Just some months in the past, President Biden hardly ever stated the identify of his possible opponent within the 2024 presidential election — former President Donald J. Trump — as an alternative invoking different Republicans as proxies throughout public occasions or, every now and then, referring merely to “the previous man.”
However talking in Las Vegas on Friday, Mr. Biden didn’t maintain again.
“Trump simply talks to speak,” he stated on the Carpenters Worldwide Coaching Heart in Las Vegas, a union hub favored by Democrats. “We stroll the stroll.”
After which his phrases turned even sharper: “He likes to say America is a failing nation. Frankly, he doesn’t know what the hell he’s speaking about.”
Mr. Biden was in Las Vegas to announce $8.2 billion in funding for passenger rail tasks, and he used the chance to criticize his predecessor’s strategy to infrastructure, saying that “the final administration tried to cancel” a rail venture in California and that his newest investments “stand in stark distinction.”
“He all the time talked about ‘infrastructure week,’ 4 years of ‘infrastructure week,’ but it surely failed — he failed,” Mr. Biden stated, referring to Mr. Trump. “On my watch, as an alternative of infrastructure week, America’s having ‘infrastructure decade.’”
The shift comes as officers for the Biden marketing campaign have taken an curiosity in making an attempt to make use of Mr. Trump, and his actions and phrases each throughout and after his presidency, as a foil to bolster Mr. Biden’s re-election effort. That technique is one which another elected Democrats throughout the nation have been much less eager on, arguing that Mr. Biden must do extra to advertise his personal accomplishments whereas in workplace.
A ballot launched final month by The New York Instances and Siena School discovered that Mr. Trump was main Mr. Biden in Nevada by 10 factors, the biggest margin throughout six important battleground states surveyed.
Mr. Trump, who in most nationwide polls leads the sector of Republican main candidates by more than 40 percentage points, will maintain a rally in Reno later this month.
Mr. Biden’s go to to Las Vegas got here on the heels of two tragedies within the state: the killing of two state troopers in a hit-and-run final week, and a taking pictures on Wednesday on the College of Nevada, Las Vegas, that killed three college members. Mr. Biden met with the college’s president and a few of its college students and different neighborhood members earlier than delivering his remarks on the infrastructure funding, in line with the White Home.
For a couple of minutes throughout his speech, he paused to deal with gun violence, renewing his requires Congress to “step up” and go laws that would come with restrictions on assault rifles and common background checks.
“People, we received to get sensible,” he stated. “There have been over 600 mass shootings in America this 12 months alone, plus each day acts of gun violence that don’t even make the nationwide information.” He added, “This isn’t regular.”
However the occasion’s main focus was to advertise his administration’s agenda, and in doing so, not directly make his pitch for one more 4 years in workplace to a pleasant viewers.
Mr. Biden, who earned the nickname Amtrak Joe after commuting by prepare between Delaware and Washington, D.C., for many years, notably praised an allocation for a 218-mile high-speed rail line between Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
He additionally talked up the most recent employment figures launched Friday by the Labor Division — which reported that employers had added 199,000 jobs in November — briefly acknowledging that “we all know the costs are nonetheless too excessive for too many issues.”
Mr. Biden appeared alongside Senator Jacky Rosen, a Democrat who’s going through a aggressive re-election subsequent 12 months after defeating an incumbent herself in 2018.
Nevada is one in every of a number of key states the place Democrats might want to succeed subsequent 12 months to retain management of the White Home and the Senate. Whereas Nevada has voted for Democrats within the final a number of presidential elections — together with Mr. Biden in 2020 — different races have been extra inconsistent.
Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto received re-election within the 2022 midterms in a slender victory, serving to the Democrats preserve management of the Senate. However that very same 12 months, voters ousted the state’s Democratic governor, Steve Sisolak, in favor of his Republican challenger, Joseph Lombardo.