News & Politics

Rahm Emanuel: Castro's Attack on Biden a 'Disqualifier,' Came Across as 'Mean and Vindictive'

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks during the media preview of the Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, in Chicago.

Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who served as former President Obama’s chief of staff, disagreed with former HUD Secretary Julian Castro’s attack on former Vice President Joe Biden during the Democratic presidential debate on Thursday evening.

“That was a disqualifier, the way he handled it, and it will come across as mean and vindictive and that’s not who he is,” Emanuel said after the conclusion of the debate.

When answering questions on health care policy, Castro told Biden his plan wouldn’t require individuals to buy in.

“If they choose to hold on to strong, solid private health insurance, I believe they should be able to do that. But the difference between what I support and what you support, Vice President Biden, is that you require them to opt in and I would not require them to opt in. They would automatically be enrolled,” Castro said.

“They do not have to buy in. They do not have to buy in,” Biden replied.

“You just said that — you just said that two minutes ago. You just said two minutes ago that they would have to buy in. You said they would have to buy in,” Castro shot back.

“Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago? Are you forgetting already what you said just two minutes ago? I can’t believe that you said two minutes ago that they had to buy in and now you’re saying they don’t have to buy in. You’re forgetting that.”

After the debate, Castro told ABC News that his criticism “wasn’t an attack” on Biden personally.

“I wasn’t taking a shot at his age,” Castro said. “It’s not an attack on Vice President Biden. It’s not something about the personalities. It’s about the health care policy.”