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Joe Biden moves to regain footing with vow to restore pre-Trump world order

Evan Halper, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

The speech came as Biden's momentum in the presidential race has slowed. The perception that his lead in the polls might be insurmountable dissolved following his poor performance at the Democratic debates last month, when he strained to coherently and convincingly explain his longstanding opposition to desegregating schools through mandatory busing.

Since the debate, Biden has struggled to regain his footing.

In the speech, Biden laid out specific plans for realigning America's international relations. They included organizing an immediate summit of democratic nations aimed at renewing America's commitment to the "free world," as well as restoring daily White House press briefings to signal a commitment to democratic principles.

He said restoring America's "moral leadership" required immediately ending the Trump immigration policies, which all the candidates running for the Democratic nomination have vowed to scrap.

As other candidates lay out plans to slow the surge of migrants at the border by investing in and building partnerships with Central American nations, Biden reminded listeners that during the Obama administration, he helped lead an initiative that was doing that.

"It was working," he said. "Security improved. Migrant flows began to decrease in countries like El Salvador. But Trump announced the end of our aid to Central America via tweet, with no understanding of the consequences. If elected president, I will relaunch that initiative."

Climate action, an issue that has galvanized Democrats in recent years as Trump tore up international agreements and rolled back Obama-era environmental policies, was also a focal point of Biden's address.


Biden renewed his commitment to bring the nation to net zero emissions by 2050, rejoin the Paris agreement and push other nations to make ambitious pledges for climate action.

"We've always been a nation that chooses science over fiction," he said. "We are going to return facts to our policymaking."

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