Video of BTS' meeting with US President Biden, White House visit released

Published June 5, 2022, 10:02 AM

by Jonathan Hicap

US President Joe Biden released on his Twitter account a footage of the visit of K-pop superstars to the White House last May 31.

BTS met President Biden at the White House and discussed anti-Asian hate crimes and discrimination, and marked the Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month.

US President Joe Biden with BTS in the Oval Office on May 31 (White House)

US President Joe Biden and BTS doing a “finger heart” in the Oval Office on May 31 (White House)

BTS in the Oval Office during discussion with US President Joe Biden on May 31 (White House)

President Biden and BTS held a discussion in the Oval Office. Biden told them, “This is an important month here in America. A lot of our Asian American friends have been subject to real discrimination.”

“Hate only hides. When good people talk about it and say how bad it is, it goes down. So thank you,” he said.

RM replied, “We want to say thank you, sincerely, for your decision like such as signing the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act into law. So we just want to be a little help and we truly appreciate the White House and the government’s trying to find solutions.”

“People care a lot about what you say, and what you’re doing is good for all people. It’s not just your great talent, it’s the message you’re communicating. It matters,” Biden said.

In a tweet that accompanied the footage on June 5, Biden posted, “It was great to meet with you this week at the White House, @bts_bighit. The rise in anti-Asian hate crimes requires all of us to stand up, speak out, and give hate no safe harbor. Thanks for all you’re doing. It matters.”

“I figured I’d make you feel at home. You guys are good at this, huh?,” said Biden as he played BTS’ song “Butter.”

The video showed BTS touring the White House with RM saying, “Today we are here to speak with President Biden about anti-Asian hate crimes, Asian inclusion and diversity.”

Before the meeting with Biden, BTS joined the press briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre where members spoke about stopping hate crimes including Asian-American hate crimes, equality and embracing different cultures from around the world.

BTS speaking at the press briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on May 31 (White House)

“As South Korean and Asian, we felt the need to voice ourselves to raise awareness of the issue. As South Korean artists and someone who witnessed transcending barriers such as languages and cultures while traveling abroad or saw (our music) reaching many people worldwide on a tour, we wanted to talk about the power of diversity. We hope there will be more positive cases that differences bring people together,” said Suga in the video.

BTS also met US Vice President Kamala Harris, who said, “When we see hate and prejudice, it’s meant to make people afraid and it’s meant to make people feel alone and therefore without power. When you all speak about it, you speak to people in a way that reminds them they are not alone.”

RM said, “We just want to give back all the love that we got and use our voice like you told us. That’s all we wanted. So today is really, really historical and big day for us.”

“We feel happy to help make a positive impact. And we feel the great responsibility at the same time,” he said.

During the press briefing, Jean-Pierre said, “As many of you know, the President has led a historic whole-of-government approach to combat racism, xenophobia, and tolerance [sic] — intolerance facing AANHPI communities, beginning his first week in office when he issued a presidential memorandum leveraging the power of the federal government to stand against this hate.”

“The President also signed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law; signed an executive order to reestablish the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders; and funded critical research to prevent and address xenophobia against AA and NHPI communities,” she added.

The Stop AAPI Hate organization reported that in the US, “From March 19, 2020 to December 31, 2021, a total of 10,905 hate incidents against Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) persons were reported to Stop AAPI Hate. Of the hate incidents reflected in this report, 4,632 occurred in 2020 (42.5%) and 6,273 occurred in 2021 (57.5%).”

By ethnicity, the report stated that “Chinese Americans continue to report the most hate incidents (42.8%) of all ethnic groups, followed by Korean (16.1%), P/Filipinx (8.9%), Japanese (8.2%), and Vietnamese Americans (8.0%).”