President Trump told a crowd of supporters in Florida Friday that Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s remarks on transitioning away from the oil industry were “perhaps the most shocking admission ever made during a debate.”
“One of the most stunning moments last night was when Joe Biden admitted he wanted to abolish the oil industry,” Trump said at a rally at The Villages, in Sumter County. “Did you see him this morning? He said ‘I didn’t really mean that.'”
Trump spoke while visiting the Sunshine State to vote Saturday morning at his permanent residence.
“Biden said, ‘We want to phase it out.’ I said, ‘Thank you.’ Texas, are you watching? Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Ohio, are you watching?” Trump said.
“I would transition from the oil industry, yes,” Biden said in response Thursday night to a question from Trump about whether he would close down that sector of the economy. “It is a big statement… because the oil industry pollutes significantly … it has to be replaced by renewable energy over time… I’d stop giving to the oil industry, I’d stop giving them federal subsidies.”
Trump replied: “That’s maybe the biggest statement in terms of business … because basically what he said is he is going to destroy the oil industry. Will you remember that, Texas? Will you remember that Pennsylvania, Oklahoma?”
Biden said that Trump was taking his comments out of context and that the country needs to “move toward a net-zero emissions… by 2050 totally.”
When pressed on his comments Friday morning, Biden walked back his debate comments.
“Eventually we’re going to have to [get rid of] oil, but we’re not getting rid of fossil fuels. We’re getting rid of the subsidies for fossil fuels, but we’re not getting rid of fossil fuels for a long time,” Biden said in response to a CNN reporter. “It will not be gone for … probably 2050.”
Biden has framed his plan as a commitment to ending fossil fuels in front of liberal audiences or alternatively a commitment to not immediately get rid of fossil-fuel related jobs to more centrist ones. Biden on Thursday night said he would not ban fracking, while at the same time promising to transition away from fossil fuels.
Trump accused Biden of being in favor of banning fracking in Thursday’s debate.
“He was against fracking,” Trump said. “He said it … until he got the nomination, went to Pennsylvania, then he said — but you know what Pennsylvania, he’ll be against it very soon because his party is totally against it.”
“Fracking on federal land, I said, no fracking and/or oil on federal land,” Biden shot back.
“I have never said that I oppose fracking,” Biden firmly said.
“You said it on tape!” Trump exclaimed.
“Show the tape! Put it on your website!” Biden challenged the president. “The fact of the matter is, he’s flat lying.”
The Trump campaign immediately fired back with a montage of Biden remarks expressing opposition to fracking.
Fox News’ Sam Dorman and Tyler Olson contributed to this report.