Presidential hopeful and Democratic front-runner Joe Biden shot down the notion that he’d be intimidated by President Trump in the general election — saying in an interview that “he’s the bully that I knew my whole life.”
“He’s the bully that I’ve always stood up to. He’s the bully that used to make fun when I was a kid that I stutter, and I’d smack him in the mouth,” Biden told CNN’s Chris Cuomo in the wide-ranging interview, which aired Friday.
Cuomo asked Biden how Democratic voters can be confident that he’s up for the task of taking on the combative president — who has dubbed him “Sleepy Joe” and mocked his intelligence — after having trouble sparring in last week’s presidential debate.
“I don’t think I’m having trouble sparring. It’s how you want to spar,” Biden said. “This is ironic. I’ve never been accused of not being able to spar. I’ve been accused of being too aggressive.”
Biden said he would beat the “divider-in-chief” by “pointing out who I am and who he is and what we’re for and what he’s against,” adding that he will “fight without being personal” in this campaign.
“I think the American public wants a president with some dignity who has a value set who is actually trying to restore the soul of this country,” he said.
The president reacted to Biden’s entry into the presidential race with a scathing tweet.
“Welcome to the race Sleepy Joe. I only hope you have the intelligence, long in doubt, to wage a successful primary campaign,” Trump tweeted. “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!”
During the CNN interview, Biden also referenced the moment in a debate between Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton when the then-candidate stood behind her as she spoke, crowding her on national TV.
“I’m looking forward to this man. You walk behind me in the debate. Come here, man,” Biden said, flicking his hands toward himself.
Biden also faulted the president on policy, including his handling of China — “while he’s tweeting, China’s going to own the 5G market” — and North Korea.
“Look, you want to talk, you want to deal with us, you want sanctions lifted. Show me something ahead of time,” Biden said of the Hermit Kingdom, faulting Trump for his openness with the rogue regime and despot Kim Jong Un.