OTTUMWA, Iowa – Joe Biden is to take on Donald Trump Tuesday in a wide-ranging speech that lambastes the president on everything from the impact of the tariff war with China to climate change, to the Trump administration’s past attempts to overturn the Affordable Care Act.
The former vice president plans to deliver a lengthy speech directly targeting the president as both he and Trump touch down in different parts of the heartland state.
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“There’s a lot of ways Trump fails the basic standard to be president — but one of them is this: Donald, it’s not about you. It’s about America,” Biden is expected to say later today in an address in Davenport, according to prepared remarks released by the campaign.
“Did he do anything to signal that he’s prepared to walk away from the thugs he’s embraced on the world stage — from Putin to Kin Jung Un? No. He did none of that. Instead, he gets up in the middle of the night to attack Bette Midler. He attacks the mayor of London. He attacks the American Speaker of the House. It was a stunning display of childishness for the whole world to see.”
Biden begins a two-day trip in Iowa on Tuesday, his first time back to the first-in-the-nation caucus state since May 1. His absence from the state since his presidential launch hasn’t gone unnoticed here, particularly over the weekend when Biden missed a major Democratic party event attended by 19 other presidential candidates. Trump is also traveling through Iowa today, delivering remarks in Council Bluffs before speaking at an Iowa Republican Party dinner in West Des Moines.
At least a portion of Biden’s remarks appear designed to stem the criticism he has faced over comments he made about China when he visited Iowa in early May. Then, Biden seemed to dismiss Beijing by saying, “China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man! … They’re not competition for us.”
Trump smacked Biden, calling the comments “very dumb” and some of Biden’s 2020 Democratic primary competitors piled on, too.
On Tuesday, Biden is expected to underscore the challenges the United States faces in its ongoing relationship with China and lay out four points to address it.
“We are in a competition with China. We need to get tough with China. They are a serious challenge to us, and in some areas a real threat,” Biden is expected to say. “And every single step that Donald Trump is taking is only exacerbating the challenge.”
Iowa farmers have been among the hardest hit by an ongoing tariff war with China, experiencing profit losses as both demand for and the value of their products have dropped during the ongoing trade dispute.
“How many sleepless nights do you think Trump has had over what he’s doing to America’s farmers?” Biden is expected to say. “Here’s the answer: Just as many as he had when he stiffed the construction workers and electricians and plumbers who built his hotels and casinos. Zero.”
Biden will propose calling on allies to present a “united front” against “China’s abusive behavior.”
“We need to rally more than half the world’s economy to hold China to account for their cheating. And get a chorus of voices speaking out on China’s repression.”
In his speech, Biden is also expected to hit Trump over climate change, pointing to flooding in parts of Iowa. He’ll also jab Trump over the Affordable Care Act, the signature achievement under the Obama administration.
“Remember when Trump’s Justice Department decided to argue that the Affordable Care Act in its entirety is unconstitutional just a few months ago?” Biden’s remarks say. “Now he’s got his tail between his legs and barely mentions it — doesn’t even tweet about it — because he knows the American people will give him a thrashing in 2020 just like they gave the Republicans in 2018 for trying to get rid of it.”
Biden, who’s led every national poll since he entered the race in late April, is far from the only candidate in a sprawling Democratic field to attack Trump on such issues. But of the 2020 roster of candidates, Biden has demonstrated an uncanny knack for getting under the president’s skin, drawing direct insults and nicknames. Trump even went on an anti-Biden Twitter tear, expressing anger over the International Association of Firefighters’ endorsement of Biden.