WAUKEE, Iowa – Hours before President Trump was scheduled to arrive in Iowa to hold a large rally ahead of Monday’s caucuses, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden launched a full-frontal attack on the Republican incumbent over what he called his “culture of cruelty” during a speech in suburban Des Moines.
“This is a president who laughs at, insults, demeans, and demonizes other people,” the former vice president said Thursday as he spoke to 275 people in a speech that was touted by his campaign as a rebuttal to Trump’s rally.
“He’s more a bully than a president,” Biden said as he jabbed at the president, in what could serve as a preview of the kind of general election battle the candidate hopes to wage should he win the nomination.
“Welcome to Donald Trump’s world. Up is down. Lies are the truth. Allies are enemies. Everything is through the looking glass,” Biden said.
And he once again claimed he’s already beaten the president – pointing to his efforts on behalf of fellow Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections.
“Trump and I have already gone one round with each other on health care. In 2018, I went into 24 states for 65 candidates. I took on Trump all over the country and we beat him…and in the process took back the majority in the House of Representatives,” the former vice president said.
Emphasizing the importance of health care as an issue in 2020, Biden stressed that “if we take the fight to Trump on Obamacare again – we’ll beat him again. And we’ll not only win the presidency – we’ll win a majority in the Senate, too.”
Biden also knocked the president over gun violence – saying “I look forward to debating him on guns. He’s turned the Oval Office over to the NRA.”
And he slammed Trump over the president’s relationship with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, saying “I don’t believe we’re a nation that bows down to Vladimir Putin and I will not,” and over Trump’s frequent targeting of the press, noting “I don’t believe we’re a nation that sees the free press as the enemy of the people.”
The former vice president also targeted Trump over the president’s lack of action on climate change.
“He doesn’t understand the science. He doesn’t believe what’s happening. He refuses to admit the problem exists. While the rest of the world applauded Greta Thunberg for her courage and leadership when she was named Time’s Person of the Year – all Trump could do was seethe over losing the cover on Time Magazine,” Biden said.
Biden focused entirely on Trump and didn’t mention his rivals during his speech, which he delivered hours after his campaign went up with a new TV commercial in Iowa in which he attacked Trump’s character.
Trump's re-election campaign also previewed its Super Bowl ad highlighting his administration's economic successes.
“Just as the Super Bowl crowns the greatest football team, nothing says ‘winning’ like President Donald Trump and his stellar record of accomplishment for all Americans,” Brad Parscale, Trump 2020 campaign manager, said in a statement. “With an incredible economy, historically low unemployment, and a policy of putting America first, President Trump is most certainly Keeping America Great.”
Biden’s speech came hours before Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were scheduled to team up at large rally at Drake University in Des Moines. Pence was set to make campaign stops earlier in the day in the heavily Republican western part of Iowa.
The latest poll in Iowa indicates Biden and his main rival for the nomination – populist Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont – battling for the top spot with the caucuses just four days away. The survey from Monmouth University also showed former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Elizabeth Warren close behind the top two contenders.
And the poll released Wednesday also indicates that nearly half – 45 percent – of likely Democratic presidential caucusgoers in the Hawkeye State say they are open to switching support on caucus night to another candidate.
Chris Hennigan of nearby Urbandale, Iowa, was in the crowd.
She told Fox News she’s watched Biden “throughout the years and I like his character, his morals, his family and I think he can beat Trump.”
She emphasized that “as a woman, I like him as a man.”
Her husband Pat is leaning heavily toward Biden, adding “somebody would really have to jump out at me to make me change my mind.”
He shared that he likes Buttigieg, but “I think his age and lack of experience probably hurts him.”
Jane Hammarlund lives in Waukee, Iowa, but hails from Minnesota and is supporting home-state Sen. Amy Klobuchar. But she says Biden’s her second choice.
“I’m going to the caucus and I’m going with Amy and if she doesn’t make it viable, I’m going with Biden,” she explained. “I love Amy but I love Biden.”
Amy Gadbaw of Earlham, Iowa, remains undecided
“The idea is to go around and see as many as you can, because sometimes seeing them in person can give you a different impression and a different thought,” she told Fox News. “I’m just looking for a well-rounded candidate.”