Miranda Alam / Special to the Sun
Saturday, July 20, 2019 | 7:01 p.m.
Former Vice President Joe Biden didn’t hide his criticism of President Trump during a campaign visit to Las Vegas on Saturday, telling supporters his presidency would return the nation to normalcy.
Biden briefly spoke at the start of a campaign phone bank before addressing a crowd in downtown Las Vegas. He was critical of Trump’s actions while in office, such as his refusal to fully condemn participants in a deadly white supremacy rally in Charlottesville, Va., and Trump’s recent call to “send back” some congresswomen of color.
“I’m running for president because I believe that we are — literally, not figuratively — in a battle for the soul of the country,” he said.
Biden discussed Trump’s recent rally in North Carolina, in which attendees chanted “send her back” in reference to Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, who was born in Somalia. He called Trump’s reelection strategy “morally bankrupt” and said it was built on vilifying immigrants.
“This guy is a lot more George Wallace than George Washington,” he said, referencing the former racist governor of Alabama from the 1940s who proclaimed, “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”
In both Las Vegas stops, Biden stressed his support of the middle class, stressing the need for further education to cement middle class jobs.
“Wall Street didn’t build America,” he said. “The middle class built America, and unions built the middle class.”
Biden was accompanied to both events by Las Vegas area politicians.
State Sen. Yvanna Cancela, D-Las Vegas, introduced Biden at the phone bank kickoff, touting his support of the middle class and saying that he has the experience to fix the mess Trump has made.
“I believe in Joe Biden because he has courage,” she said. “And he has the political courage that we need now more than ever.”
Cancela was an early supporter of Biden, officially endorsing the him on April 25, the day he entered the race for the Democratic nomination.
Nevada Congresswoman Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, introduced Biden during the second event, stressing both that Trump’s agenda is “toxic” for Nevada and that Biden has significant experience in Washington.
“This is a person who knows Nevada, knows Congress, knows the White House and is known around the world and respected,” Titus said.
Biden outlined other campaign promises, including finding a legal path forward for undocumented immigrants, protecting and building on Obamacare, reversing Trump’s 2017 tax cut and rejoining the Paris Climate Accord.
Presidential polls have been tightening near the top, but Biden has remained the frontrunner both in Nevada and nationwide. Most polls have Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, or Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, in second-place.
Sanders and Warren are both less traditional Democratic politicians than Biden. Asked during the event how he would appeal to younger people who may lean more left than other demographics, Biden said that he didn’t see voters in the Millennial generation as “radical”
“The vast majority of this generation is smart as hell,” he said. “They’re the single-best educated in American history.”
Biden reiterated during his speech that Nevada is high on his priority list for the campaign.
“You guys hold the key,” he said. “The key to the gate, and that’s the nomination.”