Is there anyone President Trump is more afraid of than Vladimir Putin right now? It might be Joe Biden.
The president's advisers say he's worried that the former vice president will run for the top job in 2020, because he'd be a formidable opponent, Axios reports. Biden has strong support among the white working-class voters who pushed Trump over the top and continue to prop him up amid a thicket of scandals and international and domestic disasters of his own creation.
"Trump’s calculation is based partly on how weak he sees other Democratic possibilities, including Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, and partly on who’s capable of appealing to his base of working class whites," writes Mike Allen. "Trump advisers say Biden, like the president, conveys authenticity, is comfortable in his own skin, can work a crowd, and relishes throwing and returning punches."
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During the 2016 campaign, Biden responded to Trump's bragging about groping women by telling a crowd he'd like to "take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him."
Biden's blue-collar appeal could pull the battleground states that Trump narrowly won — Michigan, Wisconsin and especially, Pennsylvania — back into the Democratic column. In 2016, Trump significantly outperformed in rural and suburban Pennsylvania, which overrode the lock Democrats have on urban centers like Philadelphia. He would need to repeat that performance to hold the state, and Biden would make that difficult.
For his part, Biden is said to think Trump is morally and experientially unfit for the presidency, and he craves a run at it. Biden came close to challenging Hillary Clinton for the 2016 nomination, but backed down because his older son had recently died of brain cancer and he was mourning and regrouping his family. Those family issues might keep Biden out of the race again. Age is another issue: At 75, Biden is three years older than Trump.
Trump recently put up a brave face about Joe Biden 2020 for the cameras, but some aren't buying it. "Trump told CBS Evening News anchor Jeff Glor just after the Singapore summit: 'I dream about Biden. That's a dream ... I'd love to have it be Biden'," writes Allen. "What Trump meant was 'wouldn't.'"