Ten African-American people were killed there on Saturday in a supermarket by a white man with an assault rifle, “a racist hate crime” according to the authorities.
The 79-year-old Democrat, accompanied by his wife Jill Biden, will put on his chief comforter costume, his character and his personal history, marked by family bereavements, lead to empathy.
“He wants to share (the) mourning” of families and “bring comfort”, said his spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre on Monday.
But the president will also, once again, see his helplessness in the face of a country plagued by racial hatred and gun violence.
“We must work together to fight the hate that remains a stain on America’s soul,” Joe Biden said on Sunday.
– ‘Soul of America’ –
He had decided to start the race for the White House after seeing the ultra-right parading in August 2017 in Charlottesville (Virginia, south). A young woman was killed after a neo-Nazi sympathizer drove into a group of anti-racist protesters.
Joe Biden has never ceased since his election to invoke the “soul” of an America which would be, in essence, united.
But when it comes to taking action, the Democratic president does not have many levers.
On paper, his party controls, at least until the legislative elections in November, the Congress, but the Democratic majority is too thin to undertake major reforms.
Like New Zealand, which banned semi-automatic weapons after the massacre of 51 Muslims in Christchurch in 2019, Joe Biden, for example, regularly calls on Congress to legislate on assault weapons, in vain so far. .
According to the Gun Violence Archive, the United States has experienced more than 200 “mass shootings” since the beginning of the year, in which at least four people were injured or killed.
Joe Biden is also struggling to defend, as he promised, the African-American community or other minorities, in a country which has experienced several racist killings: Buffalo, El Paso in 2019 (23 dead including a majority people of Hispanic origin), Charleston in 2015 (nine African Americans killed in a church), Pittsburgh (11 deaths in a synagogue in 2018), or Atlanta (eight people including six women of Asian origin in 2021).
The president appointed a government team representing all minorities, and pushed to Supreme Court Ketanji Brown Jackson, the institution’s first black woman.
At the end of March, he also signed a law making lynching a federal crime, adopted after more than a century of failed attempts.
– The “ultra MAGA” Republicans –
But Joe Biden failed to pass federal legislation protecting access to the ballot box for minorities, threatened in the southern states, in the hands of the Republicans.
The Democrat has recently hardened his rhetoric against Republicans won over to the ideas of former President Donald Trump.
Will he use this trip to Buffalo to publicly point out the responsibility of those he calls the “ultra MAGA” (for “Make America Great Again”, the slogan of the Trump years)? Will he join the voices denouncing the influence of Tucker Carlson, star host of the Fox News channel and figure of the radical right?
Liz Cheney, elected Republican but fierce opponent of Donald Trump, attacked on Twitter the leadership of the party, which has “allowed (the expression) of white nationalism, white supremacism and anti-Semitism.”
Chuck Schumer, leader of the Democrats in the House of Representatives, judges him “increasingly difficult to ignore that the theory of the great replacement and other views of racist inspiration (…) are legitimized by certain MAGA Republicans and television experts.
“We must condemn in the strongest terms the politicians and media personalities who, to gain votes or boost their audience, have used their platforms to promote and normalize the Great Replacement Theory and other outright racist, anti- Semitic and nativist,” former President Barack Obama said on Twitter.