(JTA) – Setting his administration’s tone in his first speech to Congress, President Joe Biden said white supremacists posed the “most lethal” terrorist threat to the United States. Biden on Wednesday said the terrorist threat had evolved and referred to his decision to end the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan after 20 years, when the United States first entered the country to pursue the Al Qaeda terrorists responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. “Make no mistake, in 20 years terrorism has metastasized, the threat has evolved way beyond Afghanistan,” he said. “Those who are on the intelligence committees, the Foreign Relations Committee, the defense committees, you know well, we have to remain vigilant against the threats to the United States wherever they come from. Al Qaeda and ISIS are in Yemen, Syria, Somalia, other places in Africa and the Middle East and beyond.
“And we won’t ignore what our intelligence agencies have determined to be the most lethal terrorist threat to the homeland today, white supremacist terrorism,” he said “We’re not going to ignore that either.” Biden during his campaign to unseat former President Donald Trump accused Trump of stoking white supremacist tendencies and deadly attacks with his rhetoric and of ignoring the white supremacist threat. Trump came under fire for cutting programs targeting and tracking white supremacists.
Biden referred briefly to his efforts to reenter the Iran nuclear deal, a plan Israel vigorously opposes. Trump quit the deal in 2018, saying it was inadequate to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons; Biden says the deal is the most practical means of preventing a nuclear Iran. Biden has said he is committed to consulting closely with Israel and other regional allies in entering the deal. “On Iran and North Korea’s nuclear programs that present a serious threat to America’s security and the security of the world – we are going to be working closely with our allies to address the threats posed by both of these countries through diplomacy as well as stern deterrence,” he said.
Main Photo: US President Joe Biden, flanked by US Vice President Kamala Harris (on the left and Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi , smiles as he addresses a joint session of Congress at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on April 28, 2021. (Doug Mills /Pool/AFP via Getty Images)