MSNBC Rips 'Bitter' Biden for Threatening Trump; Rejects 2020 Run: ‘Dude, It’s Over’

Viewers may have temporarily forgotten they were watching MSNBC Thursday afternoon when 1:00 p.m. ET hour anchor Craig Melvin and his political panel hammered former Vice President Joe Biden for threatening President Trump with physical violence and even dismissed the “frustrated” and “bitter” Democrat for considering a 2020 presidential run.

The segment began with Melvin playing a clip of Biden’s offensive comments in front of a cheering crowd of students at an anti-sexual assault rally in Miami: “They asked me would I like to debate this gentleman, and I said, ‘No, if we were in high school I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him’....Any guy who talked that way was usually the fattest, ugliest SOB in the room.”

 

 

Melvin turned to TheRoot.com Politics Editor Jason Johnson and PBS NewsHour White House Correspondent Yamiche Alcindor and worried: “Was the former Vice President out of line in rehashing those threats of violence again? And we should note, in a room full of students, mainly young ladies.”

Johnson lambasted Biden’s remarks: “Yeah, I mean, it’s – it was cute, but it shows how much our public discourse has changed over the last two years....that’s not the kind of public discourse that we want anymore from anybody who ever might run for office again....I don’t think this should continue because it doesn’t do anything for American politics...”

Melvin attempted to put some positive spin on it: “Yamiche, how much of this is about Joe being Joe? How much of this, do you think perhaps, could be about Joe Biden showing Donald Trump that he will not be bullied publicly the way that this president has been known to try and do?”

Alcindor wasn’t having it:

I think there’s a lot of frustration there in his own political life and whether or not in the future he might run. Because it was so tone deaf and so just not the right the moment for him to be talking about physical violence, especially in front of students....And of course, I know Joe Biden knew that President Trump was gonna say something back because President Trump never takes the high road, he always punches back. So this, I think, was a little bit of – was a little bit of a problem on Joe Biden’s part.

Noting that “the 2020 buzz about Joe Biden continues,” Melvin asked: “Safe to say, Yamiche, that Joe Biden is running for president in 2020?”

While Alcindor agreed that Biden “has a little bit of that idea in him,” she dismissed the notion: “I think most people that are Democratic strategists realize that the last thing Democrats need is someone who ran before. They probably really need a fresh face.”

Johnson was more direct in rejecting a Biden bid in 2020: “Joe Biden is like – he’s like Brett Favre saying, ‘Man, I could have played in the Super Bowl.’ Dude, it’s over. It’s over. You’re retired, you’re out of the business, you’re not gonna run again. The Democrats have got to start fresh.” He concluded: “And that time has passed Joe Biden by. And he knows it, and he’s still bitter about it.”

Ironically, on February 9, MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell also compared Biden to an NFL quarterback, but in a more favorable manner: “There’s a parade going on in Philadelphia....So is there some part of Joe Biden who’s identifying with Nick Foles and the team as they climb the steps of the art museum today? Is there a part of you that thinks about Rocky Balboa?”

Apparently Mitchell didn’t get the memo that some on the left want to end Biden’s presidential campaign before it begins.

Here is a full transcript of the March 22 segment:

1:50 PM ET

CRAIG MELVIN: And back to the world of politics now and a major fight brewing between standard bearers of both parties. President Trump is taking on Joe Biden today after the Vice President said this at an anti-sexual assault rally in Miami Wednesday.

JOE BIDEN: They asked me would I like to debate this gentleman, and I said, “No, if we were in high school I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.” [Cheers and applause] I shouldn’t have said that. Any guy who talked that way was usually the fattest, ugliest SOB in the room. [Cheers and applause]

MELVIN: President Trump firing back in a tweet, “Crazy Joe Biden trying to act like a tough guy. Actually, he is weak, both mentally and physically, and yet he threatens me, for the second time with physical assault. He doesn’t know me, but he would go down fast and hard, crying all the way. Don’t threaten people, Joe!”

Jason Johnson is the Politics Editor for TheRoot.com, he’s also an MSNBC political contributor. And Yamiche Alcindor is a White House Correspondent for PBS NewsHour. Jason, let me start with you. Joe Biden was referring back to those original remarks that he made in 2016 on the campaign trail for Hillary Clinton. Was the former Vice President out of line in rehashing those threats of violence again? And we should note, in a room full of students, mainly young ladies.

