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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

Updated 13 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Satellite imagery of the Northeastern U.S. taken by NOAA on Jan. 17. Photo: NOAA

A major winter storm lashed much of the East Coast Sunday and Monday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The latest: Authorities in North Carolina confirmed that two people died in a car crash and that they responded 600 vehicle accidents during the storm on Sunday, per the Washington Post.

3 hours ago - Health

CDC director says COVID-19 messaging should have been clearer

Rochelle Walensky. Photo: Stefani Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that the messaging around the COVID-19 pandemic and changing guidance should have been clearer.

State of play: Walensky is being coached by media experts and is planning to have more press briefings by herself in order to ensure that CDC is seen as an independent, scientific entity, rather than as a political one, the Journal reports.

3 hours ago - World

UAE asks U.S. to reinstate Houthi terrorist designation after attack

Secretary of State Tony Blinken (left) listens to United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan during a joint news conference at the State Department iin October. Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah Bin Zayed asked Secretary of State Tony Blinken in a phone call Monday to re-designate the Houthi rebels in Yemen as a terrorist organization, a senior Emirati official told Axios.

Why it matters: Less than a month after he assumed office, President Biden rolled back the Trump administration’s decision to make the designation. He said it hampered humanitarian assistance to the Yemeni people. Since then, the Houthis have escalated their attacks against Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region — including an attack Monday in Abu Dhabi.