Former VP Joe Biden gives no hint of 2020 plans at Penn
Former Vice President Joe Biden gave his take on current events but didn't shed light on whether he is running for president.
Former Vice President Joe Biden took questions at the University of Pennsylvania on Tuesday but didn’t shed any light on the most anticipated query:
Will he run for president in 2020?
Biden instead offered his signature mix of caution and courage, repeatedly warning about xenophobia taking hold here and America’s declining reputation among allies abroad, while insisting this country can accomplish anything.
“It’s time to get up. Get off our knees. Remember who we are,” Biden told a packed Irvine Auditorium at the close of more than an hour of remarks. “Name me another country that has the capacity and the ability to do what we can do.”
“Run for president,“ a student shouted as Biden posed for photos with university president Amy Gutmann, who had asked him questions and then posed some written questions from students. “The Question” was not mentioned.
Biden, who recently returned from a European trip, lamented President Donald Trump’s “rooting for” destabilizing the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
”Which is the dumbest thing in the world,” Biden said before hushing the laughter in the crowd. “No, I mean it. Seriously.”
He also decried Trump’s immigration policies as “hysteria at our southern border.”
”It’s about xenophobia,” Biden said. “That’s not healthy.”
During the event, sponsored by the Penn Biden Center, the always avuncular former vice president even pitched his granddaughter, Maisy (“a great athlete”), as a prospective student.
”You know I don’t do admissions,” Gutmann joked in response.
Biden had been expected to make an announcement about 2020 by now, but has sat back and watched his fellow Democrats crowd into the primary. In a speech last month to the U.S. Conference of Mayors during the longest partial government shutdown in national history, Biden urged an end to political division in America while joking that he might be blamed in a presidential run for getting along with Republicans.
Biden, 76, was born in Scranton and represented Delaware in the U.S. Senate for 36 years before he took office as vice president in 2009, serving for two terms as President Barack Obama’s second chair. Since the election of Trump, much of the Democratic electorate has moved to the left of the centrist Biden, but he remains popular.
An average of national polls, compiled by the website RealClearPolitics, shows Biden holding a strong lead, but with the field wide open, in the Democratic presidential race. Biden ranks first in the polling at 27.3 percent, ahead of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a socialist independent from Vermont, who held 17 percent.
Sanders, who finished second to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primary for president, entered the 2020 race Tuesday in an email to supporters and with a video posted online.
U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California ranked third in the average of national polling at 10.8 percent. The rest of the crowded Democratic field still has not reached double digits in the polling.