Just a day after Joe Biden entered the 2020 election race, the former vice president and President Donald Trump have already locked horns on Trump’s Charlottesville protest remarks that enraged Democrats two years ago. Game on.
Biden angered the right and dragged Trump into a two-year-old battle when he hammered the president’s response to a white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, in a campaign video released on Thursday.
Specifically, Biden trashed Trump for stating that there “were very fine people on both sides” in Charlottesville. By his comments, the former vice president accused Trump of tarnishing “the core values of this nation.”
“‘Very fine people on both sides?’ With those words, the president of the United States assigned a moral equivalency between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it,” Biden said in his video address, over ominous images of torch-bearing protesters waving swastikas and Confederate flags.
Biden had conveniently forgotten to mention that Trump explicitly “condemned totally” the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who had turned up at the protests, adding that the “fine people” he spoke about were in Charlottesville to protest the taking down of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee.
“I was talking about people that went because they felt very strongly about the monument to Robert E. Lee, a great general, whether you like it or not,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday, shooting down questions from the media.
The president, who immediately nicknamed the former VP “sleepy joe” on Thursday, fired off another jibe at Biden before departing the White House on Friday, targeting his 76-year-old rival’s age.
“I feel like a young man,” the 72-year-old president told reporters. “I am a young, vibrant man. I look at Joe, I don’t know about him.”
“I would never say anyone’s too old,” Trump continued, smiling at the cameras. “But I know they’re all making me look very young, both in terms of age and in terms of energy.” Biden’s main Democratic rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders, is the oldest candidate in the field, at 77 years old.
Likely anticipating a challenge from Biden, Trump taunted his rival earlier this month, before his announcement. With Biden attempting to handle accusations of inappropriate groping and, bizarrely, sniffing, from multiple women, Trump tweeted a fan-made meme video featuring the handsy former VP fondling himself, along with the caption “WELCOME BACK JOE.”
Video footage of Biden groping women and children at Washington events has circulated online for years. However, the latest media furor over Biden’s behavior has hardly dented his popularity. According to a recent Politico poll, Biden currently enjoys a lead over all 19 other Democratic candidates, and over Trump himself by a margin of eight points.
With a year and a half yet to go before the 2020 election, Trump’s tweet on Thursday is likely prophetic: “It will be nasty.”