The Cable

Biden on Trump: Profiling Muslims Will Make Us Less Safe

Echoing some of Hillary Clinton’s new attack lines, Vice President Joe Biden tore into Republican businessman Donald Trump on Monday and warned that the presumptive GOP nominee’s calls to profile Muslims or bar them from entering the country will leave the United States less safe.

Then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Aug. 15, 2015. (Jason Davis/Getty Images)
Then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Aug. 15, 2015. (Jason Davis/Getty Images)

Echoing some of Hillary Clinton’s new attack lines, Vice President Joe Biden tore into Republican businessman Donald Trump on Monday and warned that the presumptive GOP nominee’s proposals to profile Muslims or bar them from entering the country will leave the United States less safe.

“Terrorism must and will be defeated, but our campaign against violent extremism must be smart and remain consistent with American values,” he said, speaking to a crowd at the Center for a New American Security’s annual conference in Washington.

The address by Biden, who had considered running for the presidency last year, was one of the vice president’s lengthiest diatribes against Trump to date. Without explicitly mentioning the businessman’s name, Biden criticized Trump’s  call to build a wall along the Mexican border and his suggestions that Muslim Americans have been complicit in terror attacks in the United States.

In noting the population of Muslims in the world, Biden said “some of the rhetoric I’m hearing sounds designed to radicalize all 1.4 billion.”

“ISIL wants to manufacture a clash of civilizations,” he said, using an acronym for the Islamic State. “They want America to view things in terms of us versus them. Why in God’s name are we giving them what they want?”

Although Biden’s address sought to capitalize on the Republican’s controversial policies, Trump has shown no interest in backing away from his more provocative proposals and has in some cases doubled down on them. On Sunday, he put forward a new proposal to begin systematically profiling Muslims in the U.S. at large events or airports in order to spot terrorists before they can carry out new attacks.

“We really have to look at profiling,” Trump told CBS. “We have to look at it seriously.”

“And other countries do it,” Trump said, mentioning the government of Israel. “And it’s not the worst thing to do. I hate the concept of profiling, but we have to use common sense.”

Trump has in many ways rewritten the rules of presidential campaigns by accusing U.S. allies such as Japan, Germany and South Korea of “ripping off” the American people through lopsided trade deals and failing to pay enough for U.S. military protection.

Biden questioned that approach on Monday, saying that “denigrating our closest partners as liabilities is a serious and tragic mistake.”

During the address, Biden was also in typical Biden form.

When the CNAS CEO Michele Flournoy accidentally introduced him as the event’s “candidate” instead of “keynote speaker,” Biden performed a quick sign of the cross, a wink at his past presidential ambitions.

Before beginning his speech, he jokingly referred to Flournoy as “madam secretary” referencing widespread rumors that Clinton, if elected, will appoint her as the first female secretary of defense.

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