Trump, who has continued to launch criticisms at Clinton even after defeating her in the 2016 presidential race, offered rare praise of the former secretary of state while once again labeling Biden as “sleepy.”
“I actually think that Hillary Clinton was a great candidate. She was very smart. She was very tough. She was ruthless and vicious,” Trump said during an interview on NBC’s “Meet The Press.” “[Biden’s] sleepy. She was not sleepy.”
This is not the first time Trump has claimed that he would prefer running against Biden – who consistently leads a crowded Democratic field and has enjoyed success in head-to-head polls against Trump – to other candidates in 2020.
“I’d rather run against, I think, Biden than anybody,” Trump said earlier this month. “I think he’s the weakest mentally and I like running against people that are weak mentally … The other ones have much more energy.”
Biden was also attacked this weekend by fellow Democratic presidential candidates during speeches at the South Carolina Democratic Party’s convention.
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., said on Saturday that voters mustn’t “turn back the clock” but instead, “Let’s start the next chapter. Let’s turn the page.”
It was a demonstration that Biden, who has drawn fire in recent weeks for his reversal on opposing taxpayer funding of abortion and his recollections of working with long-dead segregationist senators, won’t become the Democratic nominee without an intense fight, no matter his front-runner’s strategy.
Biden had the luxury of the last word Saturday, using his draw as the last of 20 candidates at the rostrum to deliver a rapid-fire litany of policy proposals, including a new pitch for an $8,000 tax credit for child care services.
The former vice president avoided mention of his recent spat with New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, who’d called for the former vice president to apologize after recalling how he had to work with virulent segregationists when he was first elected to the Senate in 1972. Booker took particular exception to Biden noting that Mississippi Sen. James Eastland “never called me boy,” only “son.”
In an interview with MSNBC after his speech Saturday, Biden did not apologize, saying his remarks got twisted. “I do understand the consequence of the word boy, but it wasn’t said in any of that context at all,” Biden says.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.