Biden responds to Trump's claim he 'deserted' Pennsylvania

'I've never forgotten where I came from'

By Arlette Saenz, CNN
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Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign rally at Teamsters Local 249 Union Hall April 29, 2019, in Pittsburgh.

(CNN) - Joe Biden responded Tuesday to President Donald Trump's claim that the former vice president "deserted" Pennsylvania, a critical battleground state in the 2020 presidential election.

"Donald Trump tried to attack me at his campaign rally by saying I abandoned Pennsylvania," the Democratic presidential candidate wrote in a fundraising e-mail Tuesday. "Well folks, I've never forgotten where I came from. My family did have to leave Pennsylvania when I was 10 -- we moved to Delaware where my Dad found a job that could provide for our family."

At a campaign rally in Montoursville, Pennsylvania, on Monday, Trump warned voters that Biden "left" the state.

"And don't forget Biden deserted you. He's not from Pennsylvania. I guess he was born here, but he left you folks. He left you for another state," President Trump said.

Trump narrowly won Pennsylvania in 2016, becoming the first Republican to do so since 1988, which contributed to his overall victory over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

The Scranton-born Biden and his family moved in 1953 from Pennsylvania to Claymont, Delaware, where his father found a job. Biden often talks about his own family's struggles as emblematic of the concerns of the middle class.

"Let's be clear: this isn't just about me. This is proof that Donald Trump doesn't understand the struggles working folks go through," Biden wrote. "He doesn't understand what it's like to worry you will lose the roof over your head. He doesn't understand what it's like to wonder if you'll be able to put food on the table."

"And he doesn't understand that the longest walk a parent can make is up a short flight of stairs to their child's bedroom to sit on the end of the bed and say, honey, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. We have to move. You can't go back to your school. You won't see your friends. You can't play on that team. You can't be in the choir because Daddy lost his job or Mommy lost her job," Biden wrote. "My dad had to make that walk in Scranton, Pennsylvania. It wasn't until I was older that I realized how hard it must have been for him."

At his Pennsylvania campaign rally, Trump repeatedly knocked Biden on his trade policy, past comments on China, and relations with foreign leaders. As the 2020 race heats up, the President has directed much of his attention towards Biden despite concerns among his advisers that tweets and comments about the former vice president could elevate his standing in the Democratic field.

Biden, who is leading Trump by 11 points in a recent head-to-head matchup in Pennsylvania, has framed much of his campaign as a rebuke of the President. In a speech in Philadelphia Saturday, Biden said Trump is taking credit for a strong economy "that was given to him, just like he inherited everything else in his life."

"And just like everything else he's been given in his life, he's in the process of squandering that, as well," Biden said.

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