NEW YORK, NY – Former vice president and presidential candidate Joe Biden caused a stir Saturday night by ripping up a photograph of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders on live television.
The incident occurred during an appearance on the late-night comedy show Saturday Night Live. Biden, who was the guest host for the evening, delivered a lighthearted opening monolog touching on topics ranging from President Trump to foreign policy (Maduro? More like Mad-ur-on notice, buster!), to protecting the Affordable Care Act (Soon we’ll be calling it JoebammaCare).
“He finished up his set, then pulled out that photo of Bernie, said ‘fight the real enemy‘ and tore it half. It was shocking,” commented CNN political commentator Chris Cillizza. “But it sends a clear message to voters that a vote for Biden is a vote very much against Bernie Sanders’ radical proposals like healthcare, education, or the Green New Deal.”
Many see the move as a rebuke of President Trump’s accusation that Biden supports wildly popular programs championed by Sanders during the 2016 and 2020 primaries. These include Medicare for All, which over 90% of democrats and over 50% of republicans support. The move Saturday night is a strong rejection of the socialist, communist, or far left labels Trump has tried to pin on Biden.
Throughout the campaign trail, Biden has reminded voters that he ‘beat the socialist.’ By tearing up Sanders’ photograph, Biden is sending a signal to voters that he also has contempt for his former rival, his policy proposals, and his supporters.
“We’re a big tent party,” explained Neera Tanden, president of the democratic think-tank Center for American Progress. “And part of building a winning coalition means abandoning the progressive-wing of the party, rejecting popular policies designed to enhance peoples’ lives, embracing the center, and appealing to moderate republicans in the suburbs. That is the message Joe Biden is sending. We want to welcome republicans with open arms.”
The incident Saturday caught the attention of voters, including Harrisburg-area republican Chad Stern, who admits his mind isn’t 100% made up about who he’ll vote for next month.
“What Biden needed to do is to send a loud and clear message to voters that he’s nothing like Bernie, and I think he accomplished that Saturday,” said Stern. “It would also behoove him to amplify his support for police officers and fracking. If he does that, I might consider switching over from Trump.”
Bernie Sanders reacts
BeetPress reached out to Sanders, who has been holding numerous campaign rallies for Biden in battleground states.
“Look, I understand Joe Biden is going after the two or three dozen republican voters who are still on the fence about Trump, but I’m working tirelessly to make sure that the most dangerous president in the history of America doesn’t see a second term,” said Sanders.
When asked if he saw the incident on Television, Sanders said “No, I haven’t watched Saturday Night Life since Belushi left.”
As of press time, BeetPress has confirmed that the Biden campaign is preparing a mass-emailing to Sanders supporters featuring a photo of a disappointed-looking Michelle Obama and the message “Joe beat Bernie like a drum, now fall in line and support Joe with a $27 donation to our campaign.”