During a virtual town hall on Saturday, former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden slammed President Donald Trump for reportedly ignoring the fact that a Russian intelligence agency had offered bounties to extremists in Afghanistan to kill U.S. troops in the country.
Biden opened the town hall by addressing the allegations made against the Russian government, saying that Vladimir Putin's regime was corrupt. He called the report a "shocking revelation." Biden went on to say that if the report, which was published in The New York Times on Friday, was true, then President Trump was aware of these bounties and did nothing to stop them.
Then, Biden went on the attack. He pointed out that not only has Trump refused to impose consequences for Russia's corrupt actions, but he's also continued "his embarrassing campaign of deference and debasing himself before Vladimir Putin." Biden continued, saying that if the Times report was true, Trump had hosted Putin in the United States and asked Russia to rejoin the G7 with the knowledge that Russian intelligence was responsible for essentially putting hits out on American soldiers.
"His entire presidency has been a gift to Putin, but this is beyond the pale," Biden stated.
"It's a betrayal of the most sacred duty we bear as a nation to protect and equip our troops when we send them into harm's way. It's a betrayal of every single American family with a loved one serving in Afghanistan or anywhere overseas."The former VP went on to say that he was "outraged." He promised that if he was elected president in November, he would stand up to Putin and his regime.
Biden reminded the town hall attendees that he was the father of a soldier who'd served in the Middle East, so these allegations hit him hard. He said that troops overseas know that they are taking risks when they go to serve their country, but that "they should never... face a threat like this."After The New York Times released its report on Friday, The White House did not respond to the allegations. The delay in response was seen by some as an indication of Trump's ongoing relationship with Putin. On Saturday, The White House denied that President Trump ever knew about the bounties, USA Today reported.
Biden ended his initial remarks by pivoting to some of the other issues facing the nation -- the coronavirus pandemic and the thousands of deaths from COVID-19, unemployment, reopening the economy, and coronavirus testing. He slammed Trump for his comment about "slowing down testing." He also brought up the racial tensions that are peaking nationwide. The virtual town hall continued with him taking questions from attendees.