Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has promised a return to U.S. cooperation in its international relations, while accusing President Donald Trump of leaving the country’s reputation and influence “in tatters” with his “America First” policy.
Biden’s draft platform, released this week, said that under Trump, “America stands alone. Our country is less safe, our economy more fragile, and our democracy, values and unity endangered."
Biden, in the draft platform likely to be adopted next month by the Democratic National Convention as he is officially nominated as the party’s presidential nominee, accused Trump of having "retreated" from the world stage.
Biden said Trump’s actions have allowed U.S. adversaries "to fill the void," while the U.S. leader has "hollowed out American diplomacy, shredded international commitments, weakened our alliances and tarnished our credibility.
"Democrats believe four more years of Donald Trump will damage our influence beyond repair," Biden wrote.
"But closing the chapter on 'America First' is just the beginning of the work ahead. We must meet the world as it is today, not as it was before President Trump's destruction. That's why we cannot simply aspire to restore American leadership. We must reinvent it for a new era."
Trump: Biden 'not competent'
Trump has often disparaged Biden’s mental acuity to be president, telling Fox News last Sunday that Biden was “not competent to be president. To be president, you have to be sharp and tough and so many other things.”
As the Democratic draft platform was released, Trump’s re-election campaign said, "Joe Biden's failed track record of political appeasement has already proven to be catastrophic for American national security.
"President Trump has kept his promise to rebuild the military, eliminate two most-wanted terrorists, destroy the ISIS caliphate, and implement robust political and economic pressure on foreign adversaries who wish harm to the homeland.”
Biden said in the draft platform that “rather than defend democracy and human rights,” Trump has “fawned over autocrats, sent love letters to despots, sided with dictators over peaceful protesters and invited foreign interference in our elections.”
The president has been widely criticized for his claims of friendship with leaders such as Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, while at times attacking traditional allies in Europe.
“Rather than end our forever wars, he's brought us to the brink of new conflicts, and further militarized our foreign policy," Biden said of Trump. "Rather than reduce nuclear dangers, he's amplified them, and brought the world closer to catastrophe."
Difference on military spending
Trump has sharply increased military spending during his 3½ years in the White House. Biden says he plans to cut it, arguing, "We can maintain a strong defense and protect our safety and security for less."
The draft said Biden would re-engage with the world. He wants to extend nuclear arms control measures with Russia that Trump has sought to end; reinforce U.S. involvement in the West’s NATO military alliance that Trump has accused allies of not paying enough money to support; and seek to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal to restrain Tehran’s nuclear weapons development that Trump dropped out of.
On the home front, the draft Democratic platform called for more robust health care insurance coverage for senior citizens to cover dental, vision and hearing aid needs. But the document stopped short of a call for Medicare for All coverage that centrist Biden's more progressive Democratic presidential opponents called for during the race for the party’s presidential nomination.
“We are proud our party welcomes advocates who want to build on and strengthen the Affordable Care Act [adopted when Biden was vice president under former President Barack Obama] and those who support a Medicare for All approach; all are critical to ensuring that health care is a human right,” the document said.