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Former Vice President Joe Biden launches 2020 run for White House

Former Vice President Joe Biden became the latest candidate to join the crowded Democratic presidential contest Thursday, making the announcement in a video posted on social media.

Biden said the “soul of this nation” was at stake if President Donald Trump won re-election.

The 76-year-old Biden focused on the 2017 deadly clash between white supremacists and counter protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. He said Trump’s comments included there were some “very fine people” on both sides of the violent encounter, which left one woman dead.

Biden must compete in a field that now spans at least 20 Democrats and has been celebrated for its racial and gender diversity.

As an older white man with occasionally centrist views, Biden has to prove he’s not out of step with his party.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has been the front-runner and was the best-known name in the field.

Republicans reacted immediately after the announcement.

“Biden’s fingerprints are all over foreign policy blunders and the weakest economic recovery since World War II,” Republican National Committee spokesman Michael Ahrens said.

“We don’t need eight more years of Biden. Just ask President Obama, who isn’t even endorsing his right-hand man.”

Biden, a native of Pennsylvania, will hold his first public event as a 2020 presidential candidate Monday in Pittsburgh.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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