Last week, former Vice President Joe Biden was boasting about how he could physically “beat the hell out of” President Donald Trump. But by Friday, Biden was ducking a 2020 challenge.
“[I]f I don’t run it’s not because I’m afraid of losing,” Biden said, according to The Hartford Courant.
Biden was speaking to an audience at Southern Connecticut State University on Friday evening, at a discussion moderated by WNPR host Lucy Nalpathanchil.
Asked whether he would challenge Trump in the 2020 election, Biden said, “Honest to God I don’t know … I have to be able to stand in front of a mirror and look in the mirror and know that if I don’t run it’s not because I’m afraid of losing, it’s not because I don’t want to take on the responsibility, it’s because there’s somebody better to do it and/or because emotionally I’m not positioned to be all in. And so the jury’s still out.”
Three days before, at a rally at the University of Miami against sexual violence, Biden said:
“A guy who ended up becoming our national leader said, ‘I can grab a woman anywhere and she likes it.’ … They asked me if I’d like to debate this gentleman, and I said no … I said, ‘If we were in high school, I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.’”
Even the left-wing HuffPost found that remark awkward, in context: “It’s an odd sentiment to respond to violence against women with more violence, but Biden’s comments were met with applause and laughter.”
Trump responded with a tweet taunting “Crazy Joe Biden” 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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 22, 2018
Biden may also have had other matters on his mind — such as the revelation that his son Hunter’s firm struck a billion-dollar deal with a subsidiary of the Bank of China just days after father and son traveled to China on Air Force Two in 2013.