Cornel West says Obama didn’t have ‘courage’ to fight racism—but Biden does

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Dr. Cornel West is blasting former President Barack Obama yet again by claiming he didn’t have the courage to fight racism.

Professor West appeared on CNN International Thursday and offered praise to President Joe Biden on his joint address to Congress. Despite a previous belief that Biden would be a “neoliberal disaster,” West has since changed his opinion.

Read More: Cornel West threatens to leave Harvard after being denied request for tenure

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West saluted Biden for his plan to withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, tackling police reform, improving infrastructure, and signing the American Rescue Plan. He liked the 46th commander in chief to President Lyndon Johnson, who served as the nation’s 36th leader. West declared that he’d continue to put pressure on issues such as the conflict in Haiti and foreign policy, but overall, Biden has surprised him and done more than Obama.

“He reminds me very much of LBJ, who started as a White supremacist from Jim Crow Texas and ended up one of the major forces for good against White supremacy. That’s why you never give up on people,” West said.

“You never know which way they’re heading. You never know what kind of change they can put forward, and if Biden continues in this way he’s going to be very much like LBJ and will be a much stronger force for good against White supremacy on the ground than Barack Obama was.”

West further claimed that “Obama had the symbols. He’s brilliant, he’s Black, he’s poised, and so forth. Didn’t have the courage.”

West claimed the 44th president did not have the fortitude of his vice president to fight racism explicitly. During Biden’s speech, he declared that white supremacy was terrorism, and West found him to be more of a standard-bearer for progressivism.

President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress, with Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on the dais behind him on April 28, 2021 in Washington, DC.(Photo by Melina Mara-Pool/Getty Images)

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“Didn’t have the willingness to fight that Biden does when it comes to this issue, when it comes to a variety of issues. So who would know? Who would think that Joseph Biden from Scranton, Pennsylvania could become such a force for good for progressives?”

West has long been critical of Obama, especially when it comes to matters of race and ideology. In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death last May, while in the custody of Minneapolis police and the ensuing protests, West pinpointed that the reckoning was as much the fault of Obama.

“The Black Lives Matter movement emerged under a Black president, Black attorney general, and Black homeland security and they couldn’t deliver,” West said during an interview on CNN.

He further declared that the country was witnessing America as a failed social experiment.

“And what I mean by that is that the history of black people for over 200-something years in America has been looking at America’s failure,” he said.

“Its capitalist economy could not generate and deliver, in such a way that people could live lives of decency,” he added. “The nation-state, its criminal justice system, its legal system could not generate protection of rights and liberties.”

West also drew a line between Obama and his successor, former President Donald Trump in a searing op-ed for The Guardian in 2017.

“The reign of Obama did not produce the nightmare of Donald Trump – but it did contribute to it,” he wrote.

The segment can be viewed here.

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