Trump 'an existential threat': Biden to take aim at the president as they cross paths in Iowa

Image: Joe Biden
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks on June 6, 2019, in Atlanta. Copyright John Bazemore AP
By Garrett Haake and Allan Smith with NBC News Politics
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If Trump is elected to a second term, "he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation," Biden will say.


DAVENPORT, Iowa — Former Vice President Joe Biden will cross paths with President Donald Trump as the Democratic presidential candidate barnstorms through Iowa on Tuesday — and he wants to use that backdrop to contrast himself with the president.

Biden, who is taking a two-day trip to the state, will lambaste the president in a wide-ranging speech in Davenport on Tuesday evening, hammering the president on everything from his character to his attempts to nullify the Affordable Care Act, and from his handling of climate change to his trade policies.

Trump, meanwhile, will deliver remarks in Council Bluffs on Tuesday before speaking at a Republican Party fundraiser in West Des Moines.

"You know, Donald Trump and I are both in Iowa today," Biden is set to say at his Davenport event, according to prepared remarks released by his campaign. "It wasn't planned that way, but I hope Trump's presence here will be a clarifying event."

The former vice president will say farmers and manufacturers "have been crushed" by Trump's trade war. Pointing to the deal Trump recently announced with Mexico to stave off tariffs he promised if that country did not do more to stem the flow of migration toward the U.S., Biden will say "maybe there's some secret development yet to be revealed — but based on what we know, it seems more like old wine in new bottles."

Biden will criticize Trump's understanding of tariffs — which the president called "beautiful" during a CNBC interview on Monday — and his grasp of economics entirely, saying the president "doesn't get the basics."

Trump "thinks his tariffs are being paid by China," Biden will say. "Any beginning econ student at Iowa or Iowa State could tell you that the American people are paying his tariffs. The cashiers at Target see what's going on — they know more about economics than Trump."

Biden will pledge to repeal the tax cuts Trump signed into law and said his opposition to the Affordable Care Act will be the president's ultimate demise, pointing to Republican losses in the 2018 midterms.

"But time and time again, on issue after issue, Trump makes the wrong choices," Biden will say. "He is motivated by the wrong thing."

Saying there are "a lot of ways Trump fails the basic standard to be president," Biden will add, "but one of them is this: Donald — it's not about you. It's about America."

"This president is setting a standard for crude language and embarrassing behavior that is burrowing deep into this culture — and it's going to take a long time to get rid of it," Biden added.

Biden has been a favorite target of Trump's early in the 2020 campaign cycle as polling shows the former vice president with an initial lead over his Democratic rivals. Late last month, Trump tweeted that he "smiled" after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "called Swampman Joe Biden a low IQ individual, & worse," later telling reporters in Japan that he agreed with Kim's assessment.

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