In a stinging pre-rebuttal to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s major speech Monday on national security and defeating ISIS, Vice President Joe Biden declared that the billionaire businessman has “no clue” how to lead the country and should never be entrusted with the nuclear weapon codes.
Standing shoulder to shoulder with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state who Biden once considered challenging for the nomination, the vice president told a cheering crowd in Scranton, Pennsylvania, that Clinton has “forgotten more” than Trump and his advisers will ever know about foreign policy.
“He doesn’t understand it, he doesn’t have a clue,” Biden said in his first joint appearance with Clinton since she won their party’s nomination in Philadelphia. “I have worked with eight presidents of the United States, I have served with hundreds of senators … dozens of secretaries of state and secretaries of defense of both parties. And I can say without hesitation … no major party nominee in the history of the United States of America has known less or been less prepared to deal with our national security than Donald Trump.”
Clinton, who has taken a substantial lead over Trump in the polls since the July party conventions, introduced Biden at a campaign rally in Scranton, a blue collar enclave and Biden’s hometown. She, too, denounced Trump as a foreign policy phony who claims to have a “secret plan” to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria, but “it turns out the secret is he has no plan.”
Biden, a one-time chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and one of President Obama’s closest advisers on defense and foreign policy issues, said he was dumbstruck by Trump’s ignorance on international affairs.
“He doesn’t seem to want to learn,” Biden added. “I really mean it. He doesn’t seem to want to learn, he doesn’t seem to think it matters. He is thoroughly unqualified to be president of the United States of America. People say he lacks good temperament. I would feel better if that’s all he lacks. On every issue that matters the most to our security, Donald Trump has no clue what it takes to lead this great country.”
Biden noted that scores of prominent Republican national policy experts and former officials have come out against Trump in recent days, declaring that he would be the most dangerous president in history. He also said that he is spending time comforting foreign leaders in Eastern Europe and elsewhere who were shaken by Trump’s threats to withdraw support from NATO unless member countries pay more for the common defense.
He also blasted Trump’s ideas for encouraging Japan, South Korea and other allies to develop their own nuclear weapons, when the United States helped negotiate Japan’s post-World War II constitution to ban the use of nuclear weapons. And he sharply criticized Trump for praising Russian president Vladimir Putin, lacking any understanding of Russia’s invasion of Crimea, and even encouraging him to wage cyber-attacks against Clinton and the Democrats.
“He says he admires Vladimir Putin,” Trump said. “Putin is determined to crack NATO and crack the European alliance. That is his overarching, overwhelming interest.”
“He likes autocrats, he wields the politics of fear and intolerance, calling for a ban on Muslims in the United States, slandering proud Muslim parents of a Gold Star family who paid the ultimate sacrifice, threatening to send American citizens to Guantanamo [Bay terrorist prison] … Look, Trump’s ideas are not only profoundly wrong, they are very dangerous ... and show a profound ignorance of our Constitution.”
Obama recently declared that Trump was “woefully” unfit to be president, and Biden took the critique to a new level.
“Someone who lacks this judgement cannot be trusted … with the nuclear code,” Biden said, noting that any president may have to make split second decisions on whether to launch a nuclear attack. “He is not qualified to know the code. He can’t be trusted.”