Former Vice President Joe Biden formally announced that he is running for president Thursday.
Biden announced his run in a campaign video focused on President Donald Trump and his response to the deadly white supremacist march in Charlottesville, which Biden called a “defining moment for this nation.”
"We can't forget what happened in Charlottesville," he said. "Even more important, we have to remember who we are. This is America."
Biden slammed Trump for saying that there were “very fine people of both sides,” referring both to the neo-Nazi marchers and the anti-Nazi protesters, one of whom -- Heather Heyer -- was killed.
"With those words, the president drew a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it," Biden said in the video. "In that moment, I knew the threat to this nation was unlike any I had ever seen in my lifetime."
“We are in the battle for the soul of this nation,” Biden said. “I believe history will look back on four years of this president and all he embraces as an aberrant moment in time. But if we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation, who we are, and I cannot stand by and watch that happen.”
Biden leads Trump by 8% in new poll:
Biden’s announcement came as a new Morning Consult/Politico poll showed him leading Trump by 8 percent in a hypothetical 2020 general election matchup.
The poll shows Biden lead Trump 42-34 with 19 percent undecided and 5 percent saying they would not vote.
Biden also led Trump by 6 points (53-47) in an Emerson poll released earlier this month and by 5-7 points in two polls released in March.
While Biden would certainly pose a strong challenge to Trump, the bigger challenge for him will be convincing Democrats to back a 76-year-old white man with questionable past policy stances and an uncomfortable penchant for inappropriately touching women.
Still, Biden begins his run as co-frontrunner with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
A Gravis poll released earlier this month shows Biden and Sanders tied at 19 percent apiece in Iowa with South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg in second place with 14 percent. But a UNH poll showed Sanders leading Biden 30-18 in New Hampshire, with Buttigieg catching up quickly at 15 percent.
Trump welcomed Biden to the race in typical Trump fashion.
"Welcome to the race Sleepy Joe," he tweeted. "I only hope you have the intelligence, long in doubt, to wage a successful primary campaign. It will be nasty - you will be dealing with people who truly have some very sick & demented ideas. But if you make it, I will see you at the Starting Gate!"