Biden chides Trump for being ‘a little busy right now’

President Joe Biden cracked a rare quip about former President Donald Trump’s ongoing criminal trial during a speech Wednesday, after his campaign has so far largely avoided broaching the subject.

“Under my predecessor, who’s a little busy right now, Pennsylvania lost 275,000 jobs,” Biden said during a speech at the United Steelworkers Headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Trump’s first criminal trial kicked off with jury selection in a Manhattan court on Monday and Tuesday as the former president faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in his hush money case. The trial has forced Trump to adapt his presidential reelection campaign to the trial schedule, which is expected to last between six and eight weeks.

The hush money case is the first of four criminal trials Trump is facing, though it’s unclear how many others will actually go to trial ahead of the November elections. He is also facing charges for allegedly attempting to overturn Biden’s 2020 presidential victory; alleged election interference in Georgia; and for allegedly keeping sensitive national security documents in his Mar-a-Lago home after leaving the White House.

Biden’s campaign, meanwhile, is sticking to its policy script to draw contrasts with his Republican rival. In a speech in Scranton Tuesday, the day after Tax Day, Biden said when he “look[s] at the economy, I don’t see it through the eyes of Mar-a-Lago, I see it through the eyes of Scranton.” He added in an interview with Nexstar Tuesday that Trump’s “lack of ethics has nothing to do with me.”

The president is currently on a three-day campaign swing through the key battleground state of Pennsylvania, which he won in 2020.

Later in his speech Wednesday, Biden became more serious as he spoke of his late son Beau and other family members who were in the military. He had visited a war memorial park in Scranton, Pa., earlier in the day.

“I was reminded of what my opponent said in Paris. They asked him to go visit American gravesites, he said no, he wouldn’t do it, they were all ‘suckers’ and ‘losers,’” Biden said. He became audibly emotional as he added, “That man didn’t deserve to be the commander-in-chief of my son.”

The Atlantic first reported in 2020 that Trump made the remarks in November 2018 when canceling a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris. Trump has denied he ever made the comments, for which Biden has torn into his rival before.

The incumbent speaks frequently of Beau, who died in May 2015. Biden announced in October 2015 that he would not seek the presidency in 2016, prioritizing his family and grieving his son’s death, before running in 2020.

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