If former Vice President Joe Biden is really mulling another run for the presidency in 2020, his speech last night at the Human Rights Campaign’s National Dinner was an intriguing first swing.
While Biden’s speech focused primarily on the mixed progress for LGBTQ Americans in recent years, he used that as a frame to go after President Donald Trump — hard.
“Despite losing in the courts — and in the court of public opinion — these forces of intolerance remain determined to undermine and roll back the progress you all have made,” Biden said of those who oppose LGBTQ rights, according to HRC’s Twitter account. “They — not you — have an ally in the White House.”
Biden slammed Trump for using his presidency “as a literal bully pulpit, callously exerting his power over those who have little or none.” He even said he regrets not speaking out against Trump sooner, and emphasized the importance of voting in the midterms.
MUST WATCH: During the #HRCNationalDinner, former Vice President @JoeBiden gave rousing remarks on his work to advance equality and spoke on the importance of voting in the November midterms. https://t.co/HYuq7jiN8w pic.twitter.com/aLIPnWJHzs
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) September 16, 2018
Though his speech was blunt, Biden pivoted back to optimism by his time on stage’s end. “I realize people these days are pessimistic because of the personal and political onslaught against the community from so many quarters. But I am optimistic. Because I know the story of the journey of the American people,” he said. “I have confidence, because as we stand up in the face of this onslaught, the vast majority of American people are with us. It’s the story of supporting many brave Americans who came out and spoke up.”
Biden is widely considered one of the top candidates for the Democratic Party’s nomination in 2020, alongside younger faces like Sen. Kamala Harris and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. As of a Politico poll published last month, Biden has a wide lead over Trump already.
But in truth, no matter whomever wins the nomination in 2020, the next election will likely be a referendum on the country’s feelings about Trump. Taking swings at him early — even at an HRC dinner — can’t hurt Biden’s cause.