Vice President Joe Biden went off on the 2016 election as a whole on Thursday, ripping it as a policy-free spectacle that was a “battle of personalities” instead of “a battle of ideas” and pointing a finger at the media for its coverage of the race.
Speaking at a post-election forum in Washington put together by New York University, Biden called the election “tough,” “ugly,” and “divisive.”
“This has been a very tough election,” he said. “It’s been ugly, it’s been divisive, it’s been coarse, it’s been dispiriting.”
“I find myself embarrassed by the nature of the way in which this campaign was conducted,” the vice president continued. “So much for the shining city on the hill.”
Biden asked why there wasn’t more discussion of policy or governance-related issues.
“Hillary Clinton was the single most qualified on the fact of it to run for president of the United States that we’ve had, period,” he said. “It wasn’t that she didn’t have all these ideas. She did. But the press, you didn’t cover it.”
But he added a caveat, saying it was understandable when stories such as the leaked tape of Trump boasting of being able to make sexual advances on women without their consent because he was famous arise, it’s impossible to avoid.
“It wasn’t your fault,” he said. “When a guy talks about grabbing a woman’s private parts, when a guy says some of the incredibly outrageous things that were said, it sucks up all the oxygen in the air.”
Biden also asked the crowd what they knew about the 2016 election other than the campaign slogans, such as Trump’s “Make America Great Again” and Clinton’s “Stronger Together,” which Biden mistakenly called “Forward Together.”
He also called for continued vigilance from progressives once Trump assumes office in January.
“We should not remain silent one instant when this administration goes after the progressive values we care about,” he said. “We should not back away one scintilla from the arguments and the merits of all the things we care about. But we should listen and we should realise the American people are a lot better than they’re given credit for right now.”
Biden said recently he would run for the presidency in 2020, only to slightly back off of it in an interview with CBS “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert earlier this week.
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