The American president will put on his chief comforter costume on Tuesday. Joe Biden is indeed going to Buffalo, New York. Ten African-American people were killed there on Saturday in a supermarket by a white man with an assault rifle, “a racist hate crime” according to authorities.

The tenant of the White House will be accompanied by his wife Jill Biden. “He wants to share (the) mourning” of the families and “bring comfort”, declared his spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre on Monday. But the president will also, once again, see his helplessness in the face of a country plagued by racial hatred and gun violence.

“We must work together to fight the hatred that remains a stain on the soul of America,” Joe Biden said on Sunday. Moreover, since his election, he has never ceased to invoke the “soul” of an America which would be, in essence, united. But when it comes to taking action, the Democratic president does not have many levers against racism. On paper, his party controls, at least until the legislative elections in November, the Congress, but the Democratic majority is too thin to undertake major reforms.

200 “mass shootings” since the beginning of the year

Joe Biden, for example, regularly calls on Congress to legislate on assault weapons, to no avail so far. According to the Gun Violence Archive, the United States has experienced more than 200 “mass shootings” since the beginning of the year, in which at least four people were injured or killed.

The president is also struggling to defend, as he promised, the African-American community or other minorities, in a country that has experienced several racist killings: Buffalo, El Paso in 2019 (23 dead, a majority people of Hispanic origin), Charleston in 2015 (nine African Americans killed in a church), Pittsburgh (11 deaths in a synagogue in 2018), or Atlanta (eight people including six women of Asian origin in 2021).

The symbol of the appointment of Ketanji Brown Jackson

Admittedly, Joe Biden appointed a government team representing all minorities, and pushed Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first black woman in the institution, to the Supreme Court. At the end of March, he also signed a law making lynching a federal crime, adopted after more than a century of failed attempts. But he failed to pass federal legislation protecting access to the ballot box for minorities, threatened in the southern states, in the hands of the Republicans.

The Democrat, however, has recently hardened his rhetoric against Republicans won over to the ideas of former President Donald Trump. Will he use this trip to Buffalo to publicly point out the responsibility of those he calls the “ultra MAGA” (for “Make America Great Again”, the slogan of the Trump years)? Will he join the voices denouncing the influence of Tucker Carlson, star host of the Fox News channel and figure of the radical right? Answers this Tuesday.


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