“God willing, it will go down as the single exception in American history. I really mean it,” Mr. Biden said to roaring applause on “The Late Show.”
The former vice president, who has yet to rule out a 2020 presidential run, said the Trump administration has created fear and instability in the country.
“How many of you are now worried about the stability of the republic?” he asked. “How many are now worried about this new phony nationalism and it’s ‘us against them’? How many are worried about this populism that is designed to essentially undermine the essence of the Bill of Rights, which is [that] there’s certain inalienable rights that nobody, no matter what the majority is, they cannot overrule? I mean, I just think there’s an attack on the system. I think people are worried.
“And, by the way, it goes beyond President Trump, in my view. Look, but for 74,500 votes or thereabouts, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. We’d have a good president,” he said, praising Hillary Clinton. “We’d have a president who understands the role of the presidency. She would have been somebody who would, in fact, weave that fabric.”
Earlier in the interview, Mr. Biden said the violent Charlottesville protests, where a woman was killed by a reported Nazi sympathizer, and Mr. Trump’s somewhat tempered response to that violence marked a turning point in his views of the presidency and he could no longer stay silent.
“Charlottesville, for me, was a moment where I thought silence would be complicity,” the former vice president said. “We’re in a battle for the soul of the country.”
“The idea that you would see, in America, in a historic city, Nazis carrying flags, spouting the same bile about Jews that was spouted in Germany in the ‘30s, and then these guys crawling out from under rocks with torches, and to not have an outright flat condemnation of that … I thought the silence was deafening,” he said.
“And then when the comparison was made to those who were protesting, I found it reprehensible,” he said, referring to Mr. Trump blaming both sides for the violence in Charlottesville.
“I couldn’t remain silent anymore. It goes to the soul of the country,” Mr. Biden said. “It’s not just the president, it’s all that surrounds this and [former White House Chief Strategist Steve] Bannon and the alt-right I find to be reprehensible.”
Mr. Biden is promoting his new book, “Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose,” on a 19-city book tour dubbed the “American Promise Tour.”
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