Trump knocks Biden, touts criminal justice reform passage ahead of first Democratic debate

Trump knocks Biden, touts criminal justice reform passage ahead of first Democratic debate
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Five takeaways from the Democratic debate Democrats duke it out in most negative debate so far MORE on Wednesday touted the passage of criminal justice reform under his administration roughly an hour before the start of the first Democratic presidential primary debate, calling for candidates to be asked why past administrations failed to do the same.

In a pair of tweets sent aboard Air Force One, Trump specifically knocked his 2016 opponent, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocratic insiders stay on the sidelines in 2020 race Hillicon Valley: Twitter falling short on pledge to verify primary candidates | Barr vows to make surveillance reforms after watchdog report | DHS cyber chief focused on 2020 The Hill's Campaign Report: High stakes at last Democratic debate before Super Tuesday MORE, as well as 2020 candidate and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Five takeaways from the Democratic debate Sanders most searched, most tweeted about candidate during Democratic debate MORE, who will not be onstage until Thursday night.

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"Ever since the passage of the Super Predator Crime Bill, pushed hard by @JoeBiden, together with Bill and Crooked Hillary Clinton, which inflicted great pain on many, but especially the African American Community, Democrats have tried and failed to pass Criminal Justice Reform," Trump tweeted, noting that a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill was passed during his presidency.

"Many said that nobody but President Trump could have done this," he added. "All previous administrations failed. Please ask why THEY failed to the candidates!"

Trump made the comments while en route to Japan for the Group of 20 summit. He had tweeted minutes earlier that his campaign team would be offering live reaction as the debate unfolded because he was "off to save the Free World."

The president told Fox Business Network on Wednesday morning that he would watch the debate "because I have to," despite it being a "very unexciting group of people."

The first night of the debates will include Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Five takeaways from the Democratic debate Sanders most searched, most tweeted about candidate during Democratic debate MORE (D-Mass.), former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeCNN signs Andrew Yang as contributor Krystal Ball: Voters are coming to their own judgements about who is electable Warren campaign to host series of events in Texas MORE (D-Texas), Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDemocrats' Obama-to-Sanders shift on charter schooling This week: House to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime Juan Williams: Black votes matter MORE (D-N.J.) and New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioPlease bring back the old (pragmatic, centrist) Mike Bloomberg De Blasio to Buttigieg: 'Try to not be so smug when you just got your ass kicked' New York attorney general threatens to sue NYC over alleged taxi fraud MORE (D).

Thursday's debate will see Biden go head-to-head with Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Five takeaways from the Democratic debate Sanders most searched, most tweeted about candidate during Democratic debate MORE (I-Vt.), Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisThis week: House to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime Juan Williams: Black votes matter Clyburn: Biden 'suffered' from not doing 'enough' in early debates MORE (D-Calif.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Five takeaways from the Democratic debate Sanders most searched, most tweeted about candidate during Democratic debate MORE (D).

The president has previously targeted Biden over his support of the 1994 crime bill, and has fixated on the former vice president as the likely front-runner.

Several Democratic candidates, including Warren, Booker and O'Rourke, have offered plans detailing prison reform or further changes to the criminal justice system.