Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee to challenge Trump in November, reacted to Bolton’s claim that Trump tried to convince Chinese President Xi Jinping to increase imports from American farmers because it would be good for his reelection prospects.
“He was willing to trade away our most cherished democratic values for the empty promise of a flimsy trade deal that bailed him out of his disastrous tariff war that did so much damage to our farmers, manufacturers, and consumers,” Biden said in a statement. “If these accounts are true, it’s not only morally repugnant, it’s a violation of Donald Trump’s sacred duty to the American people to protect America’s interests and defend our values.”
Biden then linked Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic to his desire for a finished trade deal with Xi for political leverage. This, Biden posits, explains why Trump continued to praise the Chinese government and downplay the threat even as the coronavirus began to spread.
America has “been hurt far worse because of Donald Trump’s inability to lead and his failure to meet the crisis,” Biden said. “Today we learned more about the depth and nature of that failure.”
Missing from the lengthy statement is his reaction to Bolton essentially confirming the charges leveled by Democrats against Trump during the impeachment inquiry. Biden unwittingly became a central figure in that probe as it centered around Trump freezing military aid to Ukraine to pressure that country to launch an investigation into Biden and his son, Hunter.
While House Democrats wanted Bolton to testify in the impeachment hearings, he refused and threatened to sue if subpoenaed. The Senate later considered whether to call Bolton as a witness but voted against doing so.
Shortly after Biden’s statement was released Wednesday, Trump tweeted for the first time in almost a day: “Joe Biden was a TOTAL FAILURE in Government. He ‘bungled’ everything that he touched!”
The focus in Bolton’s book on Trump’s engagements with China could give Biden an upper hand in the candidates’ battle over who is better equipped to deal with China. A Trump campaign attack ad against Biden suggests the former vice president has been soft on China, and another elevates an unsubstantiated claim that there was something nefarious about Hunter Biden’s dealings with the country.
Biden closed his statement with a “message to China’s leaders, or anyone else who President Trump might invite to interfere: stay out of our democracy. Stay out of our elections. The American people alone will decide the future of this country, and I am confident in the choice they will make.”