While political rivals continue to pursue the narrative that President Donald Trump received foreign assistance ahead of his 2016 victory, a startling video clip featuring Democratic challenger Joe Biden is resurfacing after seven years.
He told an audience that he responded to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ascension to power by asking the communist leader for help, as reported by the New York Post.
“I asked if he could possibly help me”
Biden’s apparent attempt at a joke came in 2013 during the opening of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in D.C.
“I congratulated him on his elevation, I asked if he could possibly help me,” the then-vice president said at the time. The comment reportedly evoked laughter from both American and Chinese dignitaries gathered for the event.
While many of Biden’s biggest political scandals have originated with something that he said in public, the current climate makes his offhanded remark about China especially distasteful.
Even if voters are inclined to take him at his word when he dismissed the comment as a joke, the incident appears to show a clear double standard when compared to the aftermath of a similar remark Trump made three years later.
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said during a July 2016 campaign event, referencing a scandal involving Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
“Expanding its influence efforts”
In subsequent statements, he has similarly stated that he was merely joking.
Nevertheless, pundits have continued to opine that his comments constituted a violation of the law.
Although Trump’s critics point to evidence that Russian operatives would prefer that he serve another term as evidence of improper collusion, the same argument could be made against Biden. Intelligence officials believe China is among the countries backing Biden in November’s race.
“China has been expanding its influence efforts ahead of November 2020 to shape the policy environment in the United States, pressure political figures it views as opposed to China’s interests, and deflect and counter criticism of China,” said National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina as part of a recent assessment.
While Biden might have gotten away with his remark in 2013, it is clear that his so-called joke is no longer a laughing matter.