Donald Trump, even in the midst of an impeachment inquiry over whether he tried to force Ukraine to wage a smear campaign against Democratic candidate Joe Biden, unexpectedly mounted a defense of Biden on Sunday. His defense came after an attack on Biden by state-run media in North Korea last week. But Trump’s defense of Biden, posted to Twitter, appeared rather halfhearted.
In a statement on Thursday, North Korea’s KCNA news agency called Biden a “rabid dog,” who “must be beaten to death with a stick, before it is too late.” An English translation of the statement was posted online by the North Korea-monitoring site KCNA Watch.
Repeatedly misspelling Biden’s name as “Baiden,” the KCNA statement appeared to be responding to some criticism of North Korea by the Democratic frontrunner. According to The Washington Post, two weeks ago Biden referred to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as a “murderous dictator.”
The KCNA said that “anyone who dares slander” Kim will suffer “horrible consequences,” and “merciless punishment.”
On Sunday, Trump quoted a tweet that referenced the KCNA “rabid dog” statement, replying that Biden was “actually somewhat better than that.” Trump nonetheless took his own shots at Biden, calling him “Sleepy and Very Slow.”
The KCNA statement seemed to take a cue from Trump’s “Sleepy Joe” nickname for Biden, calling the former United States Vice President, “Baiden (sic) not awakened from a sleep.”
Trump has repeatedly expressed a deep affinity for Kim. Not only has Trump met face-to-face with Kim, something no U.S. president had previously done, but he has met the North Korean strongman three times. Trump has also described himself as “in love” with Kim.
While Trump has said that he believes he will make a “deal” with Kim to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, the U.S. has received little in return for Trump’s unprecedented overtures. As recently as July 30, North Korea defied Trump by firing two missiles toward Japan. The North Korea government then issued a statement calling the missile launches a “warning to the South Korean warmongers.”
In his Sunday tweet, Trump addressed Kim directly, referring to him as “Mr. Chairman.” He also encouraged Kim to “get the deal done.”
Even after Trump claimed he had reached an agreement with Kim last year to stop the country’s nuclear program, North Korea has continued to manufacture nuclear warheads, according to a Defense Intelligence Agency estimate. The DIA said that North Korea appeared to have produced a dozen new nuclear devices in the year following Trump’s initial meeting with Kim in Singapore, on June 12, 2018.
In his Sunday tweet directed at Kim, Trump appeared to call for yet another meeting with Kim, signing off by writing, “See you soon!”