Former Vice President Biden denounced the spread of populism and lingering embrace of hate speech in an enthusiastic commencement address Saturday that took repeated swipes at American under President Trump.
Harping on the current state of affairs, Biden told Cornell graduates that they are about to enter a world "where there are a lot of Americans uncertain and anxious about their futures," and pointed a finger at globalization which "has cost some of them their livelihoods.
He said despite the promise of digitization and rise of artificial intelligence, there is "great anxiety" weighing down middle class Americans.
Turning to the 2016 campaign, Biden decried a reliance on hateful rhetoric that played to people's fears and stirred up "the ugliest realities" and "darkest emotions."
"I thought we had passed the days when it was acceptable for political leaders ... to bestow legitimacy on hate speech," Biden said.
"The world is changing so rapidly, there are a lot of folks out there that are afraid and susceptible to this kind of negative appeal," he said. "We saw the forces of populism, not only here but around the world, call to close our nation's gates against the challenges of a rapidly changing world."
Trump's call to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico got a shout out.
"The immigrant, the minority, the transgender, anyone not like me became a scapegoat. Just build a wall," Biden said.
He also seemed to slam Trump's proposed ban on Muslims entering the U.S. as a candidate and travel bans from Muslim-majority countries as president.
Americans can't be defined based on ethnicity, religion or race, Biden argued. "America is an idea -- that's the uniqueness of who we are," he said.
"I assure you that this is a temporary state of affairs," Biden said. "The American people will not sustain this attitude for long, I promise you," he added to cheers. "It's time for America to get up, it's time to regain our sense of unity and purpose and remember who we are," Biden said, concluding with a call for the country to "wake up."