Scranton Joe Goes After Don The Snob

CLEVELAND, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 29: U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and former Vice President and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in the first presidential debate at the Health Education Campus of C... CLEVELAND, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 29: U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and former Vice President and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in the first presidential debate at the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University on September 29, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. This is the first of three planned debates between the two candidates in the lead up to the election on November 3. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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September 29, 2020 11:53 p.m.

In a relatively fresh line of attack, former Vice President Joe Biden spent many of his (heavily interrupted) minutes painting President Donald Trump as one of the elite he claims to so detest.

During a section about mask wearing, Biden made the argument that Trump doesn’t care about mask wearing — until an unmasked person appears to pose a threat to him. The former vice president told an anecdote about Trump leaping back from a reporter who wasn’t wearing a mask, frantically asking if the journalist been tested for COVID-19.

“‘I’m way far away from those other people,’ that’s what he said — ‘I’m going to be okay,’” Biden said, describing Trump’s attitude at his packed campaign events.

“He’s not worried about you, he’s not worried about people out there breathing cheek to jowl,” Biden added.

Biden made the argument more pointedly during a later exchange on racial sensitivity training. 

“It’s a little bit like how this guy and his friends look down on so many people,” Biden said. “They look down their noses on people like Irish Catholics like me who grew up in Scranton. They look down on people who don’t have money. They look down on people who are of a different faith. They look down on people who are a different color. In fact, we’re all Americans.”

He also hijacked a favorite Trump talking point about the invasion of the suburbs to hammer the theme, saying Trump “wouldn’t know a suburb unless he took a wrong turn. I was raised in the suburbs.” 

Biden’s attack on Trump’s depiction of himself as a populist, working-class hero with a deep disdain for the “elites” was a valid one. Trump was born rich, inheriting millions from his father, and attended an Ivy League school. Biden has working-class roots, and has long touted his early distinction as ranking among the poorest in Congress. If elected, he’d be the first president without an Ivy League degree since Ronald Reagan.

Trump, for his part, didn’t do much to distance himself from the snobbish patina. 

“Did you use the word smart?” Trump sneered, regurgitating a debunked right-wing attack about Biden forgetting the name of his college. 

“You graduated either the lowest or almost the lowest in your class,” he continued, leaning over his podium towards Biden while the former Vice President chuckled.

The President kept going: “Don’t ever use the word smart with me. Don’t ever use that word with me. There’s nothing smart about you, Joe.”

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