president applauded, along with a handful of individual protests.

As for Biden’s actual remarks in Atlanta, there were two sections in particular that I called intelligent and sensitive speeches. First, there’s the following excerpt, which subtly addresses reports that disgruntled black men may not participate in this year’s elections.

Biden said:

As concrete examples of his administration’s efforts to combat racism, Biden cited infrastructure, his record of creating jobs among Black people and his promotion of police reform. But perhaps more importantly, I thought it wise to empathize with people who might be feeling discouraged by the frenetic pace of democracy and wondering whether to stay home in November or vote for Trump could be useful to them. While I think the media is overestimating the size of this group, I also think Biden has been sensitive in speaking to these voters.

Another part of the speech that got attention was Biden’s call for graduates to reject Trump’s style of toxic masculinity. Biden described this masculinity as being at odds with what it means to be a “Morehouse Man,” a title that has been influential in black communities because of Morehouse’s roster of esteemed alumni.

Biden said:

I still think these attack lines against MAGA masculinity are an important tool in reducing Trump’s support among men.

Speeches don’t win campaigns by themselves. But they can do much to achieve this goal by showing competence and compassion to the major voting blocs. Biden appears to have done just that at Morehouse — ironically, in a speech that some might have thought would spell his political end.

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