Joe Biden finally made it official, announcing his 2020 bid on Thursday with a stark warning to voters that “The core values of this nation… our standing in the world… our very democracy…everything that has made America – America – is at stake.”
Bad news for TV programs in the heated race to clock the most Dem White House race announcements: Biden announced at 6 AM ET via video that went live on Twitter and Facebook.
Biden wasted no time taking on President Donald Trump, opening with shots of the so-called Unite The Right Rally of 2017 in Charlottesville, in which, Biden said, a torch-bearing crowd of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and Klansmen, “baring the fangs of racism,” chanted “the same antisemitic bile heard across Europe in the ’30s.”
“That’s’ when we heard the words of the President of United States that stunned the world and shocked the conscience of this nation. He said there were ‘some very fine people on both sides’,” assigning moral equivalence “between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it,” Biden said.
“In that moment I knew the threat to this nation was unlike any I’d ever seen in my lifetime… We are in the battle for soul of this nation…If we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation.”
After Thursday’s announcement, Biden will make his first official campaign stop, Pittsburgh, on Monday, followed by a swing through early voting state Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire.
Even before he’s officially in contention, Biden headed the crowded field of Dem hopefuls. Some recent polling put him at 29%, ahead of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in second place at 22% – well ahead of Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former HUD Secretary Julian Castro, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Kamala Harris, former Gov. John Hickenlooper, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Rep. Seth Moulton, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Rep. Eric Swalwell, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, among others.
“Uncle Joe,” as he is sometimes called, enjoys great name recognition from his eight years as President Obama’s Veep. Despite his two previous White House bids, he is considered by some to be the one Dem contender among the many with the broad broad support needed to take on Trump. In his three-decade career in Washington, the former senator from Delaware also is known for having authored the Violence Against Women Act, for having pushed passage of an assault weapons ban, and for coming out in favor of same-sex marriage even before Obama.
But Biden has been under fire this election cycle, since a former Dem nominee for Nevada lieutenant governor said she was made uncomfortable by his unwelcome physical contact at a 2014 campaign event, and other women followed suit. The 76-year-old Biden responded via online video this month, acknowledging “social norms are changing” and his intended “gestures of support and encouragement” made people uncomfortable, vowing to “be more mindful and respectful of people’s personal space.”