2020 preview? Trump, Biden exchange barbs in Iowa

About 17 months until the election.

Posted: Jun 11, 2019 7:14 AM
Updated: Jun 12, 2019 12:07 AM

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden repeatedly laid into each other while traveling Tuesday in the battleground state of Iowa, unleashing verbal attacks that at times felt more appropriate for the final weeks before Election Day than a lazy summer about 17 months before voters go to the polls.

The back-and-forth laid bare the rising political stakes for each man, even with the election about 17 months away. Trump has zeroed in on Biden as a threat to his reelection chances and is testing themes to keep him at bay. Biden, meanwhile, is campaigning as a front-runner with near-universal name recognition, relishing the fight with Trump while trying to ensure he doesn't ignore the demands of the crowded Democratic primary.

"People don't respect him," Trump said of Biden after touring a renewable energy facility in Council Bluffs. "Even the people that he's running against, they're saying: 'Where is he? What happened?'"

With a dose of exaggeration, the president added: "He makes his stance in Iowa once every two weeks and then he mentions my name 74 times in one speech. I don't know. That reminds me of Crooked Hillary. She did the same thing." He went on to muse that standing for nothing but opposing his policies was the reason Clinton lost.

At almost the same moment in Mount Pleasant, meanwhile, Biden noted that his staff told him Trump was watching footage of his criticism of the president from early in the day as Air Force One landed in Iowa.

"I guess he's really fascinated by me," Biden said. "I find it fascinating." He started to say more but then stopped himself, quipping: "My mother would say: 'Joey, focus. Don't descend. Stay up.'"

Speaking Tuesday evening in Davenport, Biden suggested Trump was an "existential threat to America" and said voters must stop the president's attempts to elevate his office beyond its traditional limits of power. He said Trump is "breaking down the barriers that constrain his power" and mockingly accused him of believing that he has "complete power."

"No, you don't, Donald Trump," Biden cried, drawing cheers from a crowd of around 500 at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds.

Biden is campaigning again in Iowa on Wednesday, this time without Trump in the state.

For his part, Trump has insisted that Biden is the candidate he wants to face in 2020.

"I'd rather run against Biden than anybody," Trump told reporters on the White House lawn before flying to Iowa. "I think he's the weakest mentally, and I like running against people that are weak mentally."

Biden began the day Tuesday in Ottumwa, the heart of Wapello County, a meat-packing and agricultural manufacturing center that Trump was the first Republican to carry since Dwight D. Eisenhower. The former vice president hit Trump on the economy — an issue the president often promotes as his chief strength in a time of low unemployment.

"I hope his presence here will be a clarifying event because Iowa farmers have been crushed by his tariffs toward China," Biden said. "It's really easy to be tough when someone else absorbs the pain, farmers and manufacturers."

Biden added that Trump "backed off his threat of tariffs to Mexico basically because he realized he was likely to lose" in manufacturing states such as Michigan and Ohio. He broadly branded Trump "an existential threat to this country" and said his behavior is often beneath the office of the presidency.

Trump used his visit Tuesday to display the power of incumbency, talking up his administration's accomplishments on trade and protection of agriculture in a state where both are vital. In Council Bluffs, he toured a plant that produces and sells the corn-based fuel additive ethanol, and he signed an executive order he said would help farmers.

"I fought very hard for ethanol, but you proved me right," Trump said, adding that he fought "for the American farmer like no president has fought before."

But he then mocked Biden again.

"He was someplace in Iowa today and he said my name so many times that people couldn't stand it," the president said.

Later, addressing an evening fundraiser in West Des Moines, Trump refrained from mentioning Biden by name but took a veiled swipe at the former vice president's recent reversal on the Hyde Amendment, a ban on using federal funds to pay for abortions. Biden now says he opposes the ban.

"They go for one thing for a lifetime, and then they flip, and they go to something totally different," Trump said. "It depends on which race they're running."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 24190

Reported Deaths: 1036
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin8181606
Ramsey2863122
Stearns201413
Nobles15125
Anoka136370
Dakota126354
Washington61731
Olmsted60810
Kandiyohi4901
Rice4522
Clay42426
Scott4082
Todd3130
Wright3051
Mower3031
Sherburne2372
Carver2062
Benton1753
Steele1590
Blue Earth1380
Martin1295
St. Louis11814
Freeborn1150
Pine890
Nicollet8610
Unassigned8610
Winona7915
Carlton730
Watonwan710
Cottonwood700
Crow Wing682
Goodhue663
Otter Tail640
Chisago611
Polk612
Itasca5410
Dodge520
Chippewa491
Lyon490
Morrison450
Meeker450
Le Sueur441
Douglas410
Becker390
Jackson390
Murray390
McLeod340
Isanti320
Waseca260
Rock220
Mille Lacs191
Faribault180
Swift180
Wabasha180
Fillmore171
Pennington170
Sibley160
Brown152
Beltrami140
Cass132
Norman130
Pipestone120
Kanabec111
Wilkin113
Marshall100
Pope90
Wadena90
Aitkin80
Koochiching70
Yellow Medicine60
Mahnomen61
Lincoln50
Renville50
Big Stone40
Grant40
Red Lake40
Redwood40
Clearwater30
Hubbard30
Traverse30
Lac qui Parle30
Roseau30
Houston20
Lake10
Kittson10
Stevens10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 19217

Reported Deaths: 531
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk4160125
Woodbury274034
Black Hawk173944
Linn94976
Dallas89220
Marshall89216
Buena Vista7350
Johnson6149
Wapello5589
Muscatine55641
Crawford5142
Tama40227
Scott35810
Dubuque34518
Louisa34311
Jasper26116
Pottawattamie2578
Sioux2190
Washington1888
Wright1670
Plymouth1292
Warren1260
Allamakee1204
Story1091
Mahaska9310
Poweshiek908
Henry711
Bremer696
Des Moines621
Clinton611
Boone610
Taylor540
Clarke530
Guthrie503
Cedar461
Benton411
Webster391
Monroe385
Shelby370
Jones360
Hamilton350
Clayton343
Iowa330
Buchanan330
Osceola330
Marion320
Cerro Gordo281
Cherokee280
Madison282
Fayette270
Lee250
Winneshiek240
Monona240
Jefferson230
Harrison220
Davis210
Lyon210
Dickinson200
Grundy200
Mills190
Floyd191
Sac180
Humboldt170
Lucas170
Hardin160
Hancock160
Delaware150
Keokuk150
Clay150
Appanoose153
Butler151
Emmet140
Ida140
Page130
Greene130
Franklin130
Cass120
Howard120
Audubon121
Jackson120
Winnebago110
Pocahontas110
Chickasaw100
Carroll90
Van Buren90
Adair90
Kossuth90
Union70
Adams70
Montgomery70
Palo Alto60
Unassigned60
Fremont40
Mitchell40
Ringgold40
Worth30
Calhoun20
Wayne10
Decatur10
Rochester
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