May 12, 2019

Trump’s Biden obsession

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

Go deeper

Protests for George Floyd continue for 10th day

Thousands of protesters march over the Brooklyn Bridge on June 4 in New York City. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

All four former Minneapolis police officers have been charged for George Floyd’s death and are in custody, including Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, who were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

The latest: Crowds gathered in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on Thursday evening and in Atlanta, Georgia, despite the rain. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms joined demonstrators on Thursday. Demonstrators in Washington, D.C. dispersed following a thunderstorm and rain warning for the region.

Trump says he will campaign against Lisa Murkowski after her support for Mattis

Trump with Barr and Meadows outside St. John's Episcopal church in Washington, D.C. on June 1. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Thursday that he would endorse "any candidate" with a pulse who runs against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Driving the news: Murkowski said on Thursday that she supported former defense secretary James Mattis' condemnation of Trump over his response to protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing. She described Mattis' statement as "true, honest, necessary and overdue," Politico's Andrew Desiderio reports.

2 hours ago - World

The president vs. the Pentagon

Trump visits Mattis and the Pentagon in 2018. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

Over the course of just a few hours, President Trump was rebuffed by the Secretary of Defense over his call for troops in the streets and accused by James Mattis, his former Pentagon chief, of trampling the Constitution for political gain.

Why it matters: Current and former leaders of the U.S. military are drawing a line over Trump's demand for a militarized response to the protests and unrest that have swept the country over the killing of George Floyd by police.