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President Trump greets President Obama and Joe Biden after being sworn in. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Behind the scenes, aides to President Trump have long seen Joe Biden as his biggest potential threat in 2020. Now, the president is saying it out loud.

Driving the news: "Looks to me like it’s going to be SleepyCreepy Joe over Crazy Bernie. Everyone else is fading fast!" Trump tweeted Friday. Trump also called Biden the frontrunner in an interview with Politico, mocking him for mistakenly referring to Theresa May as Margaret Thatcher: "Is that a good front runner? I don’t know. That was a beauty."

Between the lines: Trump’s advisers take Biden very seriously.

  • Several have privately said they're surprised he's opened up such a strong early lead.
  • A few months ago, many of Trump’s advisers thought Biden would be formidable in a general election. But few thought he'd win a Democratic primary that looked likely to be dominated by left-wing activists.
  • Now they’re thinking: Sheesh! Maybe he can get through to the general.

Biden has been in Trump's head for months:

  • After a major firefighters union endorsed Biden, Trump attacked the union's leadership and retweeted "dozens of posts from purported firefighters and friends and relatives of firefighters" criticizing the endorsement. (WashPost)
  • Back on March 18, Trump tweeted: "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. Get used to it, another low I.Q. individual!"

Go deeper: Joe Biden is running like he already won the Democratic primaries

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Go deeper

Drought, record heat wave in West tied to climate change

People on Folsom Lake in Granite Bay, California, U.S., June 16, 2021. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The prolonged and widespread heat wave in the West, along with the region's increasingly severe drought, is a sign of how climate change has already tilted the odds in favor of such extremes, studies show.

Why it matters: The rapidly growing Southwest, in particular, is also the nation's fastest-warming region. The combination of heat and drought could lead to a repeat, or even eclipse, the severity of 2020's wildfire season in California and other states.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

What to watch as infrastructure talks heat up

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A mix of Beltway action and extreme weather events have brought the fault lines in infrastructure talks and their planetary stakes into sharper focus.

Catch up fast: Senate Democratic leaders pledged to seek big climate measures in a multitrillion-dollar, Democrats-only package that faces a very narrow political path.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
4 hours ago - Sports

The sports stock market

Note: Michael Jordan's card is for baseball; Data: Alt; Table: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Shohei Ohtani's trading card value has risen 781% since the start of 2021, the highest year-to-date return of any athlete on Alt, a sports card exchange that aims to bring more liquidity to alternative assets.

Why it matters: The trading card market is the closest thing we have to a stock market for sports.