Biden brushes off criticism of his praise for Republicans: 'I don't know how you get anything done' without working together

Biden brushes off criticism of his praise for Republicans: 'I don't know how you get anything done' without working together
© Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenJam-packed primary poses a serious threat to Democrats in 2020 Stacey Abrams: Barr's Mueller letter 'like having your brother summarize your report card' Abrams launches 'Fair Vote' nonprofit ahead of 2020 census MORE rejected criticism of his kind words for Republicans on Thursday during a speech at the U.S. Conference of Mayors winter meeting in Washington, D.C.

During the speech Thursday morning Biden addressed a recent article in The New York Times detailing criticism the former vice president faced for praising Rep. Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonOvernight Health Care: CDC pushes for expanding HIV testing, treatment | Dem group launches ads attacking Trump on Medicare, Medicaid cuts | Hospitals, insurers spar over surprise bills | O'Rourke under pressure from left on Medicare for all Dem group launches ads attacking Trump's 'hypocrisy on Medicare and Medicaid cuts' The 25 Republicans who defied Trump on emergency declaration MORE (R-Mich.) in a speech on anti-cancer efforts, weeks before Upton's competitive November House race. Upton went on to win his district over a Democratic challenger by single digits.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I get in trouble,” Biden said Thursday. “I read in The New York Times today that one of my problems is, if I ever run for president, I like Republicans. Well, bless me father for I have sinned."

The remark drew laughter in the room, according to video of the event, while Biden continued with a call for bipartisanship.

"From where I come from I don't know how you get anything done ... unless we start talking to one another again," he added.

During the Michigan speech, which occurred weeks before the 2018 midterm elections, Biden spoke to a Republican-leaning audience and called Upton “one of the finest guys I’ve ever worked with" on cancer research legislation. He reportedly accepted $200,000 as payment for the speech.

The former vice president is viewed as a possible entrant into the pool of 2020 Democratic presidential contenders and was reported earlier in January to be within weeks of making a decision.

Last year, Biden called himself likely the "most qualified" candidate to run against President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: 'Haven't thought about' pardons for Mueller target Pence: Rocket attack 'proves that Hamas is not a partner for peace' Conservation remains a core conservative principle MORE in 2020, while pledging to unite behind any Democrat who secures the nomination.

“I'll be as straight with you as I can. I think I'm the most qualified person in the country to be president,” he said last month during a book tour stop. “The issues that we face as a country today are the issues that have been in my wheelhouse, that I've worked on my whole life.”

“Whether or not I run, whoever runs, I'm going to break my neck to make sure they win," he added at the time. "We can't have four more years.”