President Donald Trump said Friday that he is not worried about competition in 2020 from Joe Biden and that the former vice president will be his own worst enemy on the campaign trail.
“I don’t see Joe Biden as a threat. No, I don’t see him as a threat. I think he is only a threat to himself,” the president told reporters as he left the White House on Friday.
Biden, who is widely expected to announce a presidential campaign in the coming weeks, has been dogged over the last few days by an array of women who have come forward to accuse the former vice president of being overly physical in ways that were not sexual but nonetheless made them feel uncomfortable.
Trump and Biden have traded barbs on the controversy throughout the week.
A pro-Trump super PAC this week debuted an attack ad against Biden, dubbing him “Creepy Joe” and supercutting images of the vice president touching peoples’ shoulders or with his arms around them in pictures.
At a House GOP fundraiser on Tuesday, the president ribbed Biden over the accusations, accusing “socialists” of trying to do him in and joking that he considered calling Biden to welcome him to the race.
After Biden tweeted out a video Wednesday acknowledging his behavior and vowing to be more mindful of others’ personal space, Trump on Thursday posted a doctored version of the video with images of the former vice president creeping behind himself and rubbing his own shoulders.
Biden fired back hours later. “I see that you are on the job and presidential, as always,” he wrote.
Reporters on Friday asked Trump whether he thought he was the “right messenger” to rail against Biden, alluding to the accusations of sexual assault that have been levied at Trump in the past, including a 2005 recording from the TV show "Access Hollywood" that features Trump bragging about groping and kissing women without their consent.
“I’m a very good messenger, and people got a kick out of it,” Trump shot back, apparently insisting that he was trying to inject some levity into the situation. “He is going through a situation — let’s see what happens, but people got a kick out of it. We have to sort of smile a little bit, right?”
Trump then said he would welcome the chance to run against Biden, who he contended would face an uphill battle running on his long record in the Senate and his time as Barack Obama’s vice president.
“I just don’t see him as a threat. He’s been there a long time. His record is not good. He would have to run on an Obama failed record,” he said.
But ultimately, Trump said he was eager to run against any of the more than a dozen Democrats vying for the nomination.
“No, I don’t think Joe is a threat. I would love him to be — I mean, look, I would be happy with any of them, to be honest,” he added.
Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine