In an interview with the CNBC last Friday, Mike Pence said that Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential hopeful, is “advocating a socialist agenda,” just like the others who are vying to take on US President Donald Trump.
Pence took multiple shots at his vice presidential predecessor during his interview with CNBC’s Eamon Javers while contrasting their goals with the legislative agenda of Trump. Biden is considered as the frontrunner among more than 20 Democratic candidates.
In the interview in his office, Pence stated: “I think the choice that we face in this country today is a choice between freedom and socialism,” He touted Trump as an advocate for policies including lower taxes and regulations and “better fair trade deals.”
He said that Biden, along with Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, the self-described democratic socialist, are “advocating a socialist agenda of more government, higher taxes and the same tired policies that created the malaise of the last administration where we saw less than 2% economic growth.” In fact, the U.S. economy saw annual growth near 3 percent at the peak of the presidency of Obama — or above 3 percent depending on the metric used.
Lumping Biden with some of the most progressive voices in the race under the umbrella of socialism may be meant to harden moderate Republicans against the former vice president, as well as urge additional infighting within the Democratic field, where the candidates are trying to lock down different voter bases.
The campaign team of Biden did not immediately respond to requests for comment regarding the matter while a spokesperson for Pence had no additional comment beyond the on-air remarks of the vice president.
The remarks of Pence cut directly against the campaign rhetoric of Biden, in which he frames himself as a unifier and a more moderate choice among the pack of 2020 candidates. Despite the frequent attacks of Biden on the character and policies of Trump, he is poised to deliver a speech in Philadelphia in mid-May addressing how to bring the politically polarized nation together.
Pence also slammed Biden for his recent remarks that downplayed the economic threat of China to the United States. A a campaign stop in Iowa last Wednesday, Biden said: “China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man.”
Pence told CNBC: “While we hear one of the latest candidates for president … say that China doesn’t represent a competition of the United States, you know they’re half of our international trade deficit.”
He added: “And forced technology transfers and intellectual property theft are a reality.”