Biden opened by promising to “draw on the best of us, not the worst,” and vowed to “work hard for those who did not support me, as hard for them as I did for those who did vote for me.” He offered blistering attacks on President Trump, using facts to criticize his failed coronavirus response and describing him as someone who “takes no responsibility, refuses to lead, blames others, cozies up to dictators, and fans the flames of hate and division.”
“He will wake up every day believing the job is all about him, never about you. Is that the America you want for you, your family, your children?” Biden asked.
Biden: "POTUS takes no responsibility, refuses to lead, blames others, cozies up to dictators, & fans the flames of hate and division. He will wake up every day, believing the job is all about him, never about you. Is that the America you want for you, your family, your children? pic.twitter.com/nojuj5WvUv— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 21, 2020
Biden drew from his personal experience to poignantly reassure those who are experiencing grief or uncertainty, and told a compelling story about why he decided to run for president in response to Trump describing white supremacists as “very fine people” following the violent Charlottesville demonstrations in 2017. It was a tour de force.
"At that moment I knew I'd have to run ... at that time, I said we were in the battle for the soul of this nation. And we are" -- the origin story of Biden's campaign is the 2017 Charlottesville debacle and Trump's response to it pic.twitter.com/qyv0K1E5FH— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 21, 2020
Fox News normally does everything it can to help Trump, but even its commentators on Thursday acknowledged that Biden’s speech was very effective. Shortly after it ended, host Chris Wallace — who last month gave Trump one of the toughest interviews he’s had but normally tries not to go too hard on the president — said he thought Biden delivered “an enormously effective speech.”
Fox News's Chris Wallace praises Biden's speech: "I thought it was an enormously effective speech. Remember, Donald Trump has been talking for months about Joe Biden as mentally shot ... I thought that he blew a hole, a big hole in the characterization." pic.twitter.com/sChU4jBzw2— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 21, 2020
It is unexpected to see Fox News offer such a rave review because a recurring theme of Trump’s reelection campaign has been to accuse Biden of being in mental decline. The campaign often sends around videos of Biden struggling to string together a coherent sentence. (The videos are often highly misleading, and Biden has openly acknowledged that he has a stutter.)
Wallace had to admit these attacks didn’t hold water in light of Biden’s performance. “Remember, Donald Trump has been talking for months about Joe Biden as mentally shot ... I thought that he blew a hole, a big hole in that characterization.”
Perhaps even more surprisingly, a short time later, host Dana Perino and Fox News contributor Karl Rove — both of whom worked for President George W. Bush — offered praise of their own.
Biden “just hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth,” Perino said, with Rove adding that he thought “it was a very good speech.”
Dana Parino said Biden "just hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth," followed by Karl Rove saying "it was a very good speech." pic.twitter.com/trWr5eyrJx— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 21, 2020
During an interview with Donald Trump Jr., even Laura Ingraham acknowledged that Biden “beat expectations” and “delivered a good speech.” Without a shred of irony, Don Jr. responded by attacking Biden’s children for cashing in on their father’s public office, an attack that highlighted how the Trump campaign is still struggling to land a punch on Biden.
Donald Trump Jr just murdered irony on Fox News pic.twitter.com/EJUNWZ6RxO— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 21, 2020
Trump, meanwhile, retreated from accusing Biden of being unable to talk to telling people to not believe what he’s saying.
“In 47 years, Joe did none of the things of which he now speaks,” Trump tweeted. “He will never change, just words!”
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