Joe Biden condemns Trump tax policy, touts working class in Iowa City stop

Democratic presidential-nomination hopeful Joe Biden made his first official 2020 campaign stop in Iowa City on Wednesday, where he railed against President Trump’s tax policies and rhetoric he deemed racist.


Katina Zentz

Former Vice President and 2020 Presidential Democratic candidate Joe Biden speaks at Big Grove Brewery on Wednesday, May 1, 2019.

Julia Shanahan, Politics Reporter

Former Vice President Joe Biden condemned President Trump’s tax policies and rallied for working-class families at Big Grove Brewery in Iowa City on Wednesday.

Biden called America’s working class the backbone of the country. He said he would revise Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act if he were to be elected. He said the package, signed in December 2017, favored wealthy people and increased the national debt.

“We should be rewarding work, not wealth,” Biden said in Iowa City, echoing his rally for working-class families at his Tuesday stop in Cedar Rapids.

Biden said a president who serves eight years in the White House could fundamentally change the structure of the country. He pointed to the neo-Nazi demonstration that happened in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017 and criticized how Trump handled that situation.

“We are in a battle for the soul of the nation, and we have to defeat Donald Trump in 2020,” Biden said in Iowa City. “The stakes are too high.”

Biden said his measure of economic success is based on growing the middle class and giving families financial “breathing room.” Additionally, he emphasized the importance of affordable higher education.

“No one should have to work 40 hours a week and still live in poverty,” Biden said, saying he wants to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Iowa’s minimum wage lines up with the national minimum wage at $7.25 per hour.

Iowa’s unemployment rate is 2.4 percent — one of the lowest in the country. The number of working Iowans reached 1.65 million in November 2018, which is the highest number of working Iowans in state history, according to the Iowa Workforce Development.

The median household income in Iowa is $58,570, which is lower than the national median income of $60,336, according to Data USA.

North Liberty resident Chris Kromphardt attended the event at Big Grove Brewery because he said it’s important to hear what every candidate has to say with 20 Democrats now running in the field.

Kromphardt said he thinks Biden stands out because of name recognition, but with the #MeToo movement holding some people accountable for past actions, Kromphardt says he wants to hear Biden talk more about his past that has been under recent backlash.

Biden led the hearings on Anita Hill’s testimony about sexual harassment during the confirmation process of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thompson in 1991 while he was the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“I want to hear him talk more about [Anita Hill] because I don’t think that he recognizes the flashpoint [#MeToo] has been in society,” Kromphardt said.

Sixty-year Iowa City resident Diane Baker said Biden should address some of this controversy, but not dwell on it. She said she thinks Biden has one of the best track records as a politician compared with any other Democratic candidate.

Baker said she supports Biden as her candidate because he has more experience in politics than any other candidate currently in the field.

“I feel like if you’ve lived any life at all — in other words, if you’re over age 50 — you are going to have some kind of baggage,” Baker said.

Biden headed to Des Moines Wednesday after his Iowa City visit.

Polling in Iowa shows strong support for Biden despite a crowded Democratic field. In the Des Moines Register’s first 2020 presidential poll in March, Biden held the lead with 27 percent of responders choosing him as their first choice.

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