PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Former vice president and current Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden arrived in Portland this Saturday.
The presidential hopeful was in town for an invitation-only fundraising event, held at a Southwest Portland home on the Willamette River, before jetting off to his next stop on the campaign trail. Supporters paid between $1,000 and $10,000 to meet and take a photo with the career politician. Among those in attendance were Columbia Sportswear CEO Tim Boyle and Portland real estate developer Jordan Schnitzer.
“He’s known every foreign leader of the past 38 years, he’s worked closely with them,” said Schnitzer.
Carol Butler and Win McCormack, the city’s top Democratic donors, hosted the exclusive event. While media was not allowed inside, KOIN 6 News’ Lisa Balick could hear Biden’s speech to the donors.
“I think all I need to tell you about him is that President Obama said that was the best decision he ever made. So I’m just going to turn this over to the best decision President Obama ever made,” said Butler in his introduction of Biden.
Biden started his speech thanking those in attendance and cracking a few jokes before turning to more serious subject matters.
“I decided something different is happening right now. Even more than what we’ve been not accustomed to with this president,” he said, referring to President Donald Trump. “The more, the more pressure he’s under, the more erratic he becomes. I mean, it’s becoming truly erratic.”
Biden said he has worked with 8 presidents, and while he has had disagreements with previous presidents, he has never said this before:
“This is the most corrupt president in modern American history, maybe in American history.” He went on to say that he rates Trump up there with Andrew Jackson and Andrew Johnson, who was Vice President at the time of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.
Biden also touched on both national and international current events. He recalled his recent visit to California where he was less than 10 miles from where the Santa Clarita school shoot happened, during which 2 students were killed. He warned of the precarious relationships the United States has with the rest of the world, specifically, European allies.
“We now have our allies who are wondering about whether or not we’re reliable at all,” said Biden. “If this president is reelected 4 years—I know I didn’t plan to make this about foreign policy—but the truth of the matter is if he’s elected for 8 years, it will fundamentally change who we are as a nation. In addition to that, there will be no NATO.”
In his speech, he spoke to domestic issues such as climate change, education, and rebuilding the middle class. During his closing statements, he said the following:
“I got elected when I was 29. I was considered to be this young idealist who was optimistic. I wasn’t old enough to be sworn in when I got elected. For real. I had to wait 17 days to be able.”
“But I’m more optimistic today than I was then. America can own the 21st century. And the world needs us to, the world needs us badly to do it. We have only one problem. We have to get rid of the man’s there.”
“The next president, next president can have to do two things. They’re going to inherit a divided nation and a world in disarray. And there’s no time for on the job training.”
Congressman Kurt Schrader, who was in attendance, announced he’s backing Biden for the Democratic nomination.
“His relationships both on the House and Senate side—critical,” said Schrader. “That’s what the American people need right now.”
Dwight Holton, the CEO of Lines for Life, said he thought the issues that Biden emphasized in his speech were “right up Oregon’s alley.”
“The emphasis on climate change, need for immediate action and the need for supporting and growing the middle class and building jobs—not just $15 an hour jobs, but $45 an hour jobs with green tech,” said Holton.
The Portland visit is part of a 4-day West Coast swing for the former Vice President. He did not stop to take any questions.
His Portland visit was relatively brief, most likely because he was due to appear in Las Vegas just hours later. After his Portland/Las Vegas stops, Biden will head to Elko, Nevada before heading back to Vegas. In the days before his stop in Portland, Biden also visited Los Angeles and Seattle.
Biden is one of the top-polling Democratic presidential candidates and the fourth one to appear in Portland this year after Andrew Yang, Pete Buttigieg and Senator Cory Booker.
KOIN 6 News will have more information throughout the day.