Former vice president Joe Biden on Friday pledged not to use illicit campaign tactics or spread disinformation in his run for the presidency, and called on other candidates to do the same.
The pledge includes a promise not to “fabricate, use or spread data or materials that were falsified, fabricated, doxed or stolen” and to avoid using bot networks or doctored images — including “deepfake videos” — to attack other candidates.
Biden also renewed a promise to not accept intelligence on his rivals from foreign governments.
“This is simple. American elections should be decided by the American people and not by Russian or any other foreign power,” Biden said in a statement Friday. “Donald Trump doesn’t think it matters if candidates accept damaging intel on their opponent from a foreign government. He’s dead wrong.”
Many of the Democratic candidates have decried the use of foreign information, but there has so far not been a standard pledge through which the campaigns agree to disavow the full range of disinformation and other improper tactics.
Biden’s pledge came two days after President Trump said he might be willing to accept information from foreign governments on his opponents, and that he wouldn’t necessarily report such instances to federal law enforcement.
“I think you might want to listen; there isn’t anything wrong with listening,” Trump told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos this week. “If somebody called from a country, Norway, ‘We have information on your opponent,’ oh, I think I’d want to hear it.”
The president’s remarks prompted an outcry from Democratic lawmakers and candidates, including renewed calls for impeachment, as well as more muted criticism from some Republicans.
On Friday morning, Trump called into Fox & Friends to soften his comments somewhat, saying he didn’t “think anybody would present me with anything because they know how much I love the country.”
The recent report by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III detailed deliberate and widespread Russian interference in the 2016 election in an effort to help Trump get elected. Heading into their first presidential race since then, Democrats are on edge about the possibility of further foreign meddling.
Democratic lawmakers said they would be doubling down on efforts to pass legislation to strengthen election security and integrity.
In a concurrent effort, state Democratic leaders are gathering in New Mexico this weekend to discuss a pact that could be signed by state Democratic parties, the Democratic National Committee and the party’s 2020 presidential candidates to disavow illicit campaign tactics — and to report any use of those tactics to the DNC and to law enforcement officials.
The agreement would ban campaigns from using hacked information, disinformation campaigns, bots, fake accounts, altered text and images, and fake speech, according to a draft of the proposal given to The Washington Post.