COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — President Donald Trump said Sunday that he’d prefer to run for re-election against Joe Biden, suggesting that the former vice president won’t be the “great candidate” Hillary Clinton was in 2016.
Trump told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Clinton was “very smart. She was very tough. She was ruthless and vicious.”
Asked if he’d rather face Clinton again, the president said, “I would actually rather run against Biden” because “Sleepy Joe. He’s sleepy. She was not sleepy.”
That’s a nickname the president has attempted to hang on Biden for weeks, and Trump has also previously suggested that he’d prefer to face the former vice president in next year’s election. He told reporters before flying to Iowa earlier this month that Biden is “the weakest mentally and I like running against people that are weak mentally.”
Biden leads early polls in the crowded field of Democrats seeking their party’s presidential nomination. He’s largely shrugged off Trump’s insults so far, saying while campaigning in Iowa recently, “I guess he’s really fascinated by me.”
Trump suggested Sunday that he wasn’t prepared to lose his re-election bid. When asked specifically by “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd, he responded, “No. Probably not.”
“It would be much better, it would be much better if I said, “Yeah.” It would be much easier for me to say, “Oh yes,” Trump said. “No, I’m probably not too prepared to lose. I don’t like losing. I haven’t lost very much in my life.”
Trump also praised his performance in the 2016 Electoral College and, when asked about losing the popular vote to Clinton said, “There were a lot of votes cast that I don’t believe.”
He didn’t elaborate, but has repeatedly made unsubstantiated claims that voter fraud cost him the popular vote.
The president’s re-election campaign recently cut ties with many of its own pollsters after leaked internal polling showed Biden beating Trump in several key battleground states, including Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida. Despite that, Trump has repeatedly maintained that he wants to take Biden on next year, with the 73-year-old president attempting to paint the 76-year-old former vice president as too old for the rigors of a presidential campaign — much less the White House.
“Joe Biden, he looks like he’s just exhausted,” Trump told Telemundo on Thursday. “I don’t know what happened to him, but he is exhausted and he doesn’t do any work. He’s not working.”
Addressing the South Carolina Democratic convention on Saturday, Biden said Trump has weakened the nation’s standing globally.
“Our children are watching. It matters what presidents say and do,” he said. “Four more years of Donald Trump will permanently change the character of this country.”