On Wednesday, Republican Senator and 2016 presidential hopeful Ted Cruz of Texas accused President Obama of “inflaming” racial tensions and further dividing Americans.
“President Obama, when he was elected, he could have been a unifying figure,” Cruz said during an event hosted by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “He could have chosen to be a leader on race relations and bring us together. And he hasn’t done that, he’s made decisions that I think have inflamed racial tensions that have divided us rather than bringing us together.”
Cruz’s comments come amidst the protests in Baltimore that led to violent riots and tension between officers and citizens of the city following the police-related death of Freddie Gray.
Though Obama spoke out against the violence on Tuesday, calling for Americans to do soul searching regarding the ongoing problem of racial relations and police mistrust, Cruz said that President Obama has further divided citizens on the issue.
Cruz cited a speech made by Vice President Joe Biden during the 2012 campaign, in which he said that Republicans would put African Americans “back in chains.”
The presidential hopeful said that comments like Biden’s were examples of “incendiary and hateful rhetoric” used by the Obama administration to further the divide. Obama, he said, “has not used his role as President to bring us together.
“He has exacerbated racial misunderstandings," he added.
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