GREENVILLE, South Carolina — Former vice president Joe Biden told a town hall meeting Thursday evening that President Donald Trump’s judicial appointees have “no interest whatsoever in the traditional reading of the Constitution.”
He then caught himself and said: “I shouldn’t say ‘whatsoever.’ Don’t add that in there.”
Trump has prided himself on nominating constitutional originalists, who interpret the Constitution and the law through the original text as understood when written. Biden favors a “living Constitution” approach that interprets the Constitution and the law through a “penumbra” of rights beyond those actually provided in the text.
Biden was addressing an audience of about 400 in a local gymnasium to close out his two-day swing through the Palmetto State.
He began with his usual stump speech, claiming that President Trump had called neo-Nazis “very fine people” in “Charlotte” (he meant Charlottesville). In reality, Trump said the neo-Nazis should be “condemned totally.”
Biden added that there was a “direct line” between Trump’s rhetoric on immigration and the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, earlier this month. He cited the shooter’s manifesto — without noting that the shooter said he was not inspired by Trump.
Among other attacks, Biden also claimed that President Trump was abusing executive power, and pledged to restore constitutional checks and balances.
Biden did not mention that all of President Barack Obama’s major achievements after Obamacare were undertaken through executive actions — such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Iran deal, and the Paris Climate Accords — often circumventing Congress and directly contravening congressional will.
At one point in Biden’s attack on the president’s immigration policies, a pro-Trump heckler shouted from the back: “Best president we’ve ever had!”
He and a woman he was with were confronted by security, and escorted out. One Biden supporter tore off the heckler’s hat, though he later retrieved it from the floor.
Reporters later shouted questions at Biden about a Washington Post story Thursday that accused him of telling a “moving but false war story” on the campaign trail. He ignored the media and left the venue.
The former vice president is leading the state polls by a wide margin, thanks partly to his overwhelming support in the African-American community.
He focused his attention on the Upstate area, speaking in Greenville, Spartanburg, Rock Hill, and Gaffney.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.