In South Carolina, Biden Tries to Persuade Black Voters to Reject Trump


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Hoping to revitalize the momentum that propelled him to the White House, President Biden told a largely Black audience on Saturday night that “you’re the reason Donald Trump is a defeated former president,” in what was effectively his first appearance related to the Democratic primaries.

Mr. Biden made clear in his remarks at a South Carolina Democratic Party dinner in Columbia, S.C., that he viewed the forthcoming week as not just a contest but a pivotal moment to energize a frustrated base of Black voters across the nation. And in the run-up to the state’s Feb. 3 Democratic presidential primary, which the party’s national committee selected last year to be the first in the nation, Democrats believe they have entered an opportune time.

With former President Donald J. Trump having won both the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary for the Republican nomination, Mr. Biden’s allies plan to emphasize not just the president’s record but also the urgency of the moment: The general election effectively starts now, they say.

“He has made it known what he’s going to do if he gets back into office,” Representative James E. Clyburn, Democrat of South Carolina, said of Mr. Trump in an interview. “And to see that blooming as a possibility and see him running as well as he is in the polls, I’m concerned about it.”

“Do what you did before,” Mr. Clyburn said in an appeal to the Black electorate. “Turn that election around and save this democracy.”

The sense of urgency is rooted in rising concerns over polls showing Mr. Biden underperforming among Black voters in battleground states, particularly among men. Some Democrats are also concerned that the high death toll in Gaza resulting from Israel’s offensive against Hamas will fuel frustration among younger voters. Twice during Saturday’s event, protesters shouting criticism of the civilian casualties in Gaza were removed, as attendees chanted over them, “Four more years!”

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In South Carolina, Biden Tries to Persuade Black Voters to Reject Trump

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