Joe Biden accuses President Trump of abusing powers
He told hundreds of cheering supporters and union activists in Pittsburgh that the US can thrive through increased economic unity.
Joe Biden has used his first public rally as a presidential candidate to accuse Donald Trump of abusing the power of the presidency.
The former vice president said on Monday that President Trump only represents his political base while ignoring the rest of the nation.
He told hundreds of cheering supporters and union activists in Pittsburgh that the US can thrive through increased economic unity, saying: “We can do all of this without punishing anybody.”
“There’s only one thing that stands in our way,” he said. “It’s our broken political system that’s deliberately being undermined by our president to continue to abuse the power of the office.”
He called Mr Trump “the only president who has decided not to represent the whole country. He has his base. We need a president who works for all Americans”.
Earlier in the day, Mr Biden received the endorsement of the International Association of Fire Fighters, and many in the crowd wore union T-shirts and carried signs supporting him.
— Joe Biden (Text Join to 30330) (@JoeBiden) April 25, 2019
The core values of this nation… our standing in the world… our very democracy...everything that has made America -- America --is at stake. That’s why today I’m announcing my candidacy for President of the United States. #Joe2020 https://t.co/jzaQbyTEz3
They repeatedly interrupted him with cries of “We want Joe!” and the candidate declared: “I make no apologies. I am a union man” to sustained applause.
His 40-minute speech swung from vows of union solidarity to broadsides against Mr Trump, but lacked the sharp focus on the president that marked his campaign announcement video last week.
He offered relatively few new themes, instead touching on many of the same promises he made while campaigning for other Democrats around the country in recent months.
But he was unequivocal in his support for unions, saying bolstering them will help Democrats win key battleground states like Pennsylvania in 2020.
Mr Trump, meanwhile, stepped up his criticism of Mr Biden and boasted on Twitter about his own strong support among union members before Mr Biden offered his pro-union message.
Mr Trump won Pennsylvania in surprising fashion in 2016, but Mr Biden promised that his party would improve its standing by bringing the country together, not further dividing it.
Mr Biden now leads national polls of Democratic preference for the party’s 2020 primary, and in Iowa, which votes first in the contest.
He also raised more than any of his roughly 20 rivals in the first 24 hours of their official candidacies. However, his age — 76 — could work against him as the party looks for new blood.