Biden, in economic speech, blasts Trump as 'exactly the wrong person to lead us'

His criticism came during a broader speech that largely focused on a new economic policy released this week.
Image: Joe Biden speaks about the U.S. economy during a campaign event at McGregor Industries in Dunmore
Joe Biden speaks about the U.S. economy during a campaign event at McGregor Industries in Dunmore, Pa., on Thursday, July 9, 2020.Tom Brenner / Reuters
By Adam Edelman

Joe Biden on Thursday blasted President Donald Trump as "exactly the wrong person to lead us at this moment," calling him a divisive leader who is "determined to drive this country apart."

Biden, speaking at McGregor Industries, a metal works plant in Dunmore, Pennsylvania, not far from his hometown, Scranton, drew a stark comparison between Trump and himself, telling his socially distanced audience, "I see a different America than Trump."

"One that, despite all our flaws and shortcomings and failings, is still dedicated to equality, liberty, human dignity and justice," he said.

"That’s the tragedy of Donald Trump being our president," Biden said. "He is exactly the wrong person to lead us at this moment."

Biden said Trump would never "be president for all the American people" and that he’s repeatedly drawn on the "worst moments of our past."

"Donald Trump may believe in pitting Americans against Americans. I don’t," Biden said at another point.

His criticism of Trump came during a broader speech that largely focused on a new economic policy released by the Biden campaign — designed to counter Trump’s "America First" policies — focusing on reviving American manufacturing.

Biden’s "Build Back Better" plan, released this week, calls for directing $400 billion in federal procurement spending on American-made products while tightening enforcement of "Buy American" provisions and investing another $300 billion in research and development initiatives aimed at developing new technologies that could be marketed globally.

Biden said Thursday that his plan was designed to ensure that "the future is made in America" and vowed that it would create 5 million "new good-paying jobs."

Taking another swing at Trump, Biden said that his plan would make sure that "everyone will be cut in on the deal this time," and that the pre-pandemic economic growth the U.S. saw under the president only benefited "Trump’s cronies and pals."

The Biden policy team worked closely with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., in formulating the plan, two sources familiar with the discussion told NBC News.

In the coming weeks, Biden is expected to lay out additional initiatives that would both provide a needed boost to the economy while also addressing other challenges — specifically climate change and the pandemic.

Mike Memoli and Marianna Sotomayor contributed.