PORTLAND, Maine — Former Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday night that he thinks the U.S. will “see a significant change” in the next election, taking a few shots at President Donald Trump without naming him while demurring on his 2020 plans.
The Democrat’s visit to Portland’s Merrill Auditorium was part of a tour in support of his recent memoir, “Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship and Purpose,” which centers on the death of his son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, from cancer in 2015.
Biden, 75, who served for 36 years as a senator from Delaware before eight years as Barack Obama’s vice president, has not ruled out a run against the Republican president in 2020. He led Trump in a recent poll from CNN, but he would be the oldest person to ever hold the office.
The former vice president’s speech mostly focused on his personal life, but during an hour-long conversation with former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, Biden denounced a “phony populism” and an “America First notion.” The latter was a reference to a Trump slogan and diplomatic strategy.
His clearest jab at the president came when he admonished Trump for blaming “many sides” for violence at an August white supremacist rally in Virginia, where a counterprotester was killed and many others injured after they were run down by a car.
“I have faith in the American people as they sort this through. They’re not going to have any of it,” Biden said. “They’re not going to have any of it. I believe you’re going to see a significant change in this next election.”
Then, a woman yelled, “Run, Joey, run.” He waved her off and didn’t address his own 2020 plans. Republicans control the Senate and House of Representatives, but their edges are seen as vulnerable with Trump’s approval around 41 percent, according to RealClearPolitics.
Biden also told Mitchell, who was Senate majority leader for six years, that Maine has elected members of Congress “with more integrity than any other state in the Union.” The former vice president was last in Maine in May as Colby College’s commencement speaker.
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