U.S. President Donald Trump ripped into Joe Biden on Monday on Twitter, calling him a "low I.Q. individual" - referring to the former Vice President's recent verbal slip about his 2020 candidacy.
"Joe Biden got tongue tied over the weekend when he was unable to properly deliver a very simple line about his decision to run for President," Trump tweeted. "Get used to it, another low I.Q. individual!"
In a keynote speech at a dinner for the Delaware Democratic Party, Biden boasted Saturday that he has “the most progressive record of anybody running.” The only problem is that Biden hasn’t announced whether he will launch a third run for the White House, despite repeatedly teasing the possibility.
He quickly corrected himself, clarifying that he meant to say “anybody who would run,” then adding “I didn’t mean it” while a cheering crowd in his home state nearly drowned him out.
Although Biden has been known to go off script, his remark is likely to be viewed as a Washington-style gaffe — a case of accidentally telling the truth.
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During the rest of his speech he sounded very much like a candidate-in-waiting. He repeatedly attacked President Donald Trump, accusing him of stoking division and anger, and bemoaned that the ascendant “new left” of his own party has criticized him for being cordial toward Republicans.
“The only thing strong enough to tear America apart is America itself and we’ve seen its start,” he said.
Biden accused Trump of backing away from America’s role as a leader on the world stage and abandoning its allies. He said it’s no coincidence that “fake news” — one of Trump’s favorite labels — “has become the phrase of choice for every despot terrorizing his people.”
“We’re literally in a battle for the soul of America,” he said.
More than a dozen Democrats have already launched formal 2020 presidential campaigns. After former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s entered the race last week, Biden, who is his party’s best-known and best-connected presidential prospect, is the last major contender to remain on the sidelines.
But that didn’t stop the friendly home-state crowd from reveling in the idea that will jump in.
“I told him recently I have one campaign left in me,” said Sonia Schorr Sloan, a fundraiser and longtime Biden adviser.
Delaware Gov. John Carney said Biden “doesn’t just look like he’s back. He looks like he’s ready for a fight.”
Just minutes before Biden’s slip of the tongue, though, Carney raised the possibility of a Biden campaign with a bit more delicacy.
“I am not up here to break any news tonight,” Carney told the crowd. Then he added: “In my humble opinion, we have never needed Joe Biden more than we need him right now.”