President Donald Trump and his allies are branding Joe Biden “creepy” for his contact with women, skating over the years of allegations against the president himself, as they try to neutralize the Democrat they believe to be Trump’s top threat in 2020.
Trump twice mentioned Biden at a dinner with House Republicans Tuesday night, alluding to the allegations the Democrat is facing. The president said he almost wanted to kiss a general who told him ISIS was close to being defeated. "I said general, come here, give me a kiss, I felt like Joe Biden, but I meant it,” he said.
The president's comments followed Fox News hosts Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, and Sean Hannity, along with conservative radio icon Rush Limbaugh — all of whom speak regularly with the president — making Biden, who has not yet announced a 2020 decision, the main subject of their shows Monday. The president’s son Donald Trump Jr., who often serves as his father’s rapid-response operation on social media, tweeted Tuesday morning about the women alleging inappropriate contact from Biden with “#creeper.”
Pro-Trump group Great America PAC also on Tuesday launched a new video and “Stop Joe Biden” website. The digital ad, which the group is spending six figures on, uses Hillary Clinton’s “Role Models” ad from 2016 that showed children watching Trump’s controversial comments, but replaces Trump with audio and footage of an interview from one of the women alleging Biden inappropriately touched her and images of Biden touching women.
“The former Vice President’s history of predatory behavior is coming font [sic] and center and our new ad ‘Creepy Joe’ details the recent accusations,” the website reads. “This behavior is unacceptable and should instantly disqualify anyone considering running for the highest public office in 2020.”
The president himself faced more than a dozen accusations of sexual misconduct during his 2016 bid, all of which he has denied, but that has not kept his supporters from attacking Biden. Neither of the women alleging inappropriate contact from Biden — a former Democratic political candidate and a Connecticut woman — said they considered that contact to be sexual, and Biden has denied acting inappropriately.
Trump’s allies might be jumping in to help define Biden before he announces, but they’re letting Democrats take the lead, said a Republican strategist involved in Trump’s 2020 efforts. The reason is clear to them: The accusations and attacks have more of an impact coming from the left. The strategist said Republicans have tried and failed to make Biden’s inappropriate touching an issue in the past when he was seen more as “fun Uncle Joe.”
“Republicans have to watch the fire that is raging, and there is so much material out there that Democrats are going to take the lead in defining him themselves,” the strategist said.
Those close to the administration also dismissed hypocrisy problems in bringing up Biden’s behavior when they’re supporting Trump. The accusations against Biden, sources said, have been well documented for voters to see in photos and videos for decades, and voters don’t have to rely on women coming forward with accusations.
The Access Hollywood tape that came out in the 2016 election was the only audio or video that showed Trump talking about sexual misconduct. At the time, his campaign described the lewd conversation as “locker-room banter.”
Any comparison with Trump is why Biden’s record becomes problematic, former Nevada lawmaker Lucy Flores, who was the first to bring up Biden’s behavior in an essay for the Cut, told Politico.
“You get in the race-to-the bottom conversation when you are discussing degrees of bad. And that’s never a good thing,” she said. “It makes the conversation a little more difficult because then you are getting into the, ‘Well, it’s not as bad. It’s bad but it’s not that bad.’ Or you force people to say, ‘That’s not bad at all.’ And I’m saying yes it is. It is bad.”
Flores alleges Biden planted an “awkward kiss” on the back of her head during a campaign rally in 2014.
On the president’s favorite news channel, Hannity led the charge against Biden on his Fox News show Monday night, showing several photos of Biden hugging and kissing women in public settings over the years, after the Connecticut woman came forward with a story of Biden pulling her in to “rub noses” at a fundraiser in 2009.
“Creepy Uncle Joe is a nickname he’s earned over the years,” Hannity said. “Just look at your screen — cringe-inducing, very awkward, touching, grabbing, kissing, hair-stroking and smelling, and nose-rubbing.
“Will the Democratic Party hold Biden to the same ‘believe all women,’ zero tolerance standard that they have utilized so vigorously against Republicans?”
Ingraham too flashed videos of Biden getting close to women, but took a slightly different approach, focusing more on the divisions within the “Democrat fanatics,” as she called them, and implied that the women’s accusations against Biden were politically motivated. She didn’t feel sorry for him though, she said, because he had enabled the “PC culture” that’s now turned the tables on him.
“Okay, this is all just really stupid, regarding Uncle Joe’s touchy-feely ways. Are we trying to pretend this was some sort of state secret?” Ingraham said.
“What’s really happening here is that the 76-year-old Biden is now trying mightily to reconcile the old Democrat Party of Bill Clinton and Ted Kennedy with the ever-shifting liberal PC codes of the present,” she said. “Biden, though, has made a critical mistake. What has he done? He’s been apologizing in an effort to court the far-left. And now, on the campaign trail, the candidates who would benefit the most from a Joe-less field — they don’t care about the apologies. They’re pouncing.”
Before Trump's comments on Tuesday night, many were waiting to see how far Trump himself will go in using the allegations to attack Biden. As of Tuesday afternoon, some were surprised the president, who tweeted several times Monday night and Tuesday, had not yet brought up Biden.
“The day is young,” said one former White House official.
The story was updated with Trump's remarks from Wednesday night.