JASON JOHNSON: Yeah, I mean, it’s – it was cute, but it shows how much our public discourse has changed over the last two years. In 2016, it was him being crazy Joe Biden. Now, with a president who regularly threatens reporters, other elected officials, and other world leaders with nuclear bombs and violence and firings and things like that, it just seems tone deaf.

And I know that Joe Biden was referring to something he said in the past, but that’s not the kind of public discourse that we want anymore from anybody who ever might run for office again. And I’m glad he recognized it was a mistake. I don’t think this should continue because it doesn’t do anything for American politics to have two 70-year-old men who ain’t about that life claiming that they’re actually going to punch each other. It’s not gonna happen. [Laughter]

MELVIN: That’s a good point, they’re not about that life. One’s 71 and Joe Biden is 75. But Yamiche, how much of this is about Joe being Joe? How much of this, do you think perhaps, could be about Joe Biden showing Donald Trump that he will not be bullied publicly the way that this president has been known to try and do?

YAMICHE ALCINDOR: I think this is Joe Biden being both. Both trying to hit back at Donald Trump and saying, “You know what? I’m gonna be the person who doesn’t go high, I’m going to go a little bit low with you, I think that’s what I need in this moment.” But I think seriously, he’s also frustrated at the fact that he's looking at this political reality and wondering, I think, in his own life, whether or not if he had run he could have beat, whether or not he could have beat Donald Trump.

I think there’s a lot of frustration there in his own political life and whether or not in the future he might run. Because it was so tone deaf and so just not the right the moment for him to be talking about physical violence, especially in front of students, as we are just about to have that march where students are saying that they don’t want violence in their schools. It just doesn’t set the right tone. And of course, I know Joe Biden knew that President Trump was gonna say something back because President Trump never takes the high road, he always punches back. So this, I think, was a little bit of – was a little bit of a problem on Joe Biden’s part.

MELVIN: Yamiche, the 2020 buzz about Joe Biden continues. Today he announced this big-name list of members on the Biden Institute Advisory Board. This is the institute that’s at the University of Delaware. This list, it’s really sort of a who’s who in terms of high-level politics. It includes former Obama campaign manager Davie Plouffe as well.  He’s also laying out his three-part vision to put workers first. Safe to say, Yamiche, that Joe Biden is running for president in 2020?

ALCINDER: It’s hard to say if he’s gonna do it, but you can understand in his mind why he thinks that it’s something that could happen for him. A lot of people who saw Bernie Sanders almost beat Hillary Clinton – and I will say, yes, maybe come close to beating Hillary Clinton is a better way to put it – are really frustrated at the fact they didn’t run. So I think Joe Biden has a little bit of that idea in him.

But I think most people that are Democratic strategists realize that the last thing Democrats need is someone who ran before. They probably really need a fresh face. All the Democratic consultants that I’ve been talking to are looking at fresh people, young people, people that are probably of color that can show a little bit of the diversity that Democrats have to offer. And so I think that that’s what they’re probably gonna want to do. But Joe Biden, I think he has his heart after that office because he was so close and decided not to run.

MELVIN: Jason, I heard you agreeing there in the background? Just 10-15 seconds.

JOHNSON: Yeah, yeah, look, Joe Biden is like – he’s like Brett Favre saying, “Man, I could have played in the Super Bowl.” Dude, it’s over. It’s over. You’re retired, you’re out of the business, you’re not gonna run again. The Democrats have got to start fresh. We need to have somebody who didn’t grow up in Vietnam running this country because there are new perspectives and new challenges this country is facing. And that time has passed Joe Biden by. And he knows it, and he’s still bitter about it.

MELVIN: Yamiche, I haven’t seen you since the big day, congrats on your marriage. Congrats on the new gig, as well, I enjoy seeing you at PBS.

ALCINDOR: Thanks.

MELVIN: And Jason, thanks for pointing out neither one of these men are about that life.

JOHNSON: Not at all. [Laughter]

MELVIN: Thank you for that.


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