Monday, June 24, 2019 | ePaper

Former US vice president decries Democratic 'anger'

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Reuters,  Philadelphia  :
Democratic 2020 US presidential candidate and former vice president Joe Biden speaks during a campaign stop in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US on 18 May. Photo: ReutersSeeking to build on early momentum in his 2020 presidential bid, former US vice president Joe Biden on Saturday condemned "anger" within his own Democratic Party and pledged to work to unify the country in the wake of Donald Trump's presidency.
At a rally in downtown Philadelphia, Biden, as he has done throughout the beginning stages of his campaign, made Trump his central target, blasting him as "the divider-in-chief."
But he also chided other Democratic presidential candidates in the field, suggesting that anger toward Trump within his party was not enough to win next year's presidential election.
His message, Biden said, was expressly aimed at Democratic, Republican and independent voters alike.
"Some of the really smart folks say Democrats don't want to hear about unity," he said. "They say Democrats are so angry, and that the angrier your campaign will be, the better chance you have to win the Democratic nomination. Well, I don't believe it."
About 6,000 people attended the rally, which had, by design, the feel of a general-election event. With his poll numbers currently swamping the rest of the Democratic field, Biden has often acted as if his current opponent is Trump and not the other 23 Democrats vying for the party's nomination.
"If the American people want a president to add to our division, to lead with a clenched fist, closed hand, a hard heart, to demonize the opponents and spew hatred - they don't need me, they've got President Donald Trump," Biden told the crowd, which was bookended by large video monitors.
Democratic nominating contests begin next February, giving the dynamics of the race plenty of time to shift. But Biden, 76, has opened up a more than 20-point lead over his nearest rival, US senator Bernie Sanders, in several public opinion polls.
Biden, a US senator for 30 years and a two-term vice president under Barack Obama, has argued he is best positioned to take on Trump next year.
Attendees at the event said they agreed.
"He's going to be the one who takes Trump out of office," said Daril Murard, 27, of Langhorne, Pennsylvania. "That's why I'm here." Tim Reihm, 48, drove to the event from his hometown of York, Pennsylvania.

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