President Trump “has debased” American values and “ceded global leadership to tyrants and thugs,” former vice president Joe Biden told a crowd in Kentucky on Friday, unleashing some of his fiercest criticisms yet of the president.

Biden was campaigning for Amy McGrath, a former fighter pilot and political newcomer who’s seeking to unseat Rep. Garland “Andy” Barr (R-Ky.). Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District, which Trump won by 15 percentage points in 2016, has become one of the most competitive House races amid the fallout over Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s bitter confirmation battle.

Even as Barr tries to paint McGrath as “too liberal” for a state as red as Kentucky, the race is widely deemed a toss-up as House races move toward the left.

Speaking Friday night in rural Owingsville, Ky., where McGrath is hoping to win over white working-class voters, Biden repeatedly denounced Trump and implored voters to help Democrats win back the House.

“The example we’re showing the rest of the world is sad. Our values are being shredded. Our democracy’s under assault. A president has put his own interest before those of our ideals,” Biden said.


Former vice president Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event for Kentucky Democratic congressional candidate Amy McGrath in Owingsville, Ky., on Oct. 12, 2018. (Bryan Woolston/AP)

He criticized the president’s response to the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville last year that resulted in the death of protester Heather Heyer, the separation of thousands of migrant children from their families, and Trump’s unwillingness to condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“The question is not who Donald Trump is. America knows who he is,” Biden said. “The question is, ‘Who are we?’ ”

Before Biden’s speech, as McGrath was introducing him, the crowd chanted, “Run, Joe, run.”

Biden has been traveling the country, speaking at fundraisers and campaigning for fellow Democrats. He was in Indiana on Saturday campaigning for Sen. Joe Donnelly, a vulnerable red-state Democrat.

Still, Biden has been coy about announcing a presidential bid, though he’s among the more than two dozen Democrats who are considered prospective candidates. Biden, who has said he will decide on a 2020 run by January, skirted the question while speaking at an event in London this week. He’s not eyeing the nomination “at this point,” he said.

“I think there are many people in the Democratic Party that can defeat Trump, and not a single aspiring candidate that I can think of for the nomination — and I am not one at this point — does not have a better understanding and formulation of American foreign policy than President Trump,” Biden told CNN.

Biden has been openly critical of Trump, suggesting at a Florida rally in March that he would’ve beaten “the hell out of” the president if they were in high school.

Speaking in Kansas last week, Trump said that the fight wouldn’t last long and that he would win.

Those close to Trump say Biden is the Democrat who worries the president and his team the most because they fear he could cut into Trump’s working-class white support in several swing states, The Washington Post’s Ashley Parker and Robert Costa reported.

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