But Biden stepped up his criticism of Trump as he works to elevate his voice in the national debate – after more than two months of the campaign for the White House being frozen amid the outbreak of the coronarvius.
“This President today is part of the problem and accelerates it,” Biden said, adding that Trump is “consumed with his blinding ego”.
Biden’s criticism comes a day after Trump threatened the nation’s governors that he would deploy the military to states if they did not stamp out violent protests over police brutality that have roiled the nation.
Authorities under federal command later forced back peaceful demonstrators in Washington with tear gas so the President could walk to nearby church St John’s Church and pose briefly with a Bible. The church had sustained damage during Sunday protests.
Biden noted that “peaceful protesters” were dispersed from the “doorstep of the people’s house, the White House” using tear gas and flash grenades to stage what he called a “photo op” publicity stunt.
“The President held up a Bible,” Biden added. “I just wished he opened it once in a while instead of brandishing it.”
The 20-plus minute address was covered live by US cable networks and Biden used it to declare, “This job’s not about me. It’s about you. It’s about us”.
“Look, the presidency is a big job. Nobody will get everything right. And I won’t either,” Biden said, but promised, “I won’t fan the flames of hate”.