PHILADELPHIA — Vice President Biden delivered a forceful takedown of Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpHR McMaster says president's policy to withdraw troops from Afghanistan is 'unwise' Cast of 'Parks and Rec' reunite for virtual town hall to address Wisconsin voters Biden says Trump should step down over coronavirus response MORE on Wednesday as he sought to paint the GOP presidential nominee as a deadly choice for the nation’s future. 
 
“No major-party nominee in the history of this nation has ever known less or has been less prepared to deal with our national security,” Biden said in an effective speech that brought thousands of people to their feet in the packed Wells Fargo Center for the Democratic National Convention. 
 
ADVERTISEMENT
“Donald Trump and all his rhetoric would literally make us less safe."
 
Biden delivered the White House's strongest rebuke yet of Trump from the convention stage, perhaps paving the way for President Obama, who is to speak later on Wednesday night. Biden's speech came just hours after Trump made headlines for encouraging Russia to hack into Clinton’s email server to obtain unreleased emails.
 
In one of the most stand-out speeches of the convention so far, Biden also seized on Trump’s signature line from his TV show, "The Apprentice."
 
"His lack of empathy and compassion can be summed up in a phrase I suspect he's most proud of having made famous: 'You're fired,' " Biden said. "How can there be pleasure in saying 'You're fired'? He's trying to tell us he cares about the middle class? Give me a break.
 
"That's a bunch of malarkey!” Biden said, repeating his own oft-used line as delegates stood up and flashed bright orange signs that read “Joe” around the arena.
 
Describing himself as “middle-class Joe,” the Scranton, Pa., native hammered Trump as a disastrous pick for American workers. Despite his long career in Washington, Biden has become a favorite of unions due to his reputation as a champion of the working class. 
 
Biden is seen as a crucial bridge to that group of voters — which he said earlier Wednesday had been largely overlooked by “limousine liberals” in the Democratic Party. It’s a demographic that’s also being targeted by Trump.
 
“This guy doesn’t have a clue about the middle class. Not a clue,” Biden said. 
 
“Actually, he has no clue, period,” he said as the crowd roared with applause and then erupted in chants of “not a clue.”
 
Biden offered an important show of unity for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillicon Valley: FBI chief says Russia is trying to interfere in election to undermine Biden | Treasury Dept. sanctions Iranian government-backed hackers The Hill's Campaign Report: Arizona shifts towards Biden | Biden prepares for drive-in town hall | New Biden ad targets Latino voters FBI chief says Russia is trying to interfere in election to undermine Biden MORE, who has been his occasional rival throughout the years. Detailing their 30-year relationship, Biden recalled working closely with Clinton before she became first lady up through their shared time in the Senate and their weekly breakfast meetings in his home when they served in Obama’s Cabinet.
 
Still, he did not call her a friend or offer warm anecdotes about working together, unlike previous speakers this week. 
 
“Everybody knows she's smart. Everybody knows she's tough. But I know what she's passionate about. I know Hillary. Hillary understands. Hillary gets it,” Biden said. 
 
“There is only one person in this race who will be there, who has always been there for you, and that's Hillary Clinton's life story. It's not just who she is; it's her life story. She's always there. She's always been there."
 
The vice president worked to ease years of friction with Clinton, including intense speculation last year over whether he would jump into the presidential race. Polls showed that Biden would have beaten Clinton in head-to-head match-ups, and Biden has in the past said himself, “I think I would have been the best president.” 
 
And while Biden’s popularity has hovered around 50 percent over the last year, Clinton’s has dipped to about 37 percent, according to Gallup. 
 
Biden has not yet shared a stage with Clinton in 2016. The duo will campaign for the first time together next month in his hometown after their last event was canceled in the wake of the deadly shooting of police officers in Dallas. 
 
Ascending the stage on Wednesday was an emotional moment for Biden. Four years ago, when he addressed the Democratic convention, he was introduced on stage by his son Beau, who died of brain cancer last year. Biden has since cited Beau’s death — the latest of multiple tragedies in his life — as the reason he chose not to mount his own presidential bid this year.
 
In the opening minutes of his speech, Biden teared up as he offered a deeply personal tribute to his son.
 
“The world breaks everyone, and afterwards, many are strong at the broken places. I’ve been made strong at the broken places,” Biden said, keeping himself from choking up. 
 
He sought to downplay his own personal tragedies by highlighting the “thousands of other people who suffered so much more than we did, with so much less support, with so much less reason to go on.”
 
"But they get up every morning, every day. They put one foot in front of the other. They keep going. That’s the unbreakable spirit of the people of America. That’s who we are. Don’t forget it,” Biden said, raising his voice as the entire arena stood up and cheered. 
 
Just ahead of his speech, the crowd was revved up by a six-minute video highlighting Biden’s most popular advocacy roles. It touched on his work on issues of sexual assault, gun control, LGBT rights and, most recently, cancer, drawing robust applause. 
 
The emotional tribute included Biden’s poignant open letter to a Stanford University rape survivor — a case that captivated attention, particularly among young people, nationwide.