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October 18, 2019

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In Las Vegas, Biden says he’s confident he can beat Trump, unify nation

Joe Biden Presidential Campaign Rally in Las Vegas

Christopher DeVargas

Joe Biden meets with supporters during a campaign rally at the East Las Vegas Community Center Friday Sept. 27, 2019.

Joe Biden Presidential Campaign Rally in Las Vegas

Nevada Senator Yvanna Cancela makes a few remarks before introducing former Nevada Governer Bob Miller during a Joe Biden Campaign rally in East Las Vegas Friday Sept. 27, 2019. Launch slideshow »

Former Vice President Joe Biden, in his first trip to Nevada since House Democrats announced an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, told supporters Friday that Trump had violated his oath of office.

A whistleblower complaint alleges that the president used his office to "solicit interference from a foreign country" to help himself in next year's U.S. election. Late Friday, House Democrats took their first concrete steps in the probe, issuing subpoenas demanding documents from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Speaking to a crowd at the East Las Vegas Community Center, Biden stressed the need to act on multiple issues, including gun control, climate change and health care. He also continued positioning himself as a moral alternative to Trump.

“We’ll never restore the American dream if we don’t unify this nation,” he said.

Biden hit hard on climate change, stating that he would immediately rejoin the Paris Climate Accords — an international agreement to act on climate change that Trump pulled the U.S. from — along with providing tax credits for electric vehicles and retrofitting buildings and building 500,000 new electric car charging stations.

“We have to declare war as if we’re being invaded on climate change,” he said.

Biden has hinged his health care proposal on an expansion of the Affordable Care Act, the signature policy passed by former President Barack Obama. Unlike those further to his left ideologically, Biden has eschewed backing a single-payer health care program, instead supporting a public option — a buy-in option for government health care.

Biden reaffirmed his distaste for how Trump handled the 2017 racial conflict in Charlottesville, Va., in which neo-Nazis and white supremacists descended on the town.

“It stunned the world and it shocked America when he said, ‘There were very fine people on both sides,’” Biden said of Trump’s comments, in reference to the white supremacists. “No president in the history of the United States has ever said anything remotely like that.”

Biden was briefly interrupted during his town hall Friday by a protester who held up a sign that said "#MeToo" and called Biden a "predator." The man protesting was grabbed by security and walked out of the building.

The former vice president, who had just begun speaking, picked up where he left off without having much reaction.

Biden focused little on the Trump impeachment inquiry, saying he’d rather focus on issues that matter to voters.

“I’m going to make sure Donald Trump loses and you win,” he said.

Biden, at a fundraiser later Friday added, “He’s trying to pick who the candidate is, but I’m going to beat him like a drum,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.