Former Vice President Joe Biden doubled down on his condemnation of President Donald Trump’s politics during his official campaign kickoff on Saturday in Philadelphia, branding himself as a candidate who will foster unity.
“Our politics traffic in division and our president is the divider-in-chief,” Biden told a cheering crowd.
The 2020 hopeful, who hails from Scranton, chose to hold his first rally in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania, which was integral to Trump’s 2016 win and will remain crucial as Biden jockeys for the Oval Office within a crowded field of contenders.
Emphasizing the need for unity, the Democrat dismissed the notion “that the angrier a candidate can be, the better chance he or she has to win the Democratic nomination.”
“Well, I don’t believe it,” he said. “I believe Democrats want to unify this nation. That’s what our party’s always been about.”
Though he attempted to distance himself from hostile politics in his speech, Biden took a handful of shots at the president as he continued his remarks, rebuking Trump’s behavior while in office.
“If the American people want a president to add to our division, to lead with a clenched fist, a closed hand, a hard heart, to demonize your opponents, to spew hatred ― they don’t need me,” Biden declared. “They’ve got President Donald Trump.”
“I’m running to offer our country ― Democrats, Republicans and Independents ― a different path,” Biden added.
Biden raised similar criticisms of the president in his April campaign launch video, which began with a denunciation of Trump’s weak response to deadly violence at a rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.
Throughout his speech, the candidate focused less on specific policy matters than he did on what he felt is a common purpose among the left ― beating Trump. Biden called it “the single most important thing we have to accomplish.”
Following on the heels of Biden’s visit, Trump will head to Lycoming County on Monday, which lies near the center of the state, for a rally of his own.