Former Vice President Joe Biden announced his 2020 presidential bid on Thursday morning with a video warning that four more years of President Trump would “forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation.”
Trump responded in a tweet.
“Welcome to the race Sleepy Joe,” the president wrote. “I only hope you have the intelligence, long in doubt, to wage a successful primary campaign. It will be nasty — you will be dealing with people who truly have some very sick & demented ideas. But if you make it, I will see you at the Starting Gate!”
Biden’s video, posted to YouTube, is largely focused on Trump’s response to the deadly August 2017 white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, Va., where 32-year-old counterprotester Heather Heyer was killed.
“And that’s when we heard the words of the president of the United States that stunned the world and shocked the conscience of this nation,” Biden says. “He said there were ... ‘some very fine people on both sides.’ Very fine people on both sides? With those words, the president of the United States assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it. And in that moment, I knew the threat to this nation was unlike any I had ever seen in my lifetime.”
The core values of this nation… our standing in the world… our very democracy...everything that has made America -- America --is at stake. That’s why today I’m announcing my candidacy for President of the United States. #Joe2020 https://t.co/jzaQbyTEz3
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) April 25, 2019
At the time, Biden said, the events in Charlottesville convinced him we were in a “battle for the soul of this nation.” He predicted “history will look back on four years of this president and all he embraces as an aberrant moment in time.”
“But if we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation, who we are,” the former vice president added. “And I cannot stand by and watch that happen.”
Biden, who ran unsuccessfully for president in 1988 and 2008, considered running in 2016 but for personal reasons — the death of his son Beau — did not enter the race. He has said he regrets that decision.
His bid comes after months of speculation surrounding his plans and accusations by seven women who said that he touched them inappropriately. Biden declined to apologize, and even joked about the allegations, but promised to do a better job of recognizing people’s “personal space.” (Trump mocked Biden’s response with a doctored video that showed a superimposed Biden “massaging” his own shoulders.)
The 76-year-old enters the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential field as the early favorite.
According to a Politico/Morning Consult poll released this week, Biden (30 percent) holds a 6-point advantage over Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., (24 percent) among likely Democratic primary voters.
And Biden also leads Trump by 8 points among registered voters, with 42 percent preferring the former vice president to 34 percent who would prefer Trump in their theoretical head-to-head matchup.
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