- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 14, 2020

President Trump and Joseph R. Biden both delivered speeches Tuesday on the same topic: the Biden agenda.

Mr. Biden, the presumed Democratic presidential nominee, rolled out a $2 trillion plan to combat climate change during his first term in the Oval Office.

The proposed environmental rebuild of the country, he said, would set America on a path for “net-zero emissions no later than 2050.”

He said Mr. Trump’s refusal to address climate change and his bungled response to the coronavirus pandemic call for a massive downpayment on a pro-environment agenda that will lead to new jobs and fewer carbon emissions.

“There is no more consequential challenge that we must meet in the next decade than the onrushing climate crisis,” Mr. Biden said in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware. “Left unchecked, it is literally an existential threat to our planet and to our very survival.”

“When Donald Trump thinks about climate change, the only word he can muster is ‘hoax,’” Mr. Biden said. “When I think about climate change, the word I think about is ‘jobs.’”

A couple of hours later, Mr. Trump had his turn.

In a Rose Garden speech predicated on announcing tough new policies on China, Mr. Trump spent nearly an hour picking apart Mr. Biden’s plans.

Joe Biden gave a speech in which he said that the core of his economic agenda is a hard left crusade against American energy,” said the president. “He wants to kill American energy.”

He railed against Mr. Biden allowing far-left champions Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to write his policies.

“In other words, he wants to impose the Green New Deal on our country,” said Mr. Trump. “When I first saw the green new deal I thought it was a joke.”

Mr. Biden stopped short of adopting the Green New Deal environmental makeover of the economy but his $2 trillion plan represented a big step in that direction.

The president also blasted Mr. Biden for adopting a “unity platform” devised by his and Mr. Sanders’ teams that checks off a far-left wish list including universal pre-K, mandatory 12-week paid family leave for all workers, an end to deportations, and citizenship rights to 11 million illegal immigrants.

“Think of that — abolish immigration enforcement,” said Mr. Trump. “Basically, as you know, what they’re going to do is they’re going to rip down the wall.”

A reporter asked whether Mr. Trump believes he is the underdog against Mr. Biden, who leads in most polls as the president’s job approval ratings plummet amid the public health and economic crises.

Mr. Trump said he isn’t the underdog, predicted he will win in November, and said the polls are wrong.

“I think the enthusiasm now is greater than it was in 2016,” Mr. Trump said. “I think a lot of people don’t want to talk about it. I think you have a silent majority, the likes [of which] this country has never seen before. I think we have a great chance.”

But he added that he is “very worried about the mail-in vote because I think it’s subject to tremendous fraud.”

Mr. Biden’s energy plan is part of an economic recovery package that grew out of the recommendations from the Biden-Sanders unity task force on climate change.

The task force was co-chaired by Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and former Secretary of State John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee.

The Biden camp believes that it can make inroads against Mr. Trump by highlighting his failure to deliver on his promise to revamp the nation’s infrastructure.

Mr. Biden’s plan calls for a “carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035,” retrofitting 4 million buildings in an environmentally friendly way and establishing universal broadband access.

Mr. Biden also borrowed from the plan laid out by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who made climate change the centerpiece of his failed 2020 presidential run. Mr. Biden adopted Mr. Inslee’s proposal to establish an Environmental and Climate Justice Division within the U.S. Department of Justice to hold corporate polluters accountable.

Mr. Biden said his plan would generate good-paying union jobs, improve air quality, and restore the nation’s “crumbling roads and bridges and ports.”

“When Donald Trump thinks about renewable energy, he sees windmills somehow causing cancer,” Mr. Biden said. “When I think about these windmills, I see American manufacturing, Americans workers racing to dominate the market.”

Mr. Biden said Mr. Trump and Republican lawmakers have failed to act.

In the Rose Garden, Mr. Trump flipped the accusation back at Mr. Biden, noting that his rival was the vice president in the Obama White House for eight years while America’s infrastructure languished.

“Why didn’t he fix them? He was there for eight years with President Obama. Why didn’t they fix them,” he said. “Three years ago is not a long time. And he didn’t do any of those things He never did anything except make very bad decisions.”

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