Appearing Saturday at the Human Rights Campaign's (HRC) 22nd annual national dinner, former Vice President Joe Biden took several swipes at President Donald Trump's record on LGBT rights and recognized the valedictorian who was kicked out of his house because of his sexual orientation.

Alluding to Trump, Biden told the crowd that “forces of intolerance remain determined to undermine and roll back the progress you have made.”

“Instead of using the full might of the executive branch to secure justice, dignity and safety for all, the president uses the White House as a literal bully pulpit, callously exerting his power over those who have little or none,” he added.

Biden also said that Trump's response to the rally in Charlottesville pushed him to break his silence on the new administration.

“Barack [Obama] and I agreed to remain silent for a while to give this administration a chance to get up and running the first year. God forgive me,” he said, making the sign of the cross to applause.

“But I could not remain silent after Charlottesville,” he said, referring to Trump saying that “both sides” were responsible for the death of a young woman protesting a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville last year.

“This is about basic decency,” Biden said. “This is deadly earnest. We are in a fight for America's soul.”

Biden also recognized Seth Owen, the 18-year-old Jacksonville, Florida gay valedictorian who was rejected by his parents. A GoFundMe page set up by a former teacher raised more than six times the money he needed to attend his first year at Georgetown University. Later, the school decided to give Owen a full scholarship.

“Be strong, man,” Biden told Owen, who was in the audience. “We're proud of you. I have your back. We have your back. The country has your back. Be proud.”

Biden also talked about his son, Beau Biden, who died of brain cancer in 2015. As the attorney general of Delaware, Beau Biden was a vocal supporter of same-sex marriage.

“The reason my son felt so strongly about this, and Jill and I do. He died of cancer, a terrible disease,” Biden said. “This is a disease and a plight on America. This disease of homophobia. And we can end it.”

At Saturday's event, HRC honored actress Anne Hathaway for her activism.

(Related: Anne Hathaway loves LGBT community for its “freedom.”)