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Biden slams predecessor in campaign trail

By AI HEPING in New York | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-01-08 09:31

US President Joe Biden delivers a speech to mark the third anniversary of the Jan 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol at a campaign event at Montgomery County Community College, in Blue Bell, near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, US, Jan 5, 2024. [Photo/Agencies]

US President Joe Biden opened his reelection campaign by denouncing his predecessor and likely opponent in 2024, while former president Donald Trump described Biden's speech as "fearmongering" and downplayed the violence on Jan 6,2021, in his campaign trial.

The key issue in November's election is that "democracy is on the ballot", Biden said on Friday, the eve of the third anniversary of the Jan 6 attack on the US Capitol. Biden spoke at an event in Pennsylvania, a key state in the 2024 election.

Trump on Friday and Saturday hit back at Biden.

On Friday, he called Biden's speech a "pathetic fearmongering campaign event" and suggested Biden was only attacking him on the issue of democracy because he could not run on other issues.

Biden's "record is an unbroken streak of weakness, incompetence, corruption and failure. Other than that he's doing quite well", Trump said.

On Saturday, in his first visit to Iowa this year before the Jan 15 caucuses, which form the first round of the Republican nominating contest, Trump told several hundred cheering supporters at a rally in the state's rural northwest: "Not one thing has gotten better under crooked Joe Biden. Everything's a mess".

Biden in his remarks focused on the events that took place just ahead of his inauguration, when on Jan 6, 2021, hundreds of Trump supporters violently stormed the US Capitol where lawmakers were formalizing the election results.

Referring to Trump, he said: "He tried to rewrite the facts of Jan 6. Trump is trying to steal history the same way he tried to steal the election.'

"Today, I make this sacred pledge to you, the defense, protection, and preservation of American democracy will remain, as it has been, the central cause of my presidency," he said.

On the campaign trail, Trump has downplayed the violence of that day and has called those charged and convicted in the attack "hostages". Trump has said he would grant clemency to a "large portion" of them.

In the three years since the assault on the Capitol, federal prosecutors have charged more than 1,265 defendants across nearly all 50 states and Washington, DC, and obtained convictions and incarceration for more than 460 people, according to numbers released on Friday by the US Attorney's Office in Washington.

Trump is looking for a dominant victory in Iowa and to squash any potential momentum against challengers Nikki Haley and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

On Friday when Biden and Trump spoke, the US Supreme Court agreed to hear Trump's appeal of a ruling in Colorado that he should be removed from the state ballot under section 3 of the 14th amendment to the US Constitution, for inciting an insurrection.

The 14th amendment was approved after the civil war and was meant to bar from office supporters of the rebel Confederate states. But it has rarely been used. Fourteenth-amendment challenges to Trump in Maine and other states have either failed or remain undecided.

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