This article appeared online at on Wednesday, June 12, 2019: 

President Donald Trump and Joe Biden, his likely Democrat opponent in November 2020, touched gloves on Tuesday in Iowa and then came out swinging.

Biden landed the first blows by revealing the text of his evening Davenport speech at 6:00 a.m., getting the jump on Trump’s usual early morning tweeting frenzy. Biden questioned Trump’s mental capacity to lead the country and challenged his moral conduct. He claimed that Trump’s tariffs have “crushed” Iowa farmers, saying, “It’s easy to be tough when someone else is feeling the pain.” He attacked the president on climate change, race, and his failed negotiations with China. He accused the president of backing off on threats of tariffs on Mexico, calling him “scared” and putting on a “stunning display of childishness” during his visit to Normandy to honor D-Day. This was no doubt a reference to a Trump tweet he sent while visiting the United Kingdom calling Bette Midler a “washed-up psycho.”

Biden told his Davenport audience that the president is “literally an existential to this country,” slamming Trump by name more than 75 times in his speech. Biden accused Trump of “embrac[ing] dictators such as Kim Jong-un [North Korea’s communist supreme leader] who’s a damn murderer and a thug.” He charged Trump with using “crude language” and “embarrassing behavior that is burrowing deep into our culture.” He added that Trump is defying the authority of Congress and using phrases such as “enemy of the people” when describing the mainstream media.

These charges were red meat for the president who, in a series of responses, got his own licks in even before leaving for his own talk at a fundraiser in West Des Moines last night. Said Trump: “He’s a different guy. He looks different than he used to. He acts different than he used to. He’s even slower than he used to be” and then adding, “Joe Biden is a dummy.”

During the day Trump got in some more blows: “He said my name so many times that people couldn’t stand it anymore. I guess he’s really fascinated with me,” adding, “When a man has to mention my name 76 times in a speech, he’s in trouble.” Trump later called Biden “sleepy.” He referred to Biden’s positively dismal performance in Iowa the last time he ran for president back in 2007. Biden’s campaign lasted a year before he dropped out, owing to not only his awful performance in the polls, but coming in fifth place in the Iowa caucus in January 2008, garnering less than one percent of the vote.

Trump said that Obama “took him off the trash heap” by naming him as his vice president a few months later.

The president is likely saving the good stuff for later. He is expected to formally announce his candidacy for reelection next week, although it is clear that he has been running for reelection ever since his inauguration. And he’s delighted that Biden is so far ahead of his competition: “I’d rather run against … Biden than anybody. I think he’s the weakest mentally, and I like running against people that are weak mentally. I think Joe is the weakest up there. The other ones have much more energy.”

That “good stuff” would include, just for starters, Biden’s admitted plagiarism (for the second time) of climate-change proposals taken directly from other Democrat platforms, without giving them credit. Biden also changed a position he had held for more than 40 years on the issue of federal funding of abortions, under pressure from angry Democrat women, a key demographic he is hoping to secure in November 2020.

There’s Biden’s history of groping and fondling women (which has continued despite his promise to keep his hands off them). There are the revelations that he successfully pushed for a Ukrainian prosecutor to be relieved of his position because he was investigating corruption in a company whose board included his son, Hunter.

There’s his proven history as a liar, first over the circumstances of the death of his first wife in a car accident, second over his academic record while in law school. There’s his pro-abortion stance as noted by The New American:

Despite being a Roman Catholic … he voted against a bill that would have attached criminal penalties to the killing or injuring of a fetus while carrying out a violent crime on a pregnant woman. He voted against parental notification laws and against punishing those who transport minors across state lines to get an abortion. Five separate times Biden voted against bills that would prohibit the ghastly procedure known as partial-birth abortion.

Biden sports a rating of “F” from the National Rifle Association (NRA) for his consistent anti-Second Amendment positions while serving as a senator from Delaware. He also voted in favor of eliminating protection from gun makers against frivolous and financially damaging lawsuits.

The ringside judges had already weighed in on the winner of the first round before it even began. According to the latest Quinnipiac University poll, Biden holds a 13-point lead over Trump, 53-40. With 17 months to go, it’s just a little early to be picking a winner in this 15-rounder.

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