BEAUFORT, South Carolina — Joe Biden’s sister — one of his closest political advisers — called President Donald Trump “unhinged” Tuesday as she talked about how Trump’s unfounded attacks on her brother and nephew are affecting her family.
Valerie Biden Owens made the remarks during a meet-and-greet with voters at a home in South Carolina’s Lowcountry. After a 20-minute speech inside a packed dining room, Gene Rugala of Beaufort asked Biden Owens how her brother, the former vice president, was dealing with an impeachment inquiry focused on how Trump asked Ukraine’s government to investigate Biden and his son, Hunter.
“Well, I can tell you that he does better than I do with it,” Biden Owens said. “It’s not pleasant. But Trump has really laid out all of his cards. This is really not about my family. He has chosen my family to be the vehicle that he can [use to] influence the election.”
Biden Owens spoke during two days of campaign stops in South Carolina. While she doesn’t have the formal title now, Biden Owens managed her brother’s Senate campaigns and earlier presidential runs. She also helped raise her brother’s sons after his first wife and daughter died in a car crash in 1972.
Trump and some of his allies have raised accusations that, as vice president, Biden pushed for the removal of a Ukrainian prosecutor because they said the prosecutor was investigating Hunter Biden’s business dealings in the country. There is no evidence that that is the case, and Biden was one of many officials from Western governments and institutions who wanted the prosecutor out.
The attacks have pushed the Biden family into the spotlight, something Joe Biden was mindful might happen before deciding to run for president. The attacks also have the potential to raise doubts among voters. Rugala, who is uncommitted, told BuzzFeed News before Biden Owens’ speech that he is worried the accusations are “going to hurt” Biden’s candidacy.
“This is a wild time,” Rugala said.
But Biden and his allies believe Trump’s efforts to persuade foreign governments to investigate him underscores how worried the White House is about his candidacy. Many polls show Biden ahead of other Democrats and with the largest head-to-head lead against Trump.
“So do you want to be in this scrum? No,” Biden Owens said Tuesday as she continued her response to Rugala. “But the part that is, not refreshing — hopeful to me, or makes me feel good, is that Trump thinks that we’re the guy to beat. It’s perverse, it’s backwards. But he’s coming after us. I don’t want to protest too much, but the press has done their job on this. We haven’t had to do it. There’s nothing there there. Now it’s China. I mean, this guy’s unhinged.”
Joe Biden himself has made a similar claim about the president. In a speech in Las Vegas last week, Biden referred to Trump as “unhinged,” and in an ad campaign released last week, Biden said that Trump, “fearful about his reelection,” is “becoming more unhinged.”
Since asking Ukraine to investigate Biden in a phone call with the country’s president, Trump has publicly called on China to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden. Trump told reporters late last week that “China should start an investigation into the Bidens,” something that Chinese officials rejected this week.
“We don’t have an emperor,” Biden Owens said of Trump, before closing with what she suggested as a campaign mantra.
“Joe will take him down,” she said. “Take down Trump — TDT!”