President Biden said on Tuesday that he had directed Vice President Kamala Harris to lead Democrats in a sweeping legislative effort to protect voting rights, an issue that is critical to his legacy but one that faces increasingly daunting odds in a divided Senate.
“Today, I’m asking Vice President Harris to help these efforts, and lead them, among her many other responsibilities,” Mr. Biden said during a trip to Tulsa, Okla. “With her leadership and your support, we’re going to overcome again, I promise you, but it’s going to take a hell of a lot of work.”
The president was in Oklahoma to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa massacre, when a white mob destroyed a vibrant Black business district and killed as many as 300 people. The massacre was one of the worst outbreaks of racist violence in American history, and it has gone largely ignored in history books.
Mr. Biden told the crowd that he saw the protection of voting rights as one of the most fundamental — and most endangered — pathways to ensure racial equity.