Early Tuesday evening, in an appearance from the White House Rose Garden, Mr. Trump launched into a rambling attack on his opponent filled with falsehoods and baseless claims, while also seeking to paint Mr. Biden and his environmental plan as radical.
Mr. Biden’s “agenda is the most extreme platform of any major party nominee, by far, in American history,” Mr. Trump said. Referring to Mr. Biden’s primary opponent, the progressive Senator Bernie Sanders, he continued, “I think it’s worse than actually Bernie’s platform.”
In fact, many liberals have long been unenthusiastic at best about Mr. Biden, a former Delaware senator who staunchly opposes a range of progressives’ top priorities: He has said that he does not support “Medicare for all” or defunding the police, he has not fully endorsed the Green New Deal and has reservations about marijuana legalization. His record on issues like criminal justice has drawn fierce criticism from the left, and some in his party view his reverence for bipartisan deal-making as naïve.
Still, his climate plan does appear to have made some inroads with progressive Democrats.
“This is not a status quo plan,” said Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington, a prominent environmentalist who ran a climate-focused campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination and later endorsed Mr. Biden.
He added: “It is comprehensive. This is not some sort of, ‘Let me just throw a bone to those who care about climate change.’” Mr. Inslee called the proposal “visionary.”
Mr. Biden’s plan outlines specific and aggressive targets, including achieving an emissions-free power sector by 2035 and upgrading four million buildings over four years to meet the highest standards for energy efficiency.
Mr. Biden’s remarks sometimes assumed a populist bent, directly challenging Mr. Trump’s efforts to woo workers in the industrial Midwest with promises of “America First” job policies. As Mr. Biden discussed converting government vehicles into electric vehicles, he promised that “the U.S. auto industry and its deep bench of suppliers will step up, expanding capacity so that the United States, not China, leads the world in clean vehicle production.”