Former Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday he expects Republicans will have an “epiphany” when President Donald Trump leaves office, and will embrace working with Democratic colleagues.
“I just think there is a way, and the thing that will fundamentally change things is with Donald Trump out of the White House. Not a joke. You will see an epiphany occur among many of my Republican friends,” Biden said during a campaign stop in New Hampshire. “It’s already beginning in the House now … If we can’t change, we’re in trouble. This nation cannot function without generating consensus. It can’t do it.”
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Biden launched his campaign in April with a video announcement featuring staunchly anti-Trump rhetoric, classifying the 2020 election as a “battle for the soul of this nation.” He also said if Trump won another four years in the White House, that he would “forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation.”
“What happens is if you can’t generate consensus under our system of separated powers, all the power moves to the executive,” Biden said Tuesday. “It gives excuses then to say I’m going to enact by executive order to do something because nothing’s getting done. That’s the president and his team’s whole rationale for what they’re doing.”
Biden is the clear frontrunner in the early stages of the race, despite having a more moderate record — a quality that puts him out of step with the progressive push inside the Democratic Party. And in recent weeks, Trump seems to have zeroed in on Biden as his most pressing Democratic opponent.
“Welcome to the race Sleepy Joe. I only hope you have the intelligence, long in doubt, to wage a successful primary campaign,” Trump tweeted when Biden announced his candidacy April 25. “It will be nasty – you will be dealing with people who truly have some very sick & demented ideas. But if you make it, I will see you at the Starting Gate!”
Stephanie Murray contributed to this report.