Barrasso, Lummis And Hageman Rip Biden For Calling White Supremacy Greatest Threat In U.S.

Sen. Barrasso and Rep. Hageman said President Biden was trying to deflect attention from other issues on Saturday when he called white supremacy the most dangerous terrorist threat to America.

Leo Wolfson

May 15, 20235 min read

President Joe Biden gave the commencement speech at Howard University last week in which he said white supremacy is the No. 1 terrorist threat to the United States.
President Joe Biden gave the commencement speech at Howard University last week in which he said white supremacy is the No. 1 terrorist threat to the United States. (Getty Images)

President Joe Biden told graduating seniors at Howard University in Washington, D.C., on Saturday that the most dangerous terroristic threat to America is white supremacy.

The comment drew criticism from U.S. Sens. John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis, and Rep. Harriet Hageman, all Wyoming Republicans who believe Biden is trying to distract attention away from the economy and other issues.

​​“President Biden is trying to distract Americans from the real crises happening under his watch,” Barrasso told Cowboy State Daily. “Since President Biden took office, inflation has risen nearly 16%, the crisis at our southern border is out of control and our national debt has skyrocketed.

“Our adversaries no longer fear us because of the Biden administration’s foreign policy failures.”

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What He Said

Biden told the 2023 graduating class of the historically black university that battling racism is a fight that never concludes, and that white supremacy is “the most dangerous terrorist threat to our homeland.”

The remark drew an ovation from the crowd as Biden scowled. 

“And I’m not saying this because I’m at a black HBCU (historically black college and university), I say it wherever I go,” Biden said. “To stand up for truth and lies, lies told for power and profit, to confront the ongoing assault to subvert our elections, suppress our right to vote.”

Biden depicted the United States as a nation rife with internal conflict and harkened back to many of the comments he made during his 2020 presidential campaign, calling on the audience to “fight for the soul of the nation.”

Under The Scope

Hageman said Biden’s comments show he’s “quite possibly the most out-of-touch and divisive person in America.”

She said the president has other problems that could be considered top issues, including: “Record high inflation, an invasion on our southern border with drugs flowing in unchecked and human traffickers taking advantage of women and little girls, reliance on despots and dictators for our energy at ever higher prices, government-imposed wretchedness becoming the new normal, skyrocketing crime with criminals having no fear of prosecution, and China rapidly overtaking our economy and spying on our country.”

Biden has been a target for most Republicans because of rampant inflation and his handling of immigration at the southern border. His supporters have pointed to the low unemployment rate and completion of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency as signs of success.

Hageman has endorsed former President Donald Trump in his 2024 presidential bid against Biden. Trump similarly endorsed Hageman in her campaign against former congresswoman Liz Cheney last summer and held a campaign rally on her behalf in Casper last May.

Lummis said Wyomingites have real everyday problems and situations to deal without that Biden's administration seems oblivious to.

“People in Wyoming are having a difficult time simply making ends meet," she said in a statement to Cowboy State Daily. "They are trying to buy groceries for their families, fill their cars with gas and heat their homes. President Biden should focus more on making life more affordable for his fellow Americans instead of stirring up conflict for the benefit of his far-left base.”


Biden told the Howard grads they represent the future of a diverse America that “celebrates and learns from history.”

On this point, he also made a vague reference to Trump.

“Let’s be clear: There are those who don’t see you, who don’t want this future,” Biden said. “There are those who demonize and pit people against one another. There are those who would do anything and everything, no matter how desperate or immoral, to hold onto power.”

Biden and many others have criticized Trump for refusing to denounce white supremacists on multiple occasions, such as those who participated in the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Conversely, many Republicans have criticized the Biden administration for targeting conservative speech at school board meetings.

The House Judiciary Committee released a report in March that says local law enforcement found “no legitimate basis” for a memo sent by Attorney General Merrick Garland in 2021 to the FBI and federal prosecutors about what he believed were threats to school boards around the country. 

Despite a mostly supportive response from the Howard audience Saturday, Biden’s message was not completely well-received, according to Politico.

Held up within the crowd of graduates were signs criticizing Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’ treatment of African Americans, with messages like, “Biden and Harris don’t care about Black people.”

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter