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Biden and Trump tussle over "buy American" proposals

President Trump and Joe Biden are going back and forth over the former vice president's "buy American" economic proposal, which Trump claims Biden "plagiarized" from him.

Why it matters: Biden is directly challenging Trump and his "America First" agenda with the release of his latest plan, focused on economic recovery and re-investing in American manufacturing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.


  • Trump called Biden's proposal both "very radical left" and evidence that his opponent is "copying what I've done."
  • The plan calls for spending at least $700 billion to create 5 million jobs in the U.S.
  • In a Thursday speech, Biden criticized the president for mishandling the federal response to the coronavirus, which has led to an economic crisis, and detailed his view for making the U.S. an economic powerhouse.
  • “When the federal government spends taxpayers’ money, we should use it to buy American products and support American jobs,” Biden said.

What they're saying: When asked about Biden's plan for the economy at the White House on Friday, Trump said: “He plagiarized from me, but he could never pull it off. He likes plagiarizing ... But he said the right things because he's copying what I've done, but the difference is he can't do it.”

  • Biden's deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, told Axios in a statement that Trump has "had four years to put in place Buy American policies, and he's failed to do so. Joe Biden will do it on day one."
  • She added they "welcome the debate between a real advocate for American workers — Joe Biden — with a phony who has broken his promises — Donald Trump."
"Joe Biden has been fighting for American workers and American manufacturers for decades — even back when Donald Trump was building hotels made with steel imported from China, selling made-in-China shirts and ties, and outsourcing American jobs for his personal profit.
As President, Trump broke his campaign promise to stop corporations from sending jobs overseas, and his corporate tax giveaways have actually encouraged companies to offshore factories and production. During the outset of the pandemic, he sent critical supplies overseas instead of keeping them here in the US."
Kate Bedingfield, Biden deputy campaign manager

The other side: "The former Vice President supported every failed trade deal for a half a century – NAFTA, China, Korea, TPP – no politician in the U.S. is more responsible for the dismantling and destruction of the U.S. supply chain than Joe Biden," Alyssa Farah, assistant to the president, told Axios.

"No politician in the U.S. has offshored more jobs than Joe Biden. President Trump has spent the last three-and-half years bringing back the jobs that the former Vice President sent overseas."

Go deeper: Biden's 2020 rivals line up to pitch economic recovery plan

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