Alongside his similarly indecisive running mate Kamala Harris, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s approach to energy policy has been anything but consistent over the course of his campaign — and his latest comments likely have even his supporters in shock.
According to the Washington Examiner, Biden took the big leap during Thursday night’s debate against President Donald Trump to promise voters that he would “transition” the country away from oil and gas as sources of power.
The former vice president’s comments come just months after President Trump declared that the U.S. had achieved “energy independence.” But under a Biden administration, it seems that accomplishment would go out the window.
“A big statement”
Speaking during Thursday’s debate, which was moderated by NBC’s Kristen Welker, Biden said plainly that he’d take steps to eliminate oil and gas as a means of slowing climate change.
“I would transition from the oil industry, yes,” Biden said, according to the Examiner.
It was a remark that took even President Trump aback. “That’s a big statement,” the president told his opponent.
“It is a big statement,” Biden conceded, according to the Examiner. The former vice president went on to claim that oil “pollutes significantly,” the Examiner reported, and “has to be replaced by renewable energy over time.”
“He is going to destroy the oil industry”
As the Examiner noted, Biden also pledged to would stop providing the energy sector with federal subsidies — a comment that led Trump to accuse him of wanting to “destroy” oil and gas jobs across the U.S.
“That’s maybe the biggest statement in terms of business,” Trump countered, according to the New York Post. “What he is saying is he is going to destroy the oil industry.”
The president then made a direct pitch to voters in petroleum-producing states: “Will you remember that, Texas? Will you remember that Pennsylvania? Oklahoma? Ohio?”
It’s a sentiment that a spokesperson for the Trump campaign echoed after Thursday’s face-off.
“Most shockingly, Joe Biden pledged to end the oil industry, which would kill millions of jobs and cripple our economy,” Tim Murtaugh said, according to the Post. “And you could see visibly that Joe Biden realized he had made a grave error in what he said.”