Presidential hopeful Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE said Tuesday he believes Republicans will have an “epiphany” and be more willing to work with Democrats when President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE leaves office.
“I just think there is a way, and the thing that will fundamentally change things is with Donald Trump out of the White House — not a joke — you will see an epiphany occur among many of my Republican friends,” the former vice president said during a campaign stop in New Hampshire, adding that the GOP feels “intimidated” by Trump.
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“If we can’t change, we’re in trouble. This nation cannot function without generating consensus. It can’t do it,” he continued, according to several media outlets.
Fuller remarks from Joe Biden in NH today on reviving bipartisanship and the GOP “epiphany” he expects to see once Trump leaves office. pic.twitter.com/lvoJ8zvE8a
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) May 14, 2019
Biden, who officially launched his presidential bid last month, came out of the gate swinging against Trump, particularly focusing on the president’s controversial comments about the deadly 2017 Charlottesville protests and saying Trump could “fundamentally alter the character of this nation” if reelected.
However, he has touted his ability to work with rank-and-file Republicans, defending his record of working across the aisle during his decades in the Senate and eight years as vice president, when he served as former President Obama’s link to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote GOP senator to try to reverse requirement that Pentagon remove Confederate names from bases No, ‘blue states’ do not bail out ‘red states’ MORE (R-Ky.).
The party’s progressive wing has been chagrined by Biden’s past overtures to Republicans and his vows to continue working across the aisle.
“Real change isn’t coming from epiphanies by Mitch McConnell and other corrupt Republican politicians, but from all of us organizing for change together,” the Progressive Change Campaign Committee said in a statement regarding Biden’s remarks Tuesday. “Just like his support of NAFTA and a middle ground on the existential climate crisis, this epiphany comment is the latest example of Biden operating in an insider world of yesteryear and shows that he is our worst foot forward in the general election.”
Despite progressive angst, surveys suggest that Democrats are looking for a candidate who can work across the aisle. A CNN poll released last month showed that 77 percent of Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents believed that being willing to work with Republicans is either “extremely” or “very” important.
Biden has surged in polls since his April announcement, establishing leads in a crowded primary field in national and statewide surveys.