Biden tells Buffalo shooting mourners: ‘Evil will not win’

White supremacy ‘a poison’, US president says following racially-motivated massacre

Evil and hate will not win in America and white supremacy will not have the last word, US president Joe Biden has said.

Speaking in Buffalo in New York state, he described the attack on a supermarket in the city by a heavily-armed gunman last Saturday as “domestic terrorism”.

Ten people were killed in the attack which took place in a part of Buffalo with a large black population. Police have described the attack as a racially-motivated hate crime.

On Tuesday, Mr Biden and his wife Jill visited the scene of the attack and met the families of victims, police and first responders as well as community leaders.


In an address in Buffalo, Mr Biden said the ideology of white supremacy had no place in America.

“White supremacy is a poison. It is a poison, through – it really is – running through our body politic, and it’s been allowed to fester and grow right in front of our eyes.

“No more. No more. We need to say as clearly and forcefully as we can that the ideology of white supremacy has no place in America,” the president said.

Mr Biden said racist ideology circulated on the internet had inspired the man who carried out the mass shooting in Buffalo.

He urged Americans to reject white supremacy and politicians and media figures who promoted it.

“I condemn those who spread the lie for power, for political gain and for profit.”

Speaking to reporters prior to departing from Buffalo, Mr Biden said he was not going to give up on efforts to secure gun-control reforms.

He said there was little he could do on gun control by means of executive action and that he had to “convince the Congress” to take up stronger gun laws.

However, he acknowledged that this would be “very difficult”.

“Part of what the country has to do is look in the mirror and face the reality,” he said. “We have a problem with domestic terror, it’s real.” He said some people might not like such a remark.

“That’s what the intelligence community has been saying, that’s what the military has been saying, for a long time,” he said. “There’s nothing new about this.”

He said there were a lot of people in the country like the suspect for the Buffalo shootings “who are just deranged, who are susceptible, who are just lost and don’t know what to do”.

“And they are easily taken, they’re easily sucked in.”

‘Great replacement’

Meanwhile, the US senate majority leader Chuck Schumer accused Fox News in the US of promoting the white nationalist "great replacement" rhetoric and urged the company's chairman, Rupert Murdoch, to end it.

Police in Buffalo believe the suspect in the shootings may have planned other attacks.

Buffalo police commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said on Monday that the 18-year-old suspect had spoken "about possibly going to another store" after carrying out the shooting at the Tops grocery outlet.

"It appeared that his plans were to drive out of here and then continue driving down Jefferson Avenue, looking to shoot more black people, as he put it."

The suspect, identified in court as Payton Gendron of Conklin, New York, pleaded not guilty on Saturday evening to first-degree murder, a charge that could lead to life imprisonment without parole.

Police believe that the suspect travelled about 320km from his home town near Binghamton in New York state with the intention of carrying out murders in east Buffalo.

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent