By Andrew O’Reilly-Fox News
President Trump veered off-script Tuesday after announcing new legislation against China to attack presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for his recent policy proposals – accusing Biden of aligning his campaign with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other progressive leaders.
In comments similar to those made at campaign rallies, Trump laid into his Democratic rival for his policy proposal on immigration, criminal justice reform and climate change among other issues.
“Biden has gone radical left,” Trump said in the Rose Garden as he maligned the proposals laid out by the Biden campaign over the last week. “There’s never been a time when two candidates were so different.”
The Biden campaign later fired back at Trump’s comments, saying: “Today’s statement that was ostensibly supposed to be about China, but there was one topic that President Trump couldn’t seem to get off his mind: Joe Biden, whose name the President invoked nearly 30 times. The whole sad affair says more about Donald Trump than he said about any particular topic.”
“What we heard in the Rose Garden today wasn’t a president at all. It was a politician who sees his reelection slipping away from him and who is furious that his own botched response to the coronavirus pandemic has denied him the campaign events he so craves.”
“The American taxpayer should be reimbursed for the abuse of funds this spectacle represented,” the campaign said, adding that “a real leader” — referring to Biden — spoke earlier in Wilmington. “He offered the American people a positive, inspiring vision for our future where we don’t have to choose between confronting our existential climate crisis and creating millions of good-paying, union jobs at the same time.”
Trump’s comments come hours after Biden released a $2 trillion plan on Tuesday to boost investment in clean energy and stop all climate-damaging emissions from U.S. power plants by 2035.
“When Donald Trump thinks about climate change, the only word he can muster is ‘hoax,'” Biden told reporters. “When I think about climate change, what I think of is jobs.”
The climate package added to a series of detailed policy proposals Biden has released, including a $700 billion plan unveiled last week that would increase government purchasing of U.S.-based goods and invest in new research and development to frame a contrast with Trump, who has struggled to articulate a vision for a second term in the White House.
Biden’s proposal on Tuesday didn’t go as far as some measures in the Green New Deal, the sweeping proposal from progressives in Congress that calls for achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across the economy by 2030.
Trump on Tuesday also continued to harangue Biden as “weak” on his stance toward China.
“So Joe Biden and President Obama freely allowed China to pillage our factories, plunder our communities and steal our most precious secrets,” Trump said, adding, “I’ve stopped it largely.”
Trump added that Biden’s entire career in politics had been a “gift to the Chinese Communist Party.”
U.S.-China relations are at a low ebb. Since the two nations signed phase one of a trade deal, the talks are currently stalled with virtually no hope of restarting before the November election.
Trump’s press conference started as an announcement that he had signed legislation and an executive order that he said will hold China accountable for its oppressive actions against the people of Hong Kong.
The legislation and order are part of the Trump administration’s offensive against China for what he calls unfair treatment by the rising Asian superpower, which hid details about the human-to-human transition of the coronavirus.
Lawmakers from both parties have urged Trump to take strong action in response to China’s new national security law that erodes the “one country, two systems” framework under which Britain handed Hong Kong over to China in 1997. Hong Kong is considered a special administrative region within China and has its own governing and economic systems.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.