by Sam Hieb
Former Vice President Joe Biden stopped by Durham on his “American Promise” speaking tour and had some kind words for his former colleague, the late great Sen. Jesse Helms:
“I was on the Senate floor one day. Jesse Helms was excoriating two friends of mine, Bob Dole, Republican leader, and Teddy Kennedy for introducing the precursor to the Americans with Disabilities Act,” Biden recalled.
Helms was carrying on, Biden said. “(Helms) was saying it’s confiscatory to make a businessman have a curb cut, or access for a wheelchair.”
“I thought, ‘What a heartless thing.’ Fortunately, I didn’t debate because I would’ve said something inappropriate,” he said.
After Biden walked away from the scene, another senator asked him what was wrong. Biden said he then took the opportunity to “excoriate” Helms.
“I said ‘How could he do this? How could he do that?'” Biden recalled, to applause from the Durham crowd.
“No, hold on,” he told the crowd, before finishing his story. The senator who stopped Biden asked him if he knew that Helms and his wife adopted a disabled, 9-year-old child after reading his quote to a newspaper about wanting a mother and father for Christmas.
Had Biden aired his private remarks on the Senate floor, “I’d feel like a fool,” he said.
“Everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity,” Biden concluded.
I would think ‘everyone’ includes President Trump. The N&O reports Biden never mentioned Trump by name, “but referred to white supremacists and noted that ‘our leaders’ are encouraging people ‘to come out from under the rocks.'” With that in mind, I can’t help but think might make an exception to his ‘dignity’ rule not only for Trump but the so-called ‘rock dwellers’—a group that might include you and me— who support him.