For those who don’t follow US politics, Joe Biden may not have been well known prior to becoming Vice President under Obama, or Donald Trump prior to promising to be the greatest president ever. At the age of 30, Biden became the sixth youngest senator in US history. Conversely, if he becomes president, he will become the oldest ever serving president. Trump was the first billionaire to ever become a US president, making him the richest president in American history. Both candidates break records.
But what were they like before they became presidential candidates?
Born in Pennsylvania, Biden spent the first few years of his life living with his maternal grandparents. Scranton, where he grew up, fell into economic decline and his father was unable to find steady work, but maintained a middle-class lifestyle by being a successful used car salesman after moving to Delaware. While in school, he was classified as unavailable for military service due to asthma.
Trump was also classified as unavailable for military service. Unlike Biden, however, he obtained four student draft deferments while at College despite being deemed medically fit for military service and classified eligible to serve. His father made his fortune with his company “E. Trump & Son”, which built and sold tens of thousands of houses and apartments, giving Trump the privilege to grow up in the upper-middle class Jamaica Estates neighbourhood in Queens, New York City.
Trump continued this business empire with a few sketchy projects along the way. In 2004, he co-founded ‘Trump University’, a business school running real estate training courses. Despite the courses costing from $1,500 to $35,000, the ‘students’ did not receive any accredited qualifications. Using the word ‘university’ in the name was a violation of state law and Trump paid a total of $25 million to settle three cases for defrauding and lying to customers.
While Biden has a relatively clean background, there have been allegations made against him. In March 2020, Tara Reade claimed Joe Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993 in a Capitol Hill office building when she was working there as a staff assistant in his Senate Office. Seven other women have accused Biden of touching them inappropriately or invading their personal space in ways which made them feel uncomfortable, but that his behaviour did not amount to sexual harassment or assault.
When Trump was asked why he does not use these allegations to criticize Biden, he says: “I don’t know anything about it […] You know, it could be false accusations. I know all about false accusations. I’ve been falsely charged numerous times”. In this vein, let’s look at Trump’s record. From bragging about his pickup technique “grab them by the p*ssy” to his ex-wife claiming he “raped” her, Trump has an extensive background of disgusting behaviour towards women, with a full 26 incidents of “unwanted sexual contact” and 43 instances of inappropriate behaviour.
Regardless of who becomes the next president, both candidates have disreputable pasts. But in comparison to one another, I think it’s quite clear that Trump’s history of fraudulence and misogynism far outweighs Biden’s.