Former Vice President Joe Biden took some heat from his competitors for skipping out on a major Iowa Democratic event where nearly every other major 2020 presidential candidate spoke — but Biden said he had a good reason to be absent.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t attend the Hall of Fame events over the weekend — but it was my daughter’s birthday and my granddaughter’s graduation from high school,” Biden will say Tuesday, according to his prepared remarks.
“I guess some folks were surprised I made that choice, but I don’t know why. There are some things more important than running for president — and my daughter and granddaughter are two of them. So I’ll make the same decision every time.”
At the Hall of Fame event, some Democratic candidates took the opportunity to either directly or indirectly call out Biden.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) took a hit at Biden for his desire to produce “middle ground” policies on climate change.
“In my view, that approach is not just bad public policy, but it’s a failed political strategy,” he said.
Even Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) took a subtle jab at the former vice president. She didn’t name him, but Biden has been spending time at big donor events to bring in funds for his campaign.
“I’m not spending my time with high-dollar donors and with corporate lobbyists,” Warren said in Iowa this weekend. “I’m spending my time with you.”
It was at one of those donor events in Washington, D.C., on Monday where he first defended his move to skip the Hall of Fame.
“One of my competitors criticized me for not going to Iowa to talk for five minutes,” he said, according to The Hill. “My granddaughter was graduating. It was my daughter’s birthday. I would skip inauguration for that.”