Joe Biden Blasts Trump As An Appeasing 'Charlatan' During Chicago Visit

By Stephen Gossett in News on Nov 1, 2017 10:55PM

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Former Vice President Joe Biden (left) and Ivo Daalder, president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs

Former Vice President Joe Biden was in Chicago on Wednesday, not as part of his old boss's high-profile global summit, but to address the Chicago Council on Global Affairs on foreign policy matters, and beyond. And the erstwhile Uncle-in-Chief seems to have made the most of his platform, with a characteristically candid (and rather stern) survey of the current political landscape.

Biden touched pointedly on topics ranging from tepid responses to the tragedy in Charlottesville to President Donald Trump's decision to pull the United States from the Paris Climate Accord. He called the president a "charlatan" who exploits division. (“These people aren’t prejudiced. They’re realistic. And then (they) become the targets for charlatans," he said.)

The former Vice President also wondered aloud if Trump voters were wracked with buyer's remorse and feared for our institutions:

“How many of you now, whether you voted for him or not, are beginning to wonder if the roots, the invisible moral fabric that holds everything up, is eroding in a way that’s dangerous for democratic institutions? If we don’t stand up, the liberal world order we championed will quickly become an illiberal world order we suffer."

Biden said, about Charlottesville and those who both-sides'ed it:

“Folks, did any of you ever think you’d ever see Nazis coming out from under the rocks and out of the fields in the dark, carrying torches, reciting the same anti-Semitic bile . . . that brought down Europe? Did you ever think that would occur? And those who came to oppose them would be judged in relative terms as them both causing the problem?

Ladies and gentlemen, silence is complicity. Silence is complicity."

Biden also addressed at length the main topic of the week: Russian collusion and President Donald Trump's response. “Putin and his cronies want only to preserve their wealth and their power," Biden told the crowd. “Appeasement will not work. So far, our sitting president has been unwilling to call out Putin for Russia’s meddling in our democracy or criticize his actions. Astonishing."

Biden assured the crowd he wasn't feeling altogether gloomy, but he didn't mince words about what he clearly sees as a dire state of affairs in many respects. "I'm not pessimistic about the fate of the world. Just get up and look at who the hell we are... We were taught and believed that America could do anything if it set its mind to it. What the hell has happened?”

What the hell happened? It's a question a lot of Democrats have been asking themselves for months now. Something to mull it over while you watch the full video of Biden's fiery address below.

[H/T Sun-Times, Chicago Magazine, Politico]