Joe Biden's George Wallace Links Resurface After Georgia Speech

A number of GOP figures have criticized President Joe Biden for mentioning former Alabama Democratic Governor George Wallace in a derogatory manner despite recounting praise he had received from the controversial segregationists decades ago.

During his speech at the Atlanta University Center Consortium in Georgia on Tuesday urging Congress to pass the Freedom to Vote Act, the president referenced the governor who infamously said "Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever" during his inaugural speech in 1963.

That same year, Wallace also stood at the door of Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama in an attempt to stop Black students from enrolling at the school.

Wallace died in 1998 aged 79.

Biden named Wallace as an opposing example to civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King while highlighting why elected officials should back the Freedom to Vote Act, which aims to make it easier for people to cast their ballots in elections and combat voter suppression laws which have been drawn up in Republican states.

"I ask every elected official in America: How do you want to be remembered?" Biden said.

"At consequential moments in history, they present a choice: Do you want to on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace?

"This is the moment to decide to defend our elections, to defend our democracy."

As noted by the House Republicans, Biden "once bragged about being praised" by Wallace.

The House Republicans tweeted out a Detroit Free Press article from 1987 in which sates Biden, then Senator for Delaware, reminded people that Wallace called him an "outstanding young politician."

While also sharing the newspaper clipping, conservative commentator and radio host Dana Loesch added: "Biden not having a good night after saying 'Do you want to be on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace?"

Pastor Darrell Scott, CEO of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump, tweeted: "Everyone Joe Biden cited today as 'villians'; George Wallace, Bull Connor, and Jefferson Davis, were Democrats. Let that sink in..."

Fox News presenter Greg Gutfeld also condemned the comments during an appearance on The Five on Tuesday.

"It's just great when he mentions George Wallace because, whose side was George Wallace on? He was on Joe Biden's—Joe Biden bragged about the fact George Wallace liked Joe Biden," Gutfeld said.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported in September 1988 that Mr. Biden, while campaigning in Alabama that year, "talked of his sympathy for the South, bragged of an award he had received from George Wallace in 1973 and said 'we (Delawareans) were on the South's side in the Civil War.'"

This is not the first time that Biden has made reference to Wallace to make a point.

In July 2019, Biden compared his then-2020 Election rival Donald Trump as "more George Wallace than George Washington" during a campaign event in California, and again while speaking at an event in Iowa in January 2020.

Trump's campaign team also used Biden's past links to Wallace to criticize him over the remarks. "Hey @JoeBiden, maybe you forgot, but the only person in this race connected to George Wallace is you," the Trump War Room account tweeted.

The account also tweeted out an clipping from The Philadelphia Inquirer article from September 1988.

The White House has been contacted for comment.

biden george wallace
President Joe Biden has been criticized by Republicans for comparing them to George Wallace despite the president praising him the segregationist in the past. Bettmann -Contributor/ Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images