It looks like before they go head to head in the 2020 election (please, Joe!), President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden might end up in a totally different kind of confrontation. In the past few days both septuagenarians have made threats of physical violence toward one another. Just when we thought American politics couldn’t get more ridiculous.
It started with Joe Biden on Tuesday. The former VP was speaking to a crowd at the University of Miami when he brought up the infamous Access Hollywood tape on which Donald Trump can be heard on a hot mic bragging about forcing women into sexual scenarios.
“A guy who ended up becoming our national leader said, ‘I can grab a woman anywhere, and she likes it,'” Biden said, recounting the time, “They asked me if I’d like to debate this gentleman, and I said ‘no.’ I said, ‘If we were in high school, I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.'” Biden admitted that his comment was a mistake, but didn’t stop there. He elaborated on exactly the kind of person he figured would make such crude and disrespectful remarks about women.
Joe Biden on #Trump: “They asked me if I’d like to debate this gentleman. And I said no. I said, ‘If we were in high school, I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.'” https://t.co/X7bZycq12H
— Jeffrey Guterman (@JeffreyGuterman) March 22, 2018
“I’ve been in a lot of locker rooms my whole life,” he said, referring to the Trump campaign’s dismissal of the tape at the time as “locker room talk.”
“I’m a pretty damn good athlete,” Biden continued, “Any guy that talked that way was usually the fattest, ugliest SOB in the room.” That’s some pretty colourful language coming from a person who is well known for such expressions as, “that’s a load of malarkey.”
Biden has always been a vocal advocate for sexual assault awareness, legislation and support of victims. During his time as VP, he used his White House platform to speak about the issue passionately and even released a PSA and set up trauma centers with Lady Gaga last year in the wake of the Me Too movement. You could say the issue is close to Biden’s heart.
Another man might have let the empty threat go, but Donald Trump doesn’t take any question of his authority lightly. The president took to Twitter Thursday to assure the world that in a physical fight, he would be the victor and Biden “would go down fast and hard, crying all the way.” He also called the former VP “weak, both mentally and physically.”
Crazy Joe Biden is trying to act like a tough guy. Actually, he is weak, both mentally and physically, and yet he threatens me, for the second time, with physical assault. He doesn’t know me, but he would go down fast and hard, crying all the way. Don’t threaten people Joe!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 22, 2018
Trump’s tweet calls this the “second time” Biden has physically threatened him. The first was in 2016 shortly after the Access Hollywood tape came out. Biden spoke of his mission to advocate for victims of sexual assault and said he would “take [Trump] behind the gym,” adding, “What he said he did and does is the textbook definition of sexual assault.”
Biden declined to comment further on what he said in Miami and his remarks were met with laughter at the time. There is an insidious undertone here though. The answer to society’s problems is not through violence and it is troubling that Joe Biden — someone who is loved and respected by many who disdain the current POTUS — would suggest that “beating” someone is preferred to a political debate. It’s even more concerning when you consider that the cause of such a fight (between two men) was a dispute over sexual violence and respect of women.