Two septuagenarian grandfathers are sparring over who possess more relative youthful vigour, as US President Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden circle each other in one of the first overt faceoffs of the US’ 2020 presidential contest.
The war of words – from playful taunts to direct repudiations – underscores how both men largely view the other as their main political foil, with Biden making Trump’s character the centrepiece of his campaign and Trump querying friends and advisers about the threat Biden poses.
Biden, a Democratic former senator from Delaware who served for eight years as former President Barack Obama’s No. 2, officially launched his bid for the 2020 Democratic nomination with an explicit rejection of Trump and his values, focusing in particular on the president’s declaration that there were “very fine people on both sides” of deadly clashes between white supremacists and counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017.
Trump immediately responded by insulting Biden’s intelligence on Twitter and branding him “Sleepy Joe.”
If Biden can prevail over the gauntlet of nearly two dozen Democratic hopefuls, Trump wrote, “I will see you at the Starting Gate!”
But by Saturday, the two were already out of the gate, engaged in an early round of bickering in which the 72-year-old UD president and the 76-year-old former vice president seemed determined to establish who was more energetic and virile.
Leaving the White House on Saturday morning, Trump enthused to reporters about how he is “the youngest person.”
“I am a young, vibrant man,” Trump said, apparently drawing a contrast with Biden.