Trump tweets Biden ‘somewhat better’ than rabid dog
As the race for the 2020 presidential election gathers pace, the bitter war of words between US President Donald Trump and his main political rival Joe Biden is expected to escalate.
Seen as the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, Mr Biden has been the main target of his rhetoric.
But some insults – on the face of it – go too far, even for President Trump.
On Sunday Mr Trump tweeted a rare, albeit backhanded, defence of Mr Biden after a North Korean attack on him.
North Korea had lambasted Mr Biden for having the “temerity to dare slander the dignity” of its leader, Mr Kim.
“Rabid dogs like Biden can hurt lots of people if they are allowed to run about,” a statement, carried North Korea’s official KCNA news agency, said on Thursday. “They must be beaten to death with a stick.”
The president’s response on Sunday included a retweet of a conservative commentator’s post about North Korea’s attack on Mr Biden.
Mr Trump’s tweet was addressed to “Mr Chairman”, an apparent reference to North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un.
The president did not hold back from his usual taunts against his US rival – calling him “sleepy and very slow” – but added that Mr Biden was “not a rabid dog”, as North Korea had called him.
“He is actually somewhat better than that,” Mr Trump added, while taking the opportunity to say he was the one who could best handle the situation.
It is not clear what drew the ire of North Korea, though Mr Biden has been critical of the Trump-Kim summits this year and last.
In response to the North Korean jibe, Mr Biden has said he saw such insults “as a badge of honour”.
In contrast, Mr Trump’s relationship with Mr Kim has been more amicable as he seeks to convince North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons through summitry rather than threats.
Mr Trump has lavished Mr Kim with compliments, describing him as “very sharp” and a “real leader”.
Mr Biden, on the other hand, has frequently been on the receiving end of Mr Trump’s jibes.