Biden taunts Trump, calling him ‘a loser,’ in a bid to provoke him

During a visit to Mary Mac’s Tea Room in Atlanta last Saturday, President Joe Biden dismissed polls that indicate he may lose his reelection bid. He emphasized to a gathering of supporters that the race is not solely about him, but also about the alternative option.

Then he arrived at his beloved five-letter word that begins with “L” – but this time with a fresh twist – to criticize former President Donald Trump.

Biden ignited laughter and applause from the friendly audience with his remark, stating, “My opponent is not a good loser. But he is a loser.”

In a race against the ultimate flamethrower and bully, Biden is resorting to his own arsenal of insults, one-liners, and zingers to taunt Trump, the presumed Republican nominee.

The needling is a strategic approach to provoke a reaction from Trump by highlighting some of his personal and professional shortcomings.

“Loser” has emerged as Biden’s preferred moniker for Trump, alluding to the 2020 election that Trump lost but refused to concede.

During a recent speech in Detroit, President Biden recalled a well-known incident from the Trump administration where the former president suggested the use of disinfectant to treat COVID-19. Biden humorously remarked, “Just inject bleach. I think that’s what he did. That’s why he’s so screwy.”

During another occasion, Biden playfully remarked about Trump’s use of bleach, suggesting that he may have missed the intended target and instead, it all ended up in his hair!

During a campaign fundraiser in Seattle on May 11, Biden took a playful jab at the former president, referring to him as “Sleepy Don.” This nickname was a response to the reports of the former president, who has often called Biden “sleepy Joe,” allegedly falling asleep during court appearances for his hush-money trial in New York.

Biden uses these taunts to provoke Trump and demonstrate his ability to confront the former president.

In a race dominated by Trump’s presence and media attention on his trial, it remains uncertain if the president’s attacks are making a significant impact. There is also a question of whether Biden, known for his emphasis on empathy and decency, is the most effective messenger for delivering punchlines.

According to Drew Westen, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at Emory University who advises Democrats on messaging, Joe Biden’s inherent kindness may hinder his ability to effectively employ aggressive tactics. While people may find it momentarily amusing, it lacks the impact of the low blows delivered by Trump.

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Biden pokes at Trump’s Bibles, debts and Truth Social stock

During the CNN-hosted debate on June 27, Biden will have the opportunity to directly address Trump, should he choose to do so. This gives him a chance to utilize some of his prepared material against his opponent.

In some of his recent speeches and public remarks, Biden has been known to adopt a comedic tone, resembling that of a late-night comedian.

During his speeches, President Biden often shares a humorous anecdote that pokes fun at his predecessor. He recounts a time when he encountered a man who appeared to be defeated and burdened by debt. The man’s remark about his financial struggles served as a comical critique of the previous administration’s policies.

During the Seattle fundraiser, Biden jokingly shared, “I regretfully had to tell him, ‘I’m sorry, Donald, but I can’t assist you.'” This lighthearted comment alluded to Trump’s increasing legal burdens resulting from civil court rulings and associated fees.

Biden has ridiculed the “God Bless the USA Bible” being sold by Trump for $59.99.

“He called the Dobbs (Supreme Court) ruling a ‘miracle,'” Biden stated during a speech in Tampa, Florida last month. “Perhaps it’s influenced by that Bible he’s promoting. I was tempted to purchase one just to see what it contains.”

He has found humor in the financial challenges faced by Truth Social, Trump’s social media platform.

Last month, during a speech in Scranton, Pennsylvania, President Biden humorously remarked, “If Trump’s stock in the Truth Social, his company, drops any lower, he might do better under my tax plan than his.”

Drew Westen, the author of “The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation,” mentioned that Trump’s usual response is not to counterattack, but rather to resort to shame and shaming.

According to Westen, he notices that while he criticizes others, they do not reciprocate the behavior towards him. It appears that the intention behind this is to provoke a stronger emotional response from him, triggering feelings of anger and shame.

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Insults are a tradition in US politics

In response to Biden’s remarks, Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung issued a statement to USA TODAY, asserting that “Crooked Joe and his failing campaign are completely unaware of the challenges that lie ahead.”

According to Cheung, the Biden campaign will need to address not only the issue of Biden’s memory loss but also take accountability for the escalating border crisis, soaring inflation, and increasing crime rates that are negatively impacting all Americans. Cheung humorously describes Biden’s attempts to downplay his memory lapses as “shuffling his feet like a short-circuited Roomba.”

Insults and name-calling have been a longstanding tradition in American politics. From the early days of the Republic, it was not uncommon for politicians to engage in this practice to denigrate their opponents.

In their correspondence, former President John Adams expressed a deep dislike for former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, even going so far as to refer to him as a “bastard brat.”

According to William Bike, a political historian and author of a how-to guide on political campaigning, presidents in the 19th century typically relied on newspapers or their subordinates to hurl insults at their political adversaries.

In 1848, a newspaper publisher had harsh words for Lewis Cass, a Democratic presidential candidate, describing him as “pot-bellied, mutton-headed, cucumber-soled Cass.” Similarly, in 1855, a congressman referred to President Franklin Pierce as a “pimp.” Even esteemed figures like Ulysses S. Grant, a war hero and Republican presidential candidate in 1868, faced scathing attacks from newspapers, branding him as “a drunkard,” “a man of vile habit,” and a “bungler.” Fast forward to 1884, when a newspaper labeled Grover Cleveland, a Democratic presidential candidate, as “a moral leper.” These instances highlight the intense and sometimes ruthless nature of political discourse throughout history.

According to Bike, as the United States emerged as a global power in the late 19th century, politicians started to perceive themselves more as international statesmen. This shift in perspective led to a decrease in the use of aggressive rhetoric throughout the 20th century.

According to him, despite their ongoing exchange of insults, they became more astute at it. One particular line of attack against President Harry Truman went, “To err is Truman.”

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Presidential campaign rhetoric adopted a more aggressive tone during the Reagan era in 1980, according to Bike. Despite being seen as a more polite politician, President George H.W. Bush, who had served as Ronald Reagan’s vice president, transformed the term “liberal” into an offensive insult by branding his Democratic opponent Michael Dukakis with that label in 1988.

In 2016, all political restraint disappeared as Trump openly ridiculed his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, labeling her as “Crooked Hillary” and even referring to her as “the Devil.” He would further energize his supporters with chants of “lock her up.” Clinton, on the other hand, was only slightly more restrained, describing Trump as “unfit to serve” and referring to his supporters as a “basket of deplorables.”

According to Bike, it is evident that Biden is attempting to reverse the situation by provoking the overly sensitive Trump to retaliate.

According to Bike, Trump has consistently hurled insults at Biden, both during the 2020 campaign and throughout Biden’s presidency. Trump has referred to Biden as “Crooked Joe,” “the worst debater,” and even the “worst president in the history of the United States by far.” However, despite dishing out insults himself, Trump has proven to be sensitive to criticism. As a result, Biden has taken to throwing his own insults at the former president in an attempt to provoke a reaction.

Biden’s approach has had minimal impact on the dynamics of the 2024 election. According to numerous polls, Biden is currently behind Trump in both key battleground states and nationwide.

Bike explained that Biden’s strategy has two main objectives. Firstly, it aims to demonstrate that Democrats are not afraid to confront Republicans head-on. Secondly, it hopes to elicit a response from Trump that is so outrageous that it will harm his campaign.

According to Bike, insulting Trump can be an effective strategy for Democrats if it helps them achieve their goals.

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