Joe Biden calls Trump ‘clearly living in a different reality’ as he is back in public

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Former Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday that President Trump is “clearly living in a different reality” than people who worked on the Iran nuclear deal, though the Democrat said…

Joe Biden calls Trump ‘clearly living in a different reality’ as he is back in public

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Former Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday that President Trump is “clearly living in a different reality” than people who worked on the Iran nuclear deal, though the Democrat said he is still not considering another run for president.

Biden was in South Africa for a World Economic Forum meeting, addressing a group of journalists just hours after Trump criticized Iran’s human rights record and its pursuit of nuclear weapons, vowing not to “violate the spirit” of the 2015 accord.

“Listen, I am not trying to pretend this is fun,” Biden said. “It’s extremely serious. And it’s an awful thing. If the leadership in Iran thinks that the American people are going to celebrate their military deployment in Syria with airstrikes, they are gravely mistaken.”

Biden’s comments came as the former vice president seeks to stoke interest in another run for the White House in 2020, after his nearly two-year formal campaign ended last October. He told CBS News in an interview that aired Monday that he still wanted to be president, although he didn’t comment on the apparent 2020 run by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

“I am leaning towards not running,” Biden said in South Africa. “But I am open to it if I feel that it’s the right thing to do for the country. And this isn’t going to happen overnight. And people have sent a very clear message and we have to reflect their concerns.”

Biden, 77, has made numerous public appearances in recent months, including during appearances last week in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. The former vice president left office in January 2017 having helped negotiate the Iran deal, which he endorsed, despite opposition from Democrats in Congress. Biden has since called the accord flawed, saying the United States should have been able to better inspect Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Biden also said Tuesday that there should be penalties for people who possess nuclear weapons and fail to disarm.

“It’s important to change the mindset of people who have a nuclear device,” he said. “If you have a nuclear device, we need to take you out.”

Biden declined to say whether a proposal by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) to install an “intercept rocket” to shoot down nuclear missiles would help in deterring a strike.

“I just don’t know,” he said. “I mean, if we don’t, these kinds of military exercises are just game-ending. They’re just game-ending.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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