Donald Trump and Joe Biden in ‘rhetorical septuagenarian smackdown’

Feuding pair trade barbs over who would go down first in a fight

Clinton and Biden
Biden has stated his desire to ‘beat the hell’ out of Trump
(Image credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden are in the middle of what The Washington Post describes as a “rhetorical septuagenarian smackdown over who could clean the other’s clock in a brawl”.

Trump, reacting to comments Biden made about him earlier in the week at an anti-sexual assault rally in Florida, tweeted on Thursday: “Crazy Joe Biden is trying to act like a tough guy. Actually, he is weak, both mentally and physically, and yet he threatens me, for the second time, with physical assault. He doesn’t know me, but he would go down fast and hard, crying all the way. Don’t threaten people Joe!”

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At the University of Miami, Biden cited lewd comments Trump had made in a 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape about grabbing women without their permission.

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“If we were in high school, I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him,” said Biden. He also said any man who disrespected women was “usually the fattest, ugliest S.O.B. in the room”.

The former vice president faces criticism for the aggressive nature of his comments. They “echo those he made at a Hillary Clinton rally during the 2016 presidential election”, says HuffPost.

“The press always ask me, ‘Don’t I wish I were debating him?’ No, I wish we were in high school – I could take him behind the gym. That’s what I wish,” Biden said at the time.

Though Trump’s “freewheeling Twitter insults have long broken presidential decorum”, says Yahoo News, the Thursday morning tweet about fighting Biden was “nonetheless striking”.

Trump has often railed against Democrats, including Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren, who, it’s speculated, are considering running against him in 2020.

Talk of a Biden run for the presidency has “persisted since the 2016 campaign, in which it has been claimed he was considered as a last-minute replacement for Hillary Clinton”, says The Guardian.

The former Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus said in a speech in Hong Kong this week that Biden could be “a pretty serious candidate”, but he added that he didn’t think a Democratic party moving left in opposition to Trump would embrace such a centralist figure.

At the annual Gridiron Dinner with Washington journalists earlier this month, the US President dismissed the prospect of a Biden run, calling his political opponent “Sleepy Joe” and saying he could “kick his ass”.

Trump also attacked Biden on Twitter in 2016, calling him “Our not very bright Vice President”.

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