Just some months in the past, President Biden hardly ever mentioned the title of his probably opponent within the 2024 presidential election — former President Donald J. Trump — as a substitute invoking different Republicans as proxies throughout public occasions or, now and again, referring merely to “the previous man.”
However talking in Las Vegas on Friday, Mr. Biden didn’t maintain again.
“Trump simply talks to speak,” he mentioned on the Carpenters Worldwide Coaching Middle in Las Vegas, a union hub favored by Democrats. “We stroll the stroll.”
After which his phrases turned even sharper: “He likes to say America is a failing nation. Frankly, he doesn’t know what the hell he’s speaking about.”
Mr. Biden was in Las Vegas to announce $8.2 billion in funding for passenger rail initiatives, and he used the chance to criticize his predecessor’s strategy to infrastructure, saying that “the final administration tried to cancel” a rail challenge in California and that his newest investments “stand in stark distinction.”
“He all the time talked about ‘infrastructure week,’ 4 years of ‘infrastructure week,’ but it surely failed — he failed,” Mr. Biden mentioned, referring to Mr. Trump. “On my watch, as a substitute of infrastructure week, America’s having ‘infrastructure decade.’”
The shift comes as officers for the Biden marketing campaign have taken an curiosity in attempting to make use of Mr. Trump, and his actions and phrases each throughout and after his presidency, as a foil to bolster Mr. Biden’s re-election effort. That technique is one which another elected Democrats throughout the nation have been much less eager on, arguing that Mr. Biden must do extra to advertise his personal accomplishments whereas in workplace.
A ballot launched final month by The New York Occasions and Siena School discovered that Mr. Trump was main Mr. Biden in Nevada by 10 factors, the most important margin throughout six essential battleground states surveyed.
Mr. Trump, who in most nationwide polls leads the sphere of Republican main candidates by greater than 40 proportion factors, will maintain a rally in Reno later this month.
Mr. Biden’s go to to Las Vegas got here on the heels of two tragedies within the state: the killing of two state troopers in a hit-and-run final week, and a capturing on Wednesday on the College of Nevada, Las Vegas, that killed three college members. Mr. Biden met with the college’s president and a few of its college students and different neighborhood members earlier than delivering his remarks on the infrastructure funding, in line with the White Home.
For a couple of minutes throughout his speech, he paused to deal with gun violence, renewing his requires Congress to “step up” and move laws that would come with restrictions on assault rifles and common background checks.
“People, we bought to get sensible,” he mentioned. “There have been over 600 mass shootings in America this yr alone, plus each day acts of gun violence that don’t even make the nationwide information.” He added, “This isn’t regular.”
However the occasion’s main focus was to advertise his administration’s agenda, and in doing so, not directly make his pitch for one more 4 years in workplace to a pleasant viewers.
Mr. Biden, who earned the nickname Amtrak Joe after commuting by practice between Delaware and Washington, D.C., for many years, significantly praised an allocation for a 218-mile high-speed rail line between Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
He additionally talked up the most recent employment figures launched Friday by the Labor Division — which reported that employers had added 199,000 jobs in November — briefly acknowledging that “we all know the costs are nonetheless too excessive for too many issues.”
Mr. Biden appeared alongside a number of members of Nevada’s congressional delegation, together with Senator Jacky Rosen, a Democrat who’s dealing with a aggressive re-election subsequent yr after defeating an incumbent herself in 2018.
Nevada is one in all a number of key states the place Democrats might want to succeed subsequent yr to retain management of the White Home and the Senate. Whereas Nevada has voted for Democrats within the final a number of presidential elections — together with Mr. Biden in 2020 — different races have been extra inconsistent.
Senator Catherine Cortez Masto received re-election within the 2022 midterms in a slender victory, serving to the Democrats preserve management of the Senate. However that very same yr, voters ousted the state’s Democratic governor, Steve Sisolak, in favor of his Republican challenger, Joseph Lombardo.