A new video released Thursday morning showed that students at the University of Florida were stunned by President Joe Biden’s recent remarks about the genocide in China.
During a CNN town hall event last week, Biden said in part, “Culturally, there are different norms that each country and their leaders are expected to follow.” The Washington Post noted that Biden said China would face consequences for its actions.
Campus Reform reporter Ophelie Jacobson went to the University of Florida to ask students about the remark and to ask them which president they thought said it, if the comment bothered them, and if they thought that the U.S. needed to be tougher on China.
The majority of the students thought that Trump made the remark, none guessed Biden. All of them were stunned that Biden made the remark and, for the most part, all of them said they thought the U.S. needed to be tougher on China.
OPHELIE JACOBSON: Hi, I’m Ophelia Jacobson with campus reform. Today we’re at the University of Florida talking with students about the Uyghurs genocide that is happening in China. Last week, President Biden referred to the genocide as a cultural norm. What do students think of this? Do they think that Biden needs to be tougher on China? Let’s find out.
JACOBSON: I’m sure you’ve heard about what’s going on in China with the mass genocide of the Uyghurs. I mean, since 2014, the Chinese government has been putting the Uyghurs in these detention camps. What is your reaction to that?
STUDENT 1: I think that it’s very important that we are all aware of what’s happening to make sure that we can take actions to stop those things from happening.
STUDENT 2: It’s obviously pretty horrible.
STUDENT 3: It’s like sad that like people are like, being like killed just for like being them. And like, I guess there should be like, more awareness, I think.
STUDENT 4: It’s kind of appalling that nothing’s really been done about it [inaudible] national scale.
JACOBSON: So I want to read you a quote and I would like you to tell me which president you think said it. So the quote is, ‘and so the idea that I am not going to speak out against what he’s doing in Hong Kong,’ and when he says ‘he,’ he’s referring to the Chinese president, ‘what he’s doing with the Uyghurs in the western mountains of China and Taiwan, trying to end the One China policy by making it forceful, he gets it. Culturally, there are different norms that each country and their leaders are expected to follow.’ Who do you think said that?
STUDENT 5: I’m going to go ahead and guess Donald Trump.
STUDENT 3: Trump.
STUDENT 6: I would probably also say Trump.
STUDENT 7: Trump or Clinton.
STUDENT 8: Obama.
STUDENT 9: I think Donald Trump is the one who said that.
JACOBSON: So, what if I were to tell you that it was actually President Biden, who said this one week ago in a town hall?
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: And so the idea, I’m not going to speak out against what he’s doing in Hong Kong, what he’s doing with the Uyghurs in western mountains of China, and Taiwan, trying to end the One China policy by making it forceful. I said, and by the he said, he, he gets it. Culturally, there are different norms that each country and they their leaders are expected to follow.
STUDENT 5: I’m surprised. I’m very surprised by that.
STUDENT 8: You would hope that something this egregious would elicit a stronger response from the U.S. president, especially in a country that’s sort of a rival already.
STUDENT 6: I like, it was surprising for me to hear that that came from Biden, it doesn’t seem like the type of thing that he would believe in.
STUDENT 3: You would think that he would want to like help or whatever and stuff and then he says, like, oh, that’s just like what the leader should do and stuff.
STUDENT 1: It did surprise me. But I think that’s where the people come in. I think that just because we elected a president that supports our views doesn’t mean we can stop holding them accountable. We continually have to pressure them into making the right choices.
STUDENT 3: Joe Biden campaigned heavily on like uniting people and, you know, strengthening ties with other countries, and overall, just being a very humanitarian person. So, the fact that he believes that policy, and he has that sort of mindset is very shocking to me.
JACOBSON: Does it bother you that a sitting US president basically just called a mass genocide ‘a cultural norm’?
STUDENT 9: Yeah.
STUDENT 1: Oh, it does bother me.
STUDENT 3: Yeah, definitely. I voted for him. So it’d be like, you know, he’s not like, representing my views.
STUDENT 5: Yes.
STUDENT 6: Yes.
STUDENT 9: That’s not right.
STUDENT 5: Yes, I’m disappointed that a sitting US president would say that.
JACOBSON: Do you think that Biden needs to be tougher on China?
STUDENT 3: I guess he needs to, like, work on bettering like the genocide I guess, like getting more involved.
STUDENT 4: Probably.
STUDENT 1: Absolutely. The genocide is not okay. Whether it’s in our country or you know, 1,000 miles away.
STUDENT 9: I wouldn’t want a sitting president like not doing that, like not, like letting that slide is not okay.
STUDENT 5: Probably. Yeah. After hearing that, yes.
STUDENT 8: It’s yeah, definitely a country that any US president should probably be willing to stand up to.
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