WASHINGTON, DC — The ever-widening field of 2020 Democratic candidates grew yet again this weekend, but it was a slip of the tongue from former vice president Joe Biden that’s garnering attention.
“I have the most progressive record of anybody running for — anybody who WOULD run,” Biden told an audience in Dover, Delaware.
One of Biden’s friends, Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), also added to the speculation saying on ABC’s This Week, “I’m very optimistic that Joe Biden will soon formally announce his campaign for the presidency.”
A long political career could mean more than a few stumbling blocks for Biden. He’s going to have to answer questions about everything from his role in the Anita Hill testimony to his voting record.
In a #MeToo era, some political insiders say Biden has to apologize to Hill for not doing more to protect her during his role as Senate Judiciary Chairman during her 1991 testimony.
Biden has expressed regret over the hearings, but not offered a direct apology.
“It’s become sort of a running joke in the household when someone rings the doorbell, and we’re not expecting company,” Hill told Elle Magazine in December.
“‘Oh,’ we say, ‘Is that Joe Biden coming to apologize?'” she continued.
Biden also voted for The Defense of Marriage Act, a measure defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman in ’90s. That could be a problem for some pro-LGBT Democrats.
Polls show, however, Biden remains the number one pick for Democratic voters.
“He has a real and solid record of stepping forward and being a champion for civil rights, for women’s rights,” Coons defended.
In a separate interview, Coons wondered why so many were focusing on Biden’s decisions from decades ago and not the president’s more recent conduct.
Meanwhile, Democrats are using President’s Trump’s response to a question on white nationalism to raise questions about his role in violent attacks. The president was asked if he saw white nationalism as a rising threat around the world.
“I don’t really. I think it’s a small group of people who have very, very serious problems,” Trump responded.
Critics compared it to his tepid response during the aftermath of the Charlottesville, VA white nationalist rally in 2017.
Time and time again, this president has embraced and emboldened white supremacists—and instead of condemning racist terrorists, he covers for them. This isn’t normal or acceptable. We have to be better than this. https://t.co/pniU3l0wte
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) March 15, 2019
Presidential contender Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who announced her candidacy Sunday, tweeted, “Time and time again, this president has embraced and emboldened white supremacists—and instead of condemning racist terrorists, he covers for them.”
Fellow contender Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) doesn’t blame the president directly for the attack but says pivotal moments call for a stronger response from the nation’s leader.
“His rhetoric doesn’t help,” Klobuchar told CNN’s State of the Union. “He, at the very least, should be giving strong statements, public speeches, defending Muslims in this world… One of our jobs as a leader is to stand up whether people are Jewish, whether they’re Muslim, no matter how they worship, no matter what they look like.”
Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney says trying to make this about the president is simply politics.
“The president is not a white supremacist… To simply ask the question every time something like this happens overseas or even domestically, to say ‘oh my goodness, it must somehow be the president’s fault’ speaks to a politicization of everything that I think is undermining sort of the institutions that we have in the country today,” Mulvaney told Fox News Sunday.
“Let’s take what happened in New Zealand for what it is. A terrible, evil tragic act,” he continued.