01:14 - Source: CNN
Biden: GOP senator just proved our point about Trump
Muscatine, Iowa CNN  — 

Joe Biden had a question for the crowd gathered to see him in Muscatine, Iowa, on Tuesday: “Did anyone see what your senator, Joni Ernst, did yesterday?”

The former vice president was referring to comments made by Ernst, who told reporters on Monday that she was “really interested to see how” how the arguments made by President Donald Trump’s legal team against Biden and his son, Hunter, “informs and influences the Iowa caucus voters, those Democratic caucus-goers.”

“Will they be supporting Vice President Biden at this point?” Ernst asked.

For Biden, Ernst’s comments serve to underscore one of the central arguments he has made to voters in the final days before the Iowa caucuses: that Trump and Republicans are attacking him because he’s the candidate they fear the most in the general election.

“She spilled the beans,” Biden said Tuesday, before reading Ernst’s comments and adding, “Pretty subtle, huh?”

“You can ruin Donald Trump’s night by caucusing for me and you could ruin Joni Ernst’s night as well,” Biden said.

Trump’s attempts to pressure Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden and Joe Biden, his potential general election rival, are at the center of the President’s impeachment trial.

Trump has repeatedly made unfounded and false claims to allege that the Bidens acted improperly in Ukraine. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden.

Trump’s attorneys in the Senate’s impeachment trial have made Hunter and Joe Biden central to their arguments in recent days.

At stop after stop on his final bus tour through Iowa, Biden has argued that attacks from Trump and his allies have made him stronger and demonstrated he can take incoming fire if he’s the Democratic nominee.

“As much as he’s trying to destroy me and my family – I hope I’ve demonstrated I can take a punch. And if I’m our nominee, he’s going to understand what punches mean,” Biden said in Cedar Falls on Monday.

Later in the day Monday, he played up Trump’s lawyers’ efforts to accuse Biden and his son Hunter of corruption in Ukraine on Monday night in Iowa City – emphasizing that he is clear-eyed about the political tactics he’d face in a general election while insisting he would remain committed to uniting the country afterward.

He said the reporters covering his campaign “keep asking me, ‘You know, they just brought up your son Hunter, and they’re doing this and they’re doing that and the other thing.’”

“Well guess what?” Biden said. “I don’t hold grudges because presidents can’t hold grudges. Presidents have to be fighters, but they also have to be healers. They have to be healers.”

At Biden events, most voters have said they aren’t worried about the efforts of Trump’s lawyers and Republican lawmakers to paint Biden and his family as corrupt – largely because they say there’s no evidence to support the allegations.

Pam Symmonds, a retired banker in Muscatine, said she’s been watching the impeachment proceedings every day and is supporting Biden in spite of the GOP attacks.

“I’m hoping that people are smarter than that and they will see through all of that,” she said.

But some Iowa voters said they are concerned about the potency of the GOP’s attacks.

Kari Blomberg, a 53-year-old university worker in Coralville, said after Biden’s stop in Iowa City that she thinks Biden will be the Democratic nominee – but she worries he might not be the party’s most electable choice.

“Biden and his son are a target for Trump, and I don’t know how that’ll play out,” she said. “It’s hard to tell. His electability seems high if I look at all the polls nationally, but I don’t know how that’s going to play out.”