Formally launching his third presidential campaign on Saturday, Joe Biden accused Donald Trump of leading America with “a clenched fist, closed hand and a hard heart”.
Biden was scheduled to appear at Eakins Oval in Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon, two days ahead of a Trump rally elsewhere in Pennsylvania, one of the states in which blue-collar swing voters delivered the White House to the Republican in 2016.
According to prepared remarks shared with the media, Biden said: “If the American people want a president to add to our division, to lead with a clenched fist, closed hand and a hard heart, to demonize the opponents and spew hatred – they don’t need me.
“They already have a president who does just that. I am running to offer our country – Democrats, Republicans and independents – a different path.”
Biden called for party unity as the way for Democrats to counter the divisive rhetoric of the Trump presidency.
“Some say Democrats don’t want to hear about unity,” he said. “That they are angry – and the angrier you are, the better. That’s what they are saying to have to do to win the Democratic nomination.
“Well, I don’t believe it. I believe Democrats want to unify this nation. That’s what we’ve always been about. Unity.”
Biden was a senator from Delaware for 36 years and vice-president to Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017. He was a relatively late entrant to the sprawling field seeking the Democratic nomination in 2020, which has now reached 23 candidates.