On Friday, conservative New York Times columnist Bret Stephens lauded former Vice President Joe Biden for using Charlottesville, Virginia as the backdrop for his presidential campaign kickoff — a reference to President Donald Trump's defense of the "very fine people" who marched with the white supremacists at the Unite the Right rally in 2017.
"Was Biden smart, not just on moral grounds, but political and strategic grounds, to open with his salvo with, you have to get rid of this guy?" MSNBC's Chris Matthews asked Stephens on "Hardball."
"It was ingenious on his part," said Stephens. "I'm speaking politically because I think Biden's brand comes down to one word, which is decency. And leaving aside complains about the president's economic policy, his environmental policy, domestic or foreign policy, what I think most people, especially in Middle America really dislike about this president is the sense that at a basic level, he is an indecent human being and the comments he that made at Charlottesville bring that home, I think, more powerfully and more pointedly than anything else he has said in his presidency."
"That is exactly the right point of attack for Biden," Stephens continued. "We may have a strong economy in a year's time. It might be the case that America is still more or less at peace in the world. But what really disquiets, I think, a lot of wavering Americans who would like, who have not made up their minds on who they're going to vote for, is that you have a president who shames them, who embarrasses them, who embarrasses us, who embarrasses me."
"And so that's why choosing Charlottesville was morally the right thing to do and politically smart as well," Stephens concluded.