White House

‘I don't see Joe Biden as a threat,’ Trump says

POTUS on former VP: ‘He’d have to run on the Obama failed record’

President Donald Trump talks with journalists before departing the White House on March 20. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Friday dismissed former Vice President Joe Biden as a threat to take his job in 2020, saying the longtime Democratic senator is only “a threat to himself.”

[Click here to see profiles for 2020 presidential candidates]

Biden’s tip-toeing toward a reported likely 2020 White House bid was slowed late last week when Lucy Flores alleged Biden inappropriately touched and kissed the back of her head at a campaign event in 2014 during her unsuccessful bid to become Nevada's lieutenant governor.

Then other women came forward with similar allegations of Biden inappropriately touching them, forcing him to release a video in which he said he intends to change amid shifting national norms — while also not apologizing.

[‘Remain in Mexico’ policy for migrants creating ambiguity, fear]

Trump — despite around 20 women accusing him of inappropriate actions against them — mocked the former VP by posting a doctored video Thursday showing Biden inappropriately touching himself in that very video.

Asked if, given those allegations, he is the right GOP messenger to criticize Biden, Trump responded: “I think I’m a very good messenger.”

“People got a kick out of it,” a grinning Trump said of the doctored video. “We got to sort of smile a little bit, right?”

Despite multiple polls showing Biden as the front-runner in the 2020 Democratic primary fight, and defeating Trump in a hypothetical head-to-head general election race, Trump on Friday declared, “I don’t see Joe Biden as a threat.”

“I think he’s only a threat to himself. … He’s been there a long time. His record’s not good,” the president said as he left the White House for the southern border in California. “He’d have to run on the Obama failed record. You look at what happened with … North Korea, the Middle East, the economy never got going.”

“Look, I’d be happy with any of them, to be honest,” Trump said of the ever-growing Democratic field. He has tried to paint the pool of potential challengers as chock full of socialists who would turn the United States into Venezuela, which is stifled by political unrest and violence after its socialist government wrecked its economy.

But polls show a number of the leading Democratic candidates would defeat Trump, if the election was held today.

Meantime, Trump also said that he might “shut it down at some point,” referring to ports of entry at the southern border, but “I’d rather do tariffs” on Mexican-assembled automobiles.

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“Mexico, I have to say, has been very, very good ... the last four days,” he said. If they keep rounding up migrants, “everything will be fine. If they don’t, we’re going to tariff their cars at 25 percent.” He did not comment on the fact most of those autos are from American companies.

“The tariffs will work,” he claimed. “Just like they have with steel.”

What’s more, he weighed in on U.S. fiscal policy, again breaking with past presidents who tried to let the Federal Reserve operate outside of the political sphere.

Trump called for the Federal Reserve to drop interest rates, saying “they really slowed us down” with a rate hike just two days after his chief economic adviser Lawrence Kudlow said the White House is not trying to influence the central bank’s decision-making.

“I would say in terms of quantitative tightening, it should not be quantitative easing,” Trump said. “I think they should drop rates and they should get rid of quantitative easing. You would see a rocket ship.”

Finally, the president confirmed speculation by announcing he will skip the annual White House Correspondents Dinner for a third consecutive year. He called the dinner dull and “negative,” saying he will hold a “positive” campaign rally instead.

“It’ll be a big one,” he vowed.

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