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Biden says he doesn't want to 'demonize' wealth: 'Rich people are just as patriotic as poor people'

Biden says he doesn't want to 'demonize' wealth: 'Rich people are just as patriotic as poor people'
© Aaron Schwartz

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenChinese apps could face subpoenas, bans under Biden executive order: report OVERNIGHT ENERGY:  EPA announces new clean air advisors after firing Trump appointees |  Senate confirms Biden pick for No. 2 role at Interior | Watchdog: Bureau of Land Management saw messaging failures, understaffing during pandemic Poll: Majority back blanket student loan forgiveness MORE told wealthy donors at a Tuesday evening fundraiser that he does not want to “demonize” wealth because he finds “rich people are just as patriotic as poor people.”

“Remember I got in trouble with some of the people on my team, on the Democratic side,” the Democratic front-runner said. “Because I said, ‘You know what I’ve found is rich people are just as patriotic as poor people.’ Not a joke. I mean, we may not want to demonize anybody who has made money,” Biden told 100 supporters at the Manhattan event. 

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The comments come as a several of Biden’s opponents for the Democratic presidential nomination have focused on wealth disparity in the U.S., vowing to boost taxes on the wealthiest Americans to pay for policies they say seek to close economic gaps. 

“We can disagree in the margins, but the truth of the matter is it’s all within our wheelhouse and nobody has to be punished. No one’s standard of living will change, nothing would fundamentally change,” Biden said.

The former vice president appeared to take a veiled swipe at Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOVERNIGHT ENERGY:  EPA announces new clean air advisors after firing Trump appointees |  Senate confirms Biden pick for No. 2 role at Interior | Watchdog: Bureau of Land Management saw messaging failures, understaffing during pandemic Overnight Health Care: Takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision | COVID-19 cost 5.5 million years of American life | Biden administration investing billions in antiviral pills for COVID-19 Democratic senators press PhRMA over COVID-19 lobbying efforts  MORE (I-Vt.), a self-proclaimed democratic socialist and the primary competitor polling closest to Biden most often, over his goal of a “political revolution,” suggesting his policies may overreach in trying to buoy low-income families.

“When we have income inequality as large as we have in the United States today, it brews and ferments political discord and basic revolution,” Biden said.

He went on to jab at President TrumpDonald TrumpChinese apps could face subpoenas, bans under Biden executive order: report Kim says North Korea needs to be 'prepared' for 'confrontation' with US Ex-Colorado GOP chair accused of stealing more than 0K from pro-Trump PAC MORE, saying economic disparity “allows demagogues to step in and say the reason where we are is because of the other, the other.”

“You’re not the other,” he added. “I need you very badly. I hope if I win this nomination, I won’t let you down.” 

Biden has cast himself as a centrist in a primary field while several other top contenders are seeking to appeal to the party’s progressive flank, which seeks action against an expanding income gap between working-class Americans and the nation’s top earners.