Joe Biden performed his own version of a Texas two-step at a campaign stop in San Antonio on Friday night, letting a crowd of supporters drown out a protester who confronted him on Ukraine — before the ex-vice president could answer — and then continuing his rhetorical attack on President Donald Trump.
“America can overcome four years of Donald Trump’s chaos and corruption, but if re-elected it will forever fundamentally change the character of who we are as a nation,” Biden told the crowd.
“We can’t let this happen. This election is about the soul of our nation and Donald Trump has poisoned our soul.”
Soon a man in the crowd — not shown on camera — interjected to ask: “What about corruption in Ukraine?”
The reference was to Biden’s past dealings in the country, where his son, Hunter Biden, reportedly held a seven-figure job with Ukraine’s largest natural gas company, Burisma Holdings.
At the same time, the elder Biden — as vice president under Barack Obama — was leading an effort to oust a Ukrainian prosecutor who was investigating the company, raising concerns about a possible conflict of interest.
The Bidens’ history in Ukraine has been a growing concern for the White House and Republicans as Democrats in Congress pursue the possible impeachment of President Trump over a July phone call in which the president allegedly tried to make an announcement of a Ukraine investigation into the Bidens a condition for the country’s new administration to receive military aid from the U.S.
But before Biden could address the Ukraine question on Friday, the crowd booed the protester and began to chant, “We want Joe!”
Biden seemed to follow the crowd’s lead.
“This man represents Donald Trump very well. He’s just like Donald Trump,” Biden said of the protester, who appeared to leave the event, with the crowd waving goodbye to him — though it was unclear if he chose to leave or if he was forced out either by security or other attendees.
“A great American,” Biden continued. “Just let him go. … Don’t hurt … Just let him go. … This is not a Trump rally. This is a real rally.”
Joe Biden holds a community event in San Antonio, Texas.
Posted by WZTV FOX 17 News, Nashville on Friday, December 13, 2019
With Texas considered a battleground state in the 2020 presidential race, Biden refrained from side-swiping any other top-tier Democratic rivals despite tightening polls ahead of February’s primary and caucus in New Hampshire and Iowa, respectively, the first times voters will actually help determine the party’s nominee for the White House.
With the protester gone, Biden resumed his verbal attack on Trump.
“As my mother would say, God bless me. Bless me, Father, for I have sinned,” Biden said, making the sign of the cross before continuing his rebuke of the president.
Biden then seemed to imply that Trump was responsible for the August 3 shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, that left 22 people dead.
“Remember in ’18, [Trump] claimed there was an invasion of Latinos coming across the border? ‘They’re going to invade and pollute America,'” Biden said. “Well, guess what? The words presidents say matter. It didn’t take long after that, that a guy down in El Paso walked into a parking lot and gunned down a lot of innocent people and he says, ‘I’m doing it to prevent the invasion of Texas by Hispanics.’”
Authorities said the suspect, Patrick Crusius, 21, of Allen, Texas, had written a manifesto that said the shooting was fueled by fear of an “invasion” by illegal immigrants, adding that the city’s large Hispanic population played a part in their targeting. In October, Crusius pleaded not guilty in connection with the shooting and was due to return to court November 7.
Trump condemned the shooting as “an act of cowardice” on Twitter, adding, “I know that I stand with everyone in this Country to condemn today’s hateful act. There are no reasons or excuses that will ever justify killing innocent people.”
Today’s shooting in El Paso, Texas, was not only tragic, it was an act of cowardice. I know that I stand with everyone in this Country to condemn today’s hateful act. There are no reasons or excuses that will ever justify killing innocent people….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 4, 2019
San Antonio, where Biden spoke Friday, is the city where long-shot Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro served as mayor before joining Obama’s administration as secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
Speaking at an event in Iowa last week, Biden called a man a “damn liar” after he took a swipe at son Hunter’s role on the board of a controversial Ukrainian natural gas firm.
“You sent your son over there to get a job and work for a gas company where he had no experience,” the man began during the heated question-and-answer session at the forum in New Hampton. “In order to get access for the president … you’re selling access to the president just like he was.”
Biden fired back: “You’re a damn liar, man. That’s not true and no one has ever said that.”
The claim that Biden “sent” his son to Ukraine for a job at Burisma is not accurate.
Someone appeared to attempt to take the microphone away from the man in the audience, but Biden stopped the person, saying, “Let him go.”
“No one has said my son has done anything wrong and I did not, on any occasion,” he continued, only to be cut off by the man in the audience who shouted that he “never said” Biden was “doing anything wrong.”
Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this Fox News report, which is used by permission.
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