PHILADELPHIA — Taking his bipartisan message to pivotal Pennsylvania, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is pledging to bridge the deep divide in the country under President Donald Trump and reject the anger that he says is motivating some in his party.
Biden is holding his first official campaign kickoff rally in Philadelphia at 1 p.m. ET, which will stream in the media player above.
“If the American people want a president to add to our division, to lead with a clenched fist, closed hand and a hard heart, to demonize the opponents and spew hatred — they don’t need me. They already have a president who does just that,” Biden says in excerpts of the speech he plans to give later Saturday in Philadelphia.
“I am running to offer our country — Democrats, Republicans and independents — a different path,” the former vice president says in remarks released by his campaign.
The 76-year-old native of working-class Scranton, Pennsylvania, has climbed to the front of the crowded primary field, in part by highlighting his ability to compete with Trump in potentially make-or-break states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Some liberals don’t like Biden’s centrist approach and focus on unity, while others see him as the candidate best positioned to deny Trump a second term.
Three weeks into his 2020 run, Biden is offering a distinctly softer approach than some of his rivals.
“Some say Democrats don’t want to hear about unity. That they are angry — and the angrier you are — the better,” Biden says in his speech. “That’s what they are saying to have to do to win the Democratic nomination. Well, I don’t believe it. I believe Democrats want to unify this nation. That’s what we’ve always been about. Unity.
Saturday’s address is the longtime Delaware senator’s first public appearance in Pennsylvania since announcing his campaign headquarters would be in Philadelphia.
Strategists in both parties believe the election may come down to Pennsylvania and a few Midwestern states where Trump had narrow victories in 2016.