Former Vice President Joe Biden took the stage at La Villita’s Plaza Juarez on Friday evening for a campaign event. To the crowd of several hundred people in San Antonio, Biden promised that they would see a lot more of him between “now and November.”

“We all know the challenge ahead of us is fundamentally different than anything we’ve faced before,” Biden said. “Literally the core values that make us who we are, our standing in the world, our very democracy are at risk with this administration. Few cities in America understand what it takes to secure those values as well as San Antonio, Military City USA.”

Biden spoke for less than half an hour and used his time in San Antonio to stress how much he prioritized military and veteran issues and immigration, directly criticizing the current administration’s policies.

“When Trump uses family separation as a weapon against desperate fathers and mothers who seek safety and a better life; when he threatens massive raids to break up families, many who have been here for years and years; when children die in custody due to the lack of adequate care, it’s morally wrong,” Biden said. “It’s un-American.”

Former Mayor Phil Hardberger and Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar showed up to Biden’s Friday appearance. State Sen. José Menéndez (D-San Antonio) introduced Biden as his “friend and next president of the United States.”

At one point, a member of the crowd wearing a Trump T-shirt shouted at Biden and interrupted him, much to the displeasure of the rest of the crowd.

“Let him go,” Biden said to the crowd. “Just let him go. This is not a Trump rally.”

Biden continues to command the polls; Real Clear Politics shows the former vice president leading in the majority of national polls. Brenda Morales, 41, attended Biden’s event on Friday with her 71-year-old mother Ernestine Morales. She said she’s undecided on who to vote for, but the fact that Biden is polling well matters to her. His experience also makes him an attractive candidate, she said.

But “everybody has something I’m for,” Morales said. “I’m trying to narrow it down to who represents what I fully want to vote for.”

Morales described herself as more conservative in her views, so she doesn’t see herself voting for a candidate like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts). 

“I like my private health insurance,” she said. “And free college – it shouldn’t be free for everybody. It’s for the people who can’t afford it.”

Max Roman, 27, said his more moderate leanings led him to consider voting for Biden. He, too, is undecided.

“A lot of my friends are for Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, so they’re more extreme left,” Roman said. “I’m more moderate and I think [Biden] has more balance in what’s best for this country.”

Biden’s visit was preceded by his campaign announcing five new Texas endorsements, including State Sen. Menéndez and former San Antonio Mayor Hardberger.

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at La Villita’s Plaza Juarez for a campaign event.

Meanwhile, hometown candidate and former mayor and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro did not qualify for the November debate and has yet to qualify for the December debate. Castro filed to be on the ballot for Super Tuesday earlier this month.

State Reps. Rhetta Bowers (D-Dallas) and Garnet Coleman (D-Houston) and Dallas County Clerk John Warren also endorsed Biden for president.

Biden’s Texas State Director Jane Hamilton said Friday that the campaign is proud to have a “strong list” of public servant endorsements.

“The Lone Star State will play a crucial role in 2020,” Hamilton said in a news release. “These Texans who have joined with us today are ready for that fight, and they know that Joe Biden can unite the country across party lines to defeat Donald Trump. Together, we will build a movement to get things done and to revive the American spirit.”

Biden asserted that he would be the best candidate to “unify the nation.”

“Believe it or not – and they’re all good candidates – there are a couple of candidates attacking me and the idea that I can unite the country,” he said. “They seem to think that America is so divided it can never be united again. That’s not what I think, and that’s not what the country thinks either. Last time I checked, this was called the United States of America.”

Jackie Wang

Jackie Wang is the local government reporter at the San Antonio Report.