Joe Biden has pledged to take on America’s “broken political system” as he hit out at Donald Trump for “abusing the power of office” during his first major campaign speech.Speaking in Pittsburgh, the former vice president said that Mr Trump was more interested in his own hardline supporter base than the rest of America. “With too many people left out or left behind… We’re tearing America apart rather than lifting it up,” he told the crowd, who chanted “we want Joe”.The country was suffering from a “broken political system that’s deliberately being undermined by our president to continue to abuse the power of the office,” Mr Biden added.The choice of Pennsylvania was significant, with Mr Biden acknowledging how crucial the state is to Democrat chances of taking back the White House. “If I’m going to beat Donald Trump in 2020, it’s going to happen here,” he said, adding that the party has “had a little bit of trouble” in the state in 2016. Hillary Clinton lost Pennsylvania to Mr Trump, a key win on the path to the Oval Office.Mr Biden, the current Democrat frontrunner, made clear that he was ready to go toe-to-toe with Mr Trump. He invoked the deadly synagogue attack in Pittsburgh last year and another last week in California to say that there is now a “battle for America’s soul”.That echoed a refrain that Mr Biden has used repeatedly over the last couple of years, having made oblique references to Trump. His rally speech also included many of the key themes that the former vice president has used on the stump over that time, such as the economy and the middle classes.“The middle class is hurting. It’s hurting now,” Mr Biden said. “The stock market is roaring, but you don’t feel it. There was a $2 trillion tax cut last year. Did you feel it? Did you get anything from it?”Mr Trump believes that the economy is one of his strong points, and it is true that unemployment is down. However, that trend had started during predecessor Barack Obama’s time in office.> I’ll never get the support of Dues Crazy union leadership, those people who rip-off their membership with ridiculously high dues, medical and other expenses while being paid a fortune. But the members love Trump. They look at our record economy, tax & reg cuts, military etc. WIN!> > — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) > > April 29, 2019Mr Trump will not give up on Pennsylvania without a fight and was quick to tweet about Pittsburgh’s jobless rate hitting a low point not seen since the 1970s. He also used his mocking “sleepy Joe” moniker to criticise Mr Biden’s work during the Obama presidency.“The Media (Fake News) is pushing Sleepy Joe hard. Funny, I’m only here because of Biden & Obama. They didn’t do the job and now you have Trump, who is getting it done – big time!”Mr Trump lashed out at Mr Biden targeting unions, whose support will be crucial for Mr Biden in a crowded Democratic primary before he even gets to face Trump. With Mr Biden receiving an endorsement from the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), the first major labour union to throw its support behind a candidate in the 2020 race, Mr Trump tweeted he would “never” get support from union bosses but members “love Trump”.The president sees Mr Biden as a clear threat, having told aides of his concern of beating beaten by a man who has a history of gaining support from white, working class voters in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. Working class, high-school educated white voters are a key part of Mr Trump’s base and those states will be an important part of his re-election strategy.However, Mr Biden will have to concentrate on rivals like Bernie Sanders first. The Vermont senator sees Mr Biden as his main obstacle to the Democrat nomination and has issued a thinly veiled attack on the former vice president’s support for the North American Free-Trade Agreement (Nafta) with Canada and Mexico as he too targets gains in regions hit hard by manufacturing losses.
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