Joe Biden Makes Sign of the Cross While Mentioning Trump in California Stump Speech - Video
14:30 GMT 14.09.2021 (Updated: 19:05 GMT 14.09.2021)
The president paid a visit to the Golden State on Monday to make a last-minute push in support of Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom ahead of Tuesday’s recall election. The governor’s opponents gathered enough signatures to ask Californians if they want to recall Newsom before his term runs out thanks to a range of social and economic problems.
Joe Biden made a sign of the cross gesture while mentioning former president Donald Trump during a stump speech for Governor Newsom.
“The eyes of the nation are on California. Because the decision you’re about to make isn’t just going to have a huge impact on California. It’s gonna reverberate around the nation, and quite frankly – not a joke, around the world,” Biden said, speaking at a Newsom rally in Long Beach – a city in the Los Angeles metropolitan area on Monday night.
“Here’s why: all of you know that last year I got to run against the real Donald Trump,” Biden said, pausing, and making the north-south-west-east Roman Catholic gesture with his right hand. “Well, this year, the leading Republican running for governor is the closest thing to a Trump clone that I’ve ever seen, and I really mean it,” he added, referring to Newsom’s primary Republican challenger, conservative talk show host and author Larry Elder.
“Can you imagine him being governor of this state?” Biden asked. “Ya can’t let that happen,” the president urged, leaning in toward the microphone.
Biden’s sign of the cross elicited laughter and cheers from the crowd, and predictably divided social media users along partisan lines, with some praising the president and others expressing scorn.
“That’s our President Joe Biden…I’m laughing so hard I’m crying,” one Biden supporter wrote
. “RIP Donald,” another quipped
. “I love when Joe f***s with people,” a third added
Trump supporters slammed the president. “This guy is completely lost,” one wrote
. “He makes the sign of the cross as he badmouths Trump? #disgusting,” another suggested
Biden’s political theatre on Monday was not the first time the politician made the gesture. He also did so in late 2016 after Trump’s victory against Hillary Clinton, and before that while yukking it up in a room full of rabbis
, at a rabbinical convention in Atlanta in 2012. He has also done the pantomime on serious occasions – such as an event in May
honouring America’s war dead at the Arlington Cemetery in Virginia.
Californians are going to the polls Tuesday to determine whether embattled Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom will be allowed to serve out the remainder of his term – which is expected to end in January 2023, or be forced out a year-and-a-half early. Newsom’s critics began a petition to recall him in June of 2020, and managed to collect the 1.5 million signatures necessary to proceed with the vote. Larry Elder is one of dozens of Republicans, Democrats, and independents who registered as candidates to try to replace him. California law allows any US citizen without a criminal record registered to vote in California with the signatures of 65 voters and a $4,194.94 filing fee to take part in the race.
Californians seeking to oust Newsom have pointed to his “toughest-in-the-union” COVID-19 restrictions, the homelessness and evictions crisis, high levels of poverty and crime, and his alleged failure to tackle corruption. Newsom’s 2020 photo at an upscale restaurant with lobbyists while flaunting his own coronavirus protocols helped his opponents garner enough public support to hold the recall election.
9 September 2021, 19:29 GMT
In spite of the major problems facing his state, Newsom is nevertheless widely expected to survive the recall effort, with polling
finding that as few as 38.5 percent of respondents in the solid Blue state favour his removal, with 60 percent thinking he should stay. On Monday, Elder said he could not rule out voting fraud “shenanigans”
to keep Newsom in power.
The fraud claims echo allegations made by Donald Trump against Joe Biden, with the Republican president accusing the Democrat establishment of “stealing” the 2020 election from him using rigged voting machines and mail-in ballot vote dumps. Trump relinquished the presidency in January after courts in multiple swing states refused to hear his campaign’s voter fraud claims. Democrats have generally succeeded in an effort to virtually silence him on social and traditional media, and have sought to permanently bar him from politics to prevent Trump from running again in 2024.