Biden repeats claim that GOP 'epiphany' coming soon — despite front seat to last four decades of US politics
Former Vice President Joe Biden, one of the three frontrunners for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, on Wednesday repeated the assertion that if President Donald Trump was not in office the Republican Party would happily work alongside Democrats in Congress and the White House to get things done.
"With Donald Trump out of the way, you're going to see a number of my Republican colleagues have an epiphany," said Biden. "Mark my words. Mark my words."
Biden's comments came as part of a longer soliloquy on rival Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who Biden has been hammering since the senator suggested last week the former vice president was in the wrong party's primary.
"Make it stop," author Elon Green tweeted in response.
The comments follow remarks over the weekend where Biden reportedly said that "the road is clear for significant change."
"The only thing that stands in the way is Donald Trump," said Biden, who served in the President Barack Obama administration. "The only thing."
Blogger Atrios immediately pounced on Biden's rosy view of the GOP.
"Explain why they never had this epiphany when your best friend was president," Atrios tweeted, referring to Republican behavior for the only eight years the U.S. has thus far had a black man in the White House. "Come on."
It's not the first time Biden has made such comments. On May 14, Biden told reporters that once Trump was out of office, "You will see an epiphany occur among many of my Republican friends."
At a fundraiser on June 10, Biden again hit the theme of GOP rebirth.
"With Trump gone, you're going to begin to see things change," said Biden. "Because these folks know better. They know this isn't what they're supposed to be doing."
Biden entered the Senate from Delaware in 1973 and remained there until assuming the office of vice president in 2009.
In that time, and this is an incomplete list, Republicans:
- elected Ronald Reagan president after he launched his campaign at Mississippi's Neshoba County Fair in a dogwhistle to white supremacists
- ran on the Southern Strategy, described here in graphic detail by Lee Atwater
- laughed at and mocked the victims of the AIDS crisis
- perpetuated the racist myth of the "welfare queen" to cut benefits for less fortunate Americans
- continued unsupportive and hostile policies toward the LGBTQ community for decades
- pardoned Iran-Contra felons who had lied to Congress
- impeached President Bill Clinton
- oversaw the implementation of a worldwide torture regime targeting Muslims
- said the party's top priority during President Obama's first term was to make the country's first black president a one-term president
- elected Donald Trump president and gave him the highest approval rating in the party for a president in history
Again, this is an incomplete list.
Reaction from progressives to Biden's comments was not positive.
The New Republic's Libby Watson looked at Biden's comments in the context of the campaign the former vice president is running.
"It's been said many times before but getting a healthcare system comparable to the rest of the fucking developed world is not more of fairy tale than the entire Republican party having an epiphany and walking away from... everything they've always been," said Watson.
Policy analyst Alexis Goldstein was flummoxed.
"Imagine living through McConnell stealing a Supreme Court seat and fighting Romneycare-turned-Obamacare to the death, and STILL somehow uttering these words," said Goldstein.