“If it’s true, and based on everything he’s said I believe the article’s true, I’d ask you all the rhetorical question: How do you feel? How would you feel if you had a kid in Afghanistan right now? How would you feel if you lost a son, daughter, husband, wife? How would you feel, for real?” he said.
“I’ve never been as disappointed in my whole career with a leader I’ve worked with — president or otherwise,” Biden said. “It is absolutely damnable. It is a disgrace.”
After a week of escalating attacks on Trump’s presidency — including questioning on Monday whether Americans could feel safe with Trump in the Oval Office — Biden at times barely concealed his anger on Friday.
He told reporters he’d decided Friday morning to leave at home a Gold Star given to him by the Delaware National Guard to honor his deceased son Beau Biden’s military service in Iraq, “because I was worried that if I focused too much on it that I would engage in some of the kind of language the President’s used.”
“I just think it is sick. It is deplorable. It is so un-American. It is so unpatriotic,” Biden said.
Pointing to Beau Biden’s service in Iraq and as a civilian in Kosovo, Biden said his son “wasn’t a sucker.”
He said Trump “should humbly apologize to every Gold Star mother and father and every Blue Star family that he has denigrated and insulted. Who the heck does he think he is?”
“Duty, honor, country: These are values that drive our service members, an all-voluntary outfit. President Trump has demonstrated he has no sense of service; no loyalty to any cause other than himself,” Biden said. “If I have the honor to be the next commander in chief, I will ensure that our American heroes know that I have their back, honor their sacrifice, and those that have been injured will be in military parades.”
Biden’s comments came the day after The Atlantic reported, citing unnamed sources, that Trump had denigrated those who were wounded and killed in battle and questioned the intelligence of those who enlist in the military. Trump on Friday called the report “a fake story.”
Biden said he sought to keep himself from using language that mimicked Trump’s personal attacks on people because he was attempting to lead by example.
“Presidents of the United States should be presidential and should lead by example, as well as make clear exactly where they stand,” Biden said. “Getting down in the gutter like the President does, saying things that I’d be inclined if we were behind a barn somewhere, would be a different thing. But that’s not the job of a president.”
During a question-and-answer session with reporters, Biden also said for the first time that he’d been tested once for coronavirus and plans to be tested regularly moving forward.
“This cannot go on. It’s a deconstruction of a democratic system,” Biden said. “The words of a president matter — even a lousy president. It gives encouragement to people who are spouting irrational views.”