Vice President Joe Biden says he’s known in Washington as “Middle Class Joe,” a man of the people. So he felt comfortable dropping dozens of zingers aimed straight at Donald Trump Tuesday in Philly.
Biden was stumping for Hillary Clinton at Drexel’s Great Court space just hours after she wrapped up her first presidential debate against Trump. He’s campaigning for Clinton and pushing civic engagement for National Voter Registration Day. (Still need to register to vote in Pennsylvania? You can do so online here. The deadline is Oct. 11.)
And after entering the stage saying “I’m Joe Biden and I work for Hillary Clinton” and throwing out a quick shoutout to Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, he took aim at Trump’s debate performance, the GOP nominee’s tax plan, his failure to release his own tax returns and the impact a Trump presidency could have on “America’s standing in the world.”
Here are six of Biden’s best — yeah, we’ll stick with that term — zingers:
1. ‘Donald Trump is painfully uninformed’
Biden started his talk to students at Drexel by slamming Trump’s performance during last night’s debate, saying the candidate didn’t deny that he doesn’t pay anything in federal taxes and saying that’s an affront to blue-collar Americans.
“Donald Trump is painfully uninformed,” Biden said, “and his policies are not very helpful for this country. But what bothers me about this race — and I know I’m sort of a one-man broken record on this — is how palpable his cynicism is about the American people.
“He acknowledged that he didn’t pay taxes, he said, because he’s smart. It makes him smart. Tell that to the janitor here who’s paying taxes. Tell that to my dad who, when he was alive… paid all his taxes. Tell that to your mothers and fathers breaking their necks to send you here. It angers me.”
2. ‘A rigged system? He is part of the rigged system.’
The vice president painted Trump as an out-of-touch rich guy figure whose policies are aimed exclusively at helping himself and giving Wall Street a boost. He pointed out that Trump’s admitted he’s donated millions to candidates for his own political gain.
“He brags about gaming the system,” Biden said. “A rigged system? He is part of the rigged system.”
3. ‘What in the hell is he talking about?’
Does Donald Trump have the moral center that presidents before him have possessed? That’s the question Biden posed toward the beginning of his talk, hitting again on Trump’s business practices.
Biden brought up that when Trump was a businessman, the housing market crash in 2008 worked out for his real estate business. PolitiFact rated a Clinton claim that said Trump was “hoping” for for a real estate crash Mostly True.
“This is a guy who said that it was good business for him to see the housing market fail,” Biden said. “What in the hell is he talking about?”
4. ‘I heard he’s on the verge of acknowledging gravity.’
Maybe this was a hit on Trump’s past statements claiming global warming is a conspiracy or a Chinese hoax. Maybe it was just some shade-throwing with regard to Trump’s relative lack of experience in the foreign policy arena.
“Im glad Donald Trump found out that, you know, Crimea was part of Ukraine,” he said. “By the way, I heard he was on the verge of acknowledging gravity.”
5. ‘Let me tell you who built this damn country.’
Once again describing Trump as the rich one, Biden said his policies ignore the middle class.
“I know I’m called Middle Class Joe. And in Washington, that means I’m not sophisticated. But let me tell you who built this damn country,” he said, telling the students in the room that the it’s a “historical fact” that America’s middle class is what’s behind the nation’s success on a world stage.
6. ‘He doesn’t represent America.’
Biden said NATO nations have already told the White House they’re concerned a Trump presidency would mean the United States wouldn’t hold up its end of the NATO bargain. The vice president said he’s spent significant time attempting to convince those nations that America will uphold its promises.
“Think of the damage he’s already doing to America’s standing in the world. I don’t know if he thinks it’s a game” Biden said. “He doesn’t represent America. He does not represent our basic fundamental values — the core sense of who we are as a nation.”