Joe Biden Says Donald Trump Has Trashed 'Norms' and Made the World More Dangerous

Joe Biden
Former Vice President Joe Biden delivers a speech during the Concordia Europe Summit in Athens, Greece June 7, 2017. Costas Baltas/Reuters

Former Vice President Joe Biden took aim at Donald Trump on Tuesday, saying that the president "doesn't understand governance" and claimed that one European prime minister had told him that the mogul reminds him of Benito Mussolini, the Italian fascist.

The 74-year-old made his comments at a University of Delaware bipartisanship forum alongside 2016 GOP presidential candidate John Kasich, who has also been critical of the president.

Biden said 14 heads of state have contacted him since he left the vice presidency for tips on understanding the new president. One of them said Europeans were aghast at Trump's "bizarre behavior" at a NATO conference this spring when Trump elbowed aside the prime minister of Montenegro—a strongman gesture that was widely criticized at the time.

"It reminds me of Il Duce," Biden said, quoting the head of state.

Biden argued that Trump's "breaking down of norms" of civility is more dangerous than any particular policy position, citing the president's handling of the nuclear crisis in North Korea. "You don't say a foreign leader even someone as difficult and dangerous as the president of North a little guy," Biden said.

The forum was not the first time Biden has chided Trump since leaving office but it was his most extensive remarks on the new president. He allowed that he had given the new president an especially long honeymoon period to figure things out because "they didn't expect to win."

Biden berated the president for blaming "both sides" for the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August. And he earned a chuckle when he told his audience that he regularly get calls from Obama administration holdovers in the Trump government.

"Please stay," Biden said he tells them.

For the most part, it was a love fest between Biden and Kasich, each emphasizing their working-class roots growing up in Pennsylvania, entering politics in their 20s and believing in bipartisanship despite the country's political divides. Neither was asked about running for president in 2020—though neither has ruled it out.

Biden's daughter, Ashley, told Women's Wear Daily in September that her father hasn't decided on a 2020 presidential bid. "He's not there" yet, she said, but added that she's hoping he will.