With barely concealed fury, he said that Beau Biden “wasn’t a ‘sucker,’” adding, “The servicemen and women he served with, particularly those who did not come home, were not ‘losers.’”
He called the report “absolutely damnable,” and he was unsparing in denouncing Mr. Trump’s behavior. “I’ve just never been as disappointed in my whole career with a leader that I’ve worked with, president or otherwise,” he said.
“It is sick,” Mr. Biden added. “It is deplorable. It is so un-American. It is so unpatriotic.”
Mr. Trump on Friday repeated his denial of the report. “It was a totally fake story, and that was confirmed by many people who were actually there,” he told reporters in the Oval Office. “I’ve done more for the military than almost anybody else.”
Military veterans often lean Republican, and they supported Mr. Trump over Hillary Clinton by a large margin in the 2016 election, according to exit polls. But in 2018 a number of the most prominent Democratic House candidates were veterans, and Mr. Biden, who has been endorsed by a long list of Republican national security experts, hopes to appeal to more voters with ties to the military.
Mr. Biden’s condemnation of Mr. Trump came in a speech that was otherwise focused on the economy, an area that has been a source of political strength for the president, though the ravages of the pandemic have threatened his standing on the issue. In a national Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday, likely voters were evenly split on whether Mr. Trump or Mr. Biden would do a better job handling the economy.
But Mr. Biden’s reaction to the president’s reported comments set the tone for his event, at which he also fielded questions from the news media. Asked about supporters of QAnon, the pro-Trump conspiracy theory, Mr. Biden suggested they should seek treatment.
“I’ve been a big supporter of mental health,” he said. “I’d recommend the people who believe it maybe should take advantage while it still exists in the Affordable Care Act. It’s bizarre. Totally bizarre.”