Biden attacks Trump at Gridiron dinner before closing on a serious note

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It was the first time Biden attended the annual event in Washington as president.

President Joe Biden criticized former President Donald Trump during Saturday’s Gridiron Club dinner, an annual barbecue in Washington where politicians and journalists wear white ties to continue a long bipartisan tradition.

“The big news this week is that two candidates won their parties’ presidential nomination,” Biden said in remarks. “One candidate is too old and mentally incapable of being president. The other is me.”

Biden also mocked Republicans who, he said, “would rather fail at impeachment than succeed at anything else.”

“They want a secure border, but they block it to introduce the strongest border bill ever,” he said. “They take credit for a [of the] the most important infrastructure laws, but they voted against. And I’m the one who’s confused?”

It was Biden’s first appearance at the dinner during his presidency and comes as he enters one of the longest general election cycles in U.S. history, after he and Trump secured the number of delegates needed to win the presidential nominations. his game this week.

“In the coming months, Kamala and I will make the case for how Americans are better off than they were four years ago. How we got so far past the pandemic, how we turned around the economy, and reestablished America’s leadership in the world, all without encouraging the American people to inject bleach. “Biden said, referring to Trump’s suggestion to “inject” disinfectant to kill COVID in 2020.

“All without destroying the economy, embarrassing us around the world or without desire for insurrection,” he added. “Look, I wish they were jokes, but they’re not.”

Switching to a serious tone, the president argued that democracy and freedom are under attack, a central message in his re-election campaign.

“[Vladimir] Putin is on the move in Europe. My predecessor bows before him and says. “Do what you want.” “The former American president actually said that,” Biden said, later noting that Ukrainian Ambassador Oksana Markarova and Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas were present in the ballroom.

“We will not bow. They will not bow, and I will not bow,” said a forceful Biden.

He then addressed what he called the threat at home, after “insurrectionists” stormed the Capitol over “lies” about the 2020 election. He said “the threat persists” with “poison coursing through the veins of our democracy.” and accused Trump of vilifying the press.

“He calls you enemies of the people. Even when many of you risk your lives and do your job. And sometimes even give your life to do your job,” he said, adding that the United States is “doing everything possible to bring Evan [Gershkovich] and austin [Tice] home,” referring to an American journalist imprisoned in Russia since last year and another missing in Syria since 2012.

“Let me state the obvious: You are not the enemy of the people,” Biden said. “You are a pillar of any free society. And I may not always agree with or admire your coverage, but I do admire your courage. Good journalism is a mirror before a country so that we reflect the good, the bad and the bad. truth about who we are.”

“This is not hyperbole: we need you,” he added. “Democracy is at risk and the American people need to know it.”

Vice President Kamala Harris was also present at the Washington Grand Hyatt, along with at least eight other Cabinet members, at least five members of Congress and five governors, according to a program for the event.

It was the first time a president attended the annual dinner, where cameras are not allowed, since Trump was present in 2018.

In 2022, at least 72 attendees reported that he tested positive for COVID after the high-profile event.

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