Two presidential candidates used the word “existential” in speeches on the same day on the trail this week. One was Joe Biden talking about Donald Trump, the other was Pete Buttigieg, who was stealthily moving in on one of the vice president’s signature issues.
Biden captured the attention of 2020 watchers during his trip to Iowa, where he called President Trump an “existential threat” to the country. The former vice president, who grew increasingly aggressive in his attacks on Wednesday as he and Trump held competing events at nearly the same time in the first caucus state, sought to position himself as a steady hand on the world stage, an elder statesman that can restore America to its rightful place.
“Our democracy is at risk. I never thought I would say those words. But it's true,” Biden said. “Just look at what's happening around the world. Dictators and tyrants are using Trump's words to justify their own abuses of power in their countries. Trump's goal is simple–discredit the news, discredit the free press–and he gets to run roughshod over America.”