President Joe Biden said during a town hall Wednesday on CNN that the rest of the world is wondering about the strength of the United States’ democracy because former President Donald Trump caused partisan political division.
Biden said, “The well has been so poisoned over the last four years, and even now, there’s still this lingering effort. A lot of my Republican friends, and I’m not talking about Portman, I’m not talking about your governor, a lot of my Republican friends say, ‘Joe, I know you’re right, but if I do this, I’ll get primaried, and I’ll lose my primary. I’ll be in trouble.’ But I think that’s all beginning to move. I don’t mean overnight.”
He continued, “Now you may not like me, and that’s your right. Look, it’s a simple thing. You can walk out and say I tonight like the way that guy wears his tie. I’m voting against him. You have a right to do that. You have a right to do that. But the kinds of things that are being said of late, I think you’re beginning to see some of the…sort of a venom starting to leak out of a lot of it. We’ve got to get beyond this. What do you say to your grandchildren or your children about what’s happening? Do you ever remember a time like this before in the entire history, whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican? This is not who we are.”
Biden added, “I’ve had a lot of experience internationally, and I mean not good or bad, just I have. I chaired the Foreign Relations Committee. I’ve been deeply involved. I did national security for our last administration with Barack but, folks, the rest of the world is wondering about us. Those of you who travel abroad, it’s not a joke. Not a joke. You know, when I went to this G7, all the major democracies, I walked in, and I said, ‘America’s back.’ I’m serious, heads of state. I give you my word as a Biden. They said, ‘Are you really back? We believe you, Joe, but will the country ever get it together?’ I talked to Xi Jinping in China, who I know well. We don’t agree on a lot of things. He’s a bright and really tough guy. He truly believes that the 21st century will be determined by oligarchs. Democracies can not function in the 21st century. The argument goes because things are moving so rapidly, so, so rapidly that you can’t pull together a nation that is divided to get the consensus on acting quickly. So autocrats, autocracies —I had a long meeting with Putin, I know him well — these guys are betting, I’m not joking, on autocracies. Democracy has to stand up to get something done.”
Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN