Trump and Biden Campaign Trade Jabs Over North Korea’s Remarks

HOