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Tipsheet

Biden’s Top 2020 Rivals Are Not Running to His Defense

AP Photo/John Locher

While the 2020 presidential candidates are in agreement that President Trump is everything from a traitor to a mob boss over the Ukraine saga, none of the top candidates have been willing to come to Joe Biden’s defense. 

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Democrats had alleged that Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky included threats to withhold military aid unless the country investigated Biden’s son, Hunter. Hunter, you’ll recall, was paid $50,000 a month by Ukraine’s largest gas company to be a board member, even though he had no background that would qualify him for such a position. 

While the transcript of the call showed none of the things Democrats had claimed, that hasn’t stopped the impeachment train. But in their attacks against Trump, the top 2020 Democrats have been in a tough situation: defend Biden and risk boosting the former VP or come out against him. Instead, their reactions have been somewhere in the middle. 

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren suggested she’d consider barring her vice president’s children from serving on the boards of foreign companies, the very kind of business arrangement Trump has used in unfounded attacks accusing Biden and his son Hunter of corruption.

When asked whether Trump’s attacks reflect on Biden’s “campaign or his character,” California Sen. Kamala Harris said, “I’ll leave that up to the pundits. I don’t have a comment on that.” And Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who in 2016 defended Hillary Clinton against attacks over her use of a private email server as secretary of state, sidestepped a question about whether the Biden controversy makes him a weaker candidate.

The reactions signal just how contentious the Democratic primary could become in the months ahead if it unfolds against the backdrop of impeachment proceedings in Congress. Even as Biden’s leading competitors for the Democratic presidential nomination accuse Trump of abusing the power of his office, they have been willing to let Biden navigate the situation on his own. (AP)

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As the AP story goes on to report, it's only some of the long-shot candidates who have been willing to come to Biden's defense. 

So far, Biden has opted to not respond directly. Over the weekend, when a reporter asked about whether he'd spoken to Hunter about working in Ukraine, Biden waved his finger at him and told him to "ask the right questions."

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