Rep. Eric Swalwell, 38, thinks it’s time for 76yo Joe Biden to let someone else have a turn at running the government. Biden needs to ‘pass the torch,’ just like he told politicians to do in 1988!
Nobody expected to hear the name Eric Swalwell come up in Democratic debate controversy, but here we are. The California congressman, 38, used one of Joe Biden‘s slogans from his failed 1988 presidential campaign to criticize his current position in the Democratic party during the June 27 debate: “it’s time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans.” Swalwell’s slick dig got audible gasps from the audience, and left the other candidates onstage speechless. Well, except for Biden, that is. The former vice president, 76, quickly replied, “I’m still holding onto that torch,” before launching into his next debate point.
Swalwell was just a small child when the then 44-year-old Biden campaigned for president for the second time. “I was 6 years old when a presidential candidate came to the California democratic convention and said it’s time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans. That candidate was then-senator Joe Biden. Joe Biden was right when he said it was time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans 32 years ago, he’s still right today.” Swalwell went in on Biden earlier that day in an interview on CNN, calling Biden’s ideas “stale” — and worse.
“”The American people see these issues today as issues of the future,” Swalwell said. “We can’t have a candidate who has ideas that are staler than Donald Trump’s. I don’t think we can nominate a candidate who has been in government for longer than 20 years. I don’t think that’s going to work. I think we need someone who’s going to offer a vision for the future, who lives and gets these issues on student debt, gun violence, health care cures, climate chaos.” Swalwell added, “We can’t nibble around the edges any more, these are issues that will affect us. I’ll be a president that will have to live with the decisions I made.”
Much more contentious tonight.
Eric Swalwell just took a direct shot at Joe Biden.
"I was 6 years old when a presidential candidate … said it’s time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans. That candidate was Biden."
Biden: "I'm still holding onto that torch." pic.twitter.com/wlYL8u8m0q
— jordan (@JordanUhl) June 28, 2019
This was far from the only moment in which a candidate called out Biden during the debate. California Senator Kamala Harris, a black woman, brought up Biden’s comments earlier this month when he mused about the end of civility in politics, citing his friendship with known segregationist senators James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia. Harris said that she did not believe Biden was racist, but criticized him. It was clear that this got under his skin; Biden looked like he was fuming, and the moderators soon changed the topic.