On the campaign trail in June 2020, President Joe Biden claimed that Martin Luther King Jr.’s death did not make as much of an impact as the death of George Floyd.
“Even Dr. King’s assassination did not have the worldwide impact that George Floyd’s death did,” Biden said during a campaign event on June 11, 2020.
Biden said that social media videos of Floyd’s death made more of an impact on social justice issues.
He compared Floyd’s death to coverage of the civil rights movement on television. Biden recalled:
Because just like television changed the civil rights movement for the better when they saw Bull Connor’s dogs ripping the clothes off of elderly black women who were trying to go to church, and fire hoses ripping the skin off of young kids…
At the time, Biden used the conversation about historical moments in the civil rights movement and the George Floyd protests to focus on his presidential campaign and that of President Donald Trump.
“I think people are realizing that this is a battle for the soul of America,” he said. “Who are we? What do we want to be? How do we see ourselves? What do we think we should be?”
As president, Joe Biden spent Martin Luther King Day at home in Delaware as the White House released a pre-recorded video of is on the occasion.
“It’s not just enough to praise him, we must commit to his unfinished work to deliver jobs and justice, to protect the sacred right to vote, the right from which all other rights flow,” Biden said.