President Joe Biden told a group of donors to his re-election bid on Sunday that the mere thought of his predecessor’s callous attitude towards the nation’s military veterans and honoured war dead forces him to expend extra energy to keep his anger in check.
Speaking to guests who’d assembled to hear him speak at a Henderson, Nevada fundraiser, Mr Biden was working through what has become a standard recitation of his record since taking office in 2021 when he turned to the matter of former president Donald Trump’s attitude towards men and women who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice in service of the United States.
He told attendees: “I have to hold my Irish temper” when it comes to that subject.
The matter that so evokes Mr Biden’s anger is a series of comments first reported by The Atlantic regarding Mr Trump’s attitude towards American war dead.
In an October 2020 article, the magazine revealed that the then-president had infamously told his staff that he did not want to make a visit to an American military cemetery outside Paris in 2018 because rain would have caused damage to the byzantine combover he uses to hide his baldness.
He reportedly asked senior staff members: “Why should I go to that cemetery?” and remarked that it was “full of losers”. He also later disparaged US Marines who lost their lives during the battle that stopped Imperial Germany’s movement towards Paris in the First World War as “losers”.
Mr Biden, whose late son and namesake, Joseph Robinette Biden III – better known as Beau Biden – served overseas during the Iraq war and later died from a brain tumour thought to have come from exposure to toxic burn pits there, told the crowd that he was “glad” he wasn’t with Mr Trump during that 2018 trip because he was not sure what he’d have done had he heard those comments, effectively implying that he might have turned violent.
“I’m glad I wasn’t with him. I’m not sure what I would’ve done. He said they’re all suckers and losers,” he said.
Turning to the subject of his late son, who also served as Delaware’s attorney general until his death in 2015, Mr Biden raised his voice as he continued.
“My son was not a sucker nor were any of yours. Who does this guy think he is talking about Americans?” he said.
The president also hit out at his predecessor’s expressed desire for an economic catastrophe to befall the US in the run-up to this year’s election, and referring to the previous president’s dismal economic record, called him “Donald Hoover Trump” – a reference to Great Depression-era president Herbert Hoover.
“It sounds unbelievable, un-American, that a sitting – that a former president seeking the office is hoping for a recession,” he said.