ROCHESTER, N.H. — Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Wednesday called for President Trump’s impeachment for the first time, blistering Mr. Trump as a threat to American democracy and accusing him of “shooting holes in the Constitution.”
Escalating his language in an effort to rebut Mr. Trump’s unfounded claims about his actions with Ukraine, Mr. Biden set aside months of restraint to demand Congress sanction the president.
“To preserve our Constitution, our democracy, our basic integrity, he should be impeached,” the former vice president told supporters here.
Mr. Biden linked Mr. Trump’s false claims to an idea promulgated by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. “You say it long enough, often enough, people may believe it,” he said, invoking Goebbels by name.
While Mr. Biden stopped short of calling for Mr. Trump’s removal from office, his new aggressiveness marked an acknowledgment that he must do more to both confront the president and to halt his slide in the polls in the Democratic primary.
Mr. Trump is facing an impeachment inquiry in the House because of his request to the Ukrainian government that it investigate what Mr. Biden did with the country when his son, Hunter, was working for a gas company there. Mr. Biden again denied that he did anything improper as vice president. And he accused Mr. Trump, who has baselessly accused Mr. Biden of corruption and whose campaign is airing ads repeating the same claim, of attempting to damage his candidacy.
“We’re not going to let Donald Trump pick the Democratic nominee for president, period,” said Mr. Biden, who has fallen behind Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in a series of national and early nominating state polls. “He’s picked a fight with the wrong guy.”
This is a developing story and will be updated.