Metro Weekly

Joe Biden slams Trump administration over revoked trans guidance

Former vice president criticizes Trump administration's various policies, saying "we have a hell of a lot of work to do"

Vice President Joe Biden – Photo : Kenton / Flickr

Former Vice President Joe Biden unleashed a barrage of criticism against President Donald Trump’s White House in a speech given after accepting a humanitarian award in New York on Thursday.

Without mentioning the current Commander-in-chief by name, Biden criticized Trump’s policies on health care, immigration, and even the right of transgender students to access restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity.

Biden was in New York to accept an award from HELP USA, a charity founded by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo that focuses on homelessness and housing needs. The former vice president touched on issues such as struggles with mental illness, housing instability, and affordable health care.

But the vice president’s most pointed remarks against the Trump administration came on the issues of immigration and transgender rights. With regard to immigration, Biden lamented that, under a hard-line stance on immigration, immigrant women would be more at risk for domestic violence and sexual assault, even though protections for such women became law two years ago as part of the Violence Against Women Act. On transgender rights, the former vice president said, the administration is attempting to “shift the focus.”

“As much great work as we’ve done, we face some real challenges ahead. We thought things were moving in the right direction… but there’s a change in the landscape out there, folks,” Biden said in comments caught on tape by Fox 10 Phoenix. “…We have a hell of a lot of work to do.

“There are those attempting to shift the focus,” he added. “For example, instead of focusing on the fact that 40 percent of homeless youth in the street are identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, rejected by their families out on the street — and what do we do about that? — we’re now focusing on whether or not a transgender child, which bathroom they can use.”

The Trump administration recently rescinded guidance to schools that encouraged administrators and teachers to allow transgender students to be treated according to their gender identity, including with respect to which restrooms they are able to access. Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has defended the decision to revoke the Obama-era guidance, saying it constituted an “overreach” by the federal government into an area that is best dealt with on a local or state level.

See Biden’s comments below:

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com