09242018What's Hot:

Biden mocks Trump for denying Puerto Rico death toll

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is mulling a 2020 run for the presidency, is no stranger to President Donald Trump. | Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden mocked President Donald Trump on Thursday for questioning Puerto Rico’s official death toll from Hurricane Maria.

Biden, in a speech in Washington on labor and the economy, contested the pair of tweets that Trump wrote earlier in the day, in which the president said that “3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico” and that Democrats had fabricated the number, engaging in “bad politics” to tarnish his reputation. The former vice president accused Trump of willingly ignoring the issues facing the United States.

Story Continued Below

“By the way, there’s no problems in America, everybody is doing well, things are fair and decent, and no one died in Puerto Rico,” Biden quipped in his introductory remarks.

As the initial waves of Hurricane Florence lashed the Carolinas early Thursday, Trump was unable to move on from criticism of the federal response to Maria, which hit Puerto Rico in September 2017 and resulted in close to 3,000 deaths. The official death count swelled from 64 after the release of an independent study from The George Washington University that the Puerto Rican government ordered.

Trump has doubled down on praise for his administration’s response, calling it an “incredible, unsung success” on Tuesday.

Biden, who was the keynote speaker at an event on wages hosted by the Century Foundation, an economic think tank, also drew a connection between the anxieties of workers and what he sees as a rise in American populism.

“People being able to earn a fair minimum wage is the ultimate antidote to all of this foolishness that’s going on, with this phony populism and this naked nationalism that’s being promulgated,” he said. “When things are tough economically for people who work hard, there are sometimes charlatans that come along to try to find a reason for those people to blame whatever is happening to them on the other, on the immigrant, on that black man or woman.”

Biden distinguished between the unemployment numbers often cited by Trump and the conditions under which Americans work, including the lack of collective bargaining and the inability of families to afford the rising cost of living.

Donald Trump

Research from the Economic Policy Institute released on Thursday in partnership with the Century Foundation showed that wages have been growing slowly and unequally in the past four decades. According to the research, wages have increased 0.4 percent per year, on average, when adjusted for inflation.

Biden, who is mulling a 2020 run for the presidency and has clashed with Trump before, also criticized Washington politicians for being “elitist” and thinking they should not listen to the concerns of middle- and lower-income workers. He admitted that the Democratic Party had ignored “the lack of the ability of the average worker to bargain for their wages” as a significant concern in politics.

“In both parties, occasionally, we’ve been elitist and think if they’re high school-educated folks, they don’t really understand what’s going on,” the former vice president said. “But they understand. People are listening and they’re afraid. And when they are working one or two jobs and they’re still in trouble … they’re susceptible to demagoguery.”

This article tagged under:

Missing out on the latest scoops? Sign up for POLITICO Playbook and get the latest news, every morning — in your inbox.

Source: Politics, Policy, Political News Top Stories

comments powered by HyperComments

More on the topic