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Biden: World leaders call me to interpret Trump

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Gov. John Kasich of Ohio (Screengrab via University of Delaware)

Former Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday that 14 world leaders have sought him out for insight into President Trump.

One European prime minister, describing how Trump pushed the prime minister of Montenegro, Dusko Markovic, out of his way at a NATO summit, compared him to Il Duce, a moniker for the mid-20th-century Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, Biden said.

Biden, appearing at an event at the University of Delaware alongside Ohio Gov. John Kasich, also criticized Trump’s treatment of another head of state, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Trump has recently referred to Kim as “Rocket Man” as  a result of his nuclear provocations, sometimes throwing in one of Trump’s favorite slurs, “little.”

Despite Kim’s hostility to the United States, Biden said, “You don’t refer to him as a little guy.”

Biden also disclosed that he is frequently contacted by frustrated Obama administration holdovers still working in government. Although “we have a president who does not understand governance,” Biden said, he urges government workers not to abandon their posts.

“They call me all the time,” Biden said of government employees. “I say, ‘Please stay, please stay. There has to be some competence and normalcy.’”

The former vice president also lamented the absence of “certain basic social norms” in politics, contending that certain conventions are “an arbiter of how we work together.’

“The destruction of these norms is generating chaos,” Biden said. “It’s generating chaos internally.”

He cited President Trump’s manner, but noted earlier examples of disrespect as well, including the nickname “Bubba” for former President Bill Clinton, and the occasion when Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., yelled, “You lie!” at former President Barack Obama during a joint session of Congress.

Biden and Kasich appeared onstage with a moderator, who had to do very little to keep the conversation flowing between them, although Biden dominated the session. The two politicians, although they are from different parties, seemed to share an affinity based on their working-class origins, and were whispering cordially to one another as they were introduced at the start of the program.