The president, amid plummeting poll numbers in key swing states, said the “entire” career of former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has been “a gift for the Chinese Communist Party.”
He went on to paint many of the foreign policies Mr Biden supported as VP and a senator as against America’s interest and helping China. Mr Trump also said the former vice president’s policy platform would “demolish” the US economy, which has shed tens of millions of jobs during Mr Trump’s handling of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Donald Trump on Tuesday announced he signed an executive order ending Hong Kong’s favoured trading status after a new Chinese law his administration says vastly erodes Hong Kong’s autonomy. He also signed bipartisan legislation slapping sanctions on China over its Hong Kong policy.
What transpired in the White House’s Rose Garden was an aggrieved president pivoting to hard line rhetoric and appearing to understand the uphill fight he has to win a second term. At one point, he said his travel ban keeping some from Muslim-majority countries closes America to “jihadist regions.” He accused Mr Biden of proposing to “abolish police” and “abolish prisons.”
The president used most of the opening minutes of what was billed as a press conference to hammer Mr Biden – and didn’t let up.
Not only did he paint him as in China’s pocket, he said his opponent has been a “friend” of the US adversary for decades. He accused Mr Biden of advocating policies that would allow millions of immigrants to pour into the United States, including “to get Welfare benefits.”
“If we had listened to Joe Biden” millions more US lives would have been lost to coronavirus than the over 135,000 that have died under Mr Trump’s watch, the president said.
The thinly masked campaign speech, funded by taxpayers at the executive mansion, also featured Mr Trump attacking his general election foe for failing to upgrade the country’s roads, bridges and other infrastructure. He also said Mr Biden did a poor job leading the Obama administration’s “Swine Flu” response.
The scene in the Rose Garden shocked some former White House officials, including former Obama aide Dan Pfeiffer, who tweeted: “Not for nothing, but Trump using the Rose Garden to give a campaign speech assailing Biden is definitely illegal and his campaign owes the taxpayers a lot of money for this event.”
The Biden campaign responded in real-time to the White House campaign speech.
“Donald Trump is busy trying to rewrite his miserable history as President of caving to President Xi and the Chinese government at every turn, but try as he may, Trump can’t hide from a record of weakness and bad deals that consistently put China first and America last,” the Democrat’s campaign said in a statement.
“At every step of the way, Trump has failed America,” the Biden campaign said. “He failed our values when he endorsed the Chinese government’s repression of basic human rights and crackdown on democracy in Hong Kong, he failed our workers with a bad trade deal, and he failed the American people when he refused to hold the Chinese government accountable for their misleading and incompetent response on COVID-19.”
The president kept on the attack, however.
“Biden sides with China over America time and time again,” Mr Trump said. “He’s so proud of that.”