Biden confronted on Ukraine but doesn’t answer, later links Trump to El Paso massacre

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Joe Biden performed his own version of a Texas two-step at a campaign stop in San Antonio on Friday night, letting a crowd of supporters drown out a protester who confronted him on Ukraine — before the ex-vice president could answer — and then continuing his rhetorical attack on President Trump.

It happened while Biden was assailing Trump’s record on immigration and veteran care.

“America can overcome four years of Donald Trump’s chaos and corruption, but if re-elected it will forever fundamentally change the character of who we are as a nation," Biden told the crowd. "We can’t let this happen. This election is about the soul of our nation and Donald Trump has poisoned our soul.”


Soon a man in the crowd – not shown on camera – interjected to ask: “What about corruption in Ukraine?”

The reference was to Biden's past dealings in the country, where his son, Hunter Biden, reportedly held a seven-figure job with Ukraine’s largest natural gas company, Burisma Holdings. At the same time, the elder Biden — as vice president under Barack Obama — was leading an effort to oust a Ukrainian prosecutor who was investigating the company, raising concerns about a possible conflict of interest.

The Bidens' history in Ukraine has been a growing concern for the White House and Republicans as Democrats in Congress pursue the possible impeachment of President Trump over a July phone call in which the president allegedly tried to make an announcement of a Ukraine investigation into the Bidens a condition for the country's new administration to receive military aid from the U.S.

But before Biden could address the Ukraine question on Friday, the crowd booed the protester and began to chant, “We want Joe!”

Biden seemed to follow the crowd's lead.

“This man represents Donald Trump very well. He’s just like Donald Trump,” Biden said of the protester, who appeared to leave the event, with the crowd waving goodbye to him — though it was unclear if he chose to leave or if he was forced out either by security or other attendees.

“A great American,” Biden continued. "Just let him go. … Don’t hurt … Just let him go. … This is not a Trump rally. This is a real rally.”

With Texas considered a battleground state in the 2020 presidential race, Biden refrained from side-swiping any other top-tier Democratic rivals despite tightening polls ahead of February’s primary and caucus in New Hampshire and Iowa, respectively, the first times voters will actually help determine the party’s nominee for the White House.

With the protester gone, Biden resumed his verbal attack on Trump.

“As my mother would say, God bless me. Bless me, Father, for I have sinned,” Biden said, making the sign of the cross before continuing his rebuke of the president.

Biden then seemed to imply that Trump was responsible for the Aug. 3 shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, that left 22 people dead.

“Remember in '18, {Trump] claimed there was an invasion of Latinos coming across the border? 'They’re going to invade and pollute America,'" Biden said. "Well guess what? The words presidents say matter. It didn't take long after that, that a guy down in El Paso walked into a parking lot and gunned down a lot of innocent people and he says, 'I’m doing it to prevent the invasion of Texas by Hispanics.'”


Authorities said the suspect, Patrick Crusius, 21, of Allen, Texas, had written a manifesto that said the shooting was fueled by fear of an "invasion" by illegal immigrants, adding that the city's large Hispanic population played a part in their targeting. In October, Crusius pleaded not guilty in connection with the shooting and is due to return to court Nov. 7.

Trump condemned the shooting as “an act of cowardice” on Twitter, adding, “I know that I stand with everyone in this Country to condemn today’s hateful act. There are no reasons or excuses that will ever justify killing innocent people.”

San Antonio, where Biden spoke Friday, is the city where long-shot Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro served as mayor before joining Obama's administration as secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Original Article