RENO — Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden offered up an extended attack against President Donald Trump at a campaign stop Wednesday, rebuking the president for an “abuse of power” in seeking to enlist foreign governments and deploy his own agencies to smear Biden and his family “in the service of his re-election.”
It was the former vice president’s strongest language to date on revelations regarding Trump’s conversations with the president of Ukraine that have prompted Congress to launch a formal impeachment inquiry. Biden addressed supporters while reading from prepared remarks in a 20-minute appearance at Truckee Meadows Community College on his first campaign stop in Northern Nevada.
Biden linked Trump’s accusations against his son, Hunter Biden, with the president’s embrace of Russia and President Vladimir Putin in spite of actions that included Russia’s “illegal annexation” of Crimea. Trump has attacked the younger Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine, persisting even as the accusations have been widely refuted, including by Ukrainian officials.
“Trump and his emissaries have sought regrettably to extort existential fears of the Ukrainian leaders for political advantage,” Biden said. “Now, because of the courageous actions of a whistleblower, the Trump scheme has been exposed, and in many cases already acknowledged by him. He did it because like every bully in history, he’s afraid. He’s afraid of just how badly he may be beaten in November.”
He added later, “I’ll put my integrity of my whole career in public service to this nation up against his long record of lying, cheating, stealing any day of the week.”
Though he eventually turned to more routine campaign topics, Biden never let up on attacking Trump:
On climate change: “It’s not possible for Trump to do any more for the fossil fuel industry,” Biden said. We’re facing an existential crisis … and he’s singlehandedly standing in the way.”
On health care: “Trump has relentlessly and cynically attacked Obamacare,” Biden said. “He has no replacement for it. He just wants it gone.”
On gun safety: Biden touted his long advocacy for tougher gun laws and said, “I’m not surprised that the head of the NRA met with Trump.”
“I’m not going to be distracted by all his lies, smears, distortions and name-calling. I’m going to let Congress do its job on impeachment,” Biden said toward the end of his remarks.
He closed by saying he agreed with his Democratic opponents who say “we have to do more than just beat Donald Trump. … We have to beat him like a drum.”