Former Vice President Joe Biden said at a Philadelphia fund-raiser Thursday that the country’s moral fabric was being “shredded” by President Donald Trump, and declared he would work as president to “restore the American creed.”
“We have to start choosing truth over lies, hope over fear,” Biden said at a fund-raiser attended by about 150 people at the West Mount Airy home of David L. Cohen, senior executive vice president of Comcast Corp. and a former Democratic operative, and his wife, Rhonda.
The fund-raiser capped Biden’s first official day as a presidential candidate, following the release of a morning video announcing his candidacy and a swing through his hometown of Wilmington. Biden is scheduled to head to Pittsburgh on Monday.
Speaking for about 15 minutes on the Cohens’ back patio to a crowd of elected officials, lawyers, corporate executives, and others, Biden lamented what he described as Trump’s “constant attack[s] on the courts, the press, even the Congress.”
When Biden speaks with world leaders, he said, they say “they’re wondering what has happened to us.”
“Not a joke,” Biden said. “Not a joke.”
Part of the answer to the country’s woes, Biden said, is to start treating each other better. Paraphrasing the 18th-century German philosopher Immanuel Kant, he said, “People should never be treated only as a means to an end, but an end in themselves.”
In addition to restoring the moral character of the country, Biden said, he would restore the middle class and unite the country.
“Economic dignity,” he said, is the key to a healthy country — “not just GDP.”
Guests were asked to contribute up to $2,800, the maximum individual donation for the primary campaign.
Among the attendees were former Gov. Ed Rendell and Democratic members of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation including Reps. Brendan Boyle, Mary Gay Scanlon, Chrissy Houlahan, and Madeleine Dean.
Also on hand were Democratic City Committee Chairman Bob Brady, lawyers Stephen A. Cozen and Kenneth M. Jarin, and Daniel J. Hilferty, chief executive of Independence Blue Cross.
Cohen, in brief remarks, described the fund-raiser as “off the charts, beyond anyone’s expectations, and it doesn’t happen anywhere but in Philadelphia.”
Biden expressed affinity for Philadelphia, saying some of the people who organized the fund-raiser had been on his side since the start of his career in the 1970s.
“You’re the folks who brought me to the dance," he said. "You’ve been with me and made it possible for me to be able to run. Incredible thing about all of you is, you never ask. I really mean it.”
He was introduced by a 2017 University of Pennsylvania graduate, Alexa Salas, who said she was the daughter of Mexican immigrants.
“Joe Biden comes from a working-class family, and has dedicated his career to fighting for all Americans regardless of race, class, gender, and immigration status," she said.