Biden rips Trump as ‘charlatan’ (Politico)

Biden rips Trump as ‘charlatan’

http://politi.co/2A7Ko4I

CHICAGO — President Donald Trump is in line with a long history of “charlatans,” but the anxious working-class voters who voted for him “aren’t prejudiced, they’re realistic” about their slipping standard of living, former Vice President Joe Biden declared in a speech here Wednesday.

“Ladies and gentlemen, silence is complicity,” Biden told the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, invoking the white nationalist march in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August as an example of the moral threat he sees to democracy at home and abroad. “I will continue to stand up and speak out.”

Pulling out of international agreements like the Paris climate accord and wavering on the commitment to NATO is “yielding to all the wrong impulses,” Biden said, though he predicted that Congress would step in to limit Trump’s power over the Iran nuclear deal, which the president refused to recertify last month.

Biden also reiterated his defense of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Obama-backed trade deal that was unpopular with supporters of Trump and Bernie Sanders last year. The former vice president relayed a story about the Chinese leaders telling him, in the middle of negotiations over the TPP, that they were so worried the deal would hurt their economy that they might have been interested in joining and submitting to the agreement’s environmental and labor regulations if it had been passed.

Biden has made no decision about whether he’ll run for office again, though there is intense speculation he might jump into the 2020 White House race. Later this month, he’ll launch a book tour for “Promise Me, Dad,” his memoir of his relationship with his late son, Beau.

Biden has been stepping up his criticism of the people who followed the Obama administration in the White House, and his speech here to a very friendly audience dug in deeper. He battered Trump and laid out a vision of how the current administration could either be the beginning of a civilization-ending downfall or a temporary aberration.

“How many of you now, whether you voted for him or not, are beginning to wonder if the roots, the invisible moral fabric that holds everything up, is eroding in a way that’s dangerous for democratic institutions?” Biden said. “If we don’t stand up, the liberal world order we championed will quickly become an illiberal world order we suffer.”

“Today, I worry we’re walking down a very dark path that isolates the United States on the world stage, endangers the American people,” he said, calling Trump’s America-first mentality “closed and clannish,” defined by “ideological incoherence, inconsistent and erratic decision-making.”

Underlying Trump’s politics, Biden charged, is that the current White House blames other people to distract from its tacit acceptance that it is no longer true that America can do anything.

“What the hell has happened?” Biden said.

Biden did not appear at the inaugural Obama Foundation summit taking place simultaneously about a mile away — it was a coincidence he and Barack Obama were in town for separate events, and the former vice president’s speech happened to overlap with Michelle Obama’s time on stage at the Obama Foundation summit. But Biden issued a call to arms similar to the one expressed by his old boss: to encourage people to respond to the political moment by getting more engaged and remembering core American values.

“I’m not pessimistic about the fate of the world. Just get up. Get up. Look at who the hell we are,” Biden said. “The American public has never fallen short.”

He blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin and forces within the United States for manipulating fears among voters, and warned that more of those attacks on American elections will be coming in the 2018 midterms.

But he said that Democrats who’ve decided to write off the voters they lost by calling them racists are making a mistake, pointing out that many of those people live in counties that went for Obama in 2008 and 2012 before flipping to Trump last year. Think about the truck driver who makes $80,000 per year now and can look down the road and doubt that job will be there in 10 years, Biden said.

“They have real fears. It’s not based on race. They voted for a black man two times,” Biden said.

But he argued those voters are wrong to believe that Trump will do anything for them, even as Biden also said that the Democratic Party “is not fully responding to” the needs of those voters.

“How many of you believe the populism of this administration is really directed at helping the plight of the poor?” Biden said.

Biden focused much of his speech on foreign policy, talking extensively about Russia and the way he believes Putin is trying to compensate for what Biden called a second-class military and economy by poking holes in the confidence of those in better shape and by expanding his sphere of influence around the world.

At one point, his voice rose to a sudden shout, a favorite device of his when he wants to make a point.

Once people who live in “the shadow of the bear” begin to question America’s commitments to liberty, Biden said, they will lurch toward a vulnerable crisis mentality. “Without us, no one else, no other nation has the capacity to lead these alliances,” he barked into the microphone.

In a conversation after the speech with Chicago Council President Ivo Daalder, a former Obama administration ambassador to NATO who in introducing Biden warned of the “demise of American leadership,” Biden called on Trump to "grow up" and stop tweeting and to start recognizing the power of his words.

“What the president doesn’t realize is drawing all these red lines on North Korea and then not following up diminishes our power around the world, it sends out signals that are dangerous,” Biden said.

Now seen by some as too old to be the future of the Democratic Party if he does try for a 2020 run, the 74-year-old Biden recalled to Daalder that when he first ran for the Senate in 1972, he wasn’t yet old enough under the Constitution to serve — he turned 30 two weeks after winning.

The spring of the year he graduated law school, Biden said, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were shot, and many young people felt dejected and checked out of politics. He said he’s worried about that same impulse among millennials who feel that Trump has destroyed their interest in politics.

“There’s no place for you to hide, no matter how well you do, no matter how much money you make. You can’t build a wall high enough to guarantee you clean air. You can’t hide enough to not be degraded by your sister not being able to marry the woman she loves. You can’t hide from the fact that you’re diminished when one of your friends is profiled,” Biden said. “You can’t escape.”

Politics

via Politico http://politi.co/2lnbIsw

November 1, 2017 at 12:15PM