The Cable

The Cable goes inside the foreign policy machine, from Foggy Bottom to Turtle Bay, the White House to Embassy Row.

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.

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.

More from Foreign Policy

The Taliban delegation leaves the hotel after meeting with representatives of Russia, China, the United States, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Qatar in Moscow on March 19.

China and the Taliban Begin Their Romance

Beijing has its eyes set on using Afghanistan as a strategic corridor once U.S. troops are out of the way.

An Afghan security member pours gasoline over a pile of seized drugs and alcoholic drinks

The Taliban Are Breaking Bad

Meth is even more profitable than heroin—and is turbocharging the insurgency.

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya addresses the U.N. Security Council from her office in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Sept. 4, 2020.

Belarus’s Unlikely New Leader

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya didn’t set out to challenge a brutal dictatorship.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid

What the Taliban Takeover Means for India

Kabul’s swift collapse leaves New Delhi with significant security concerns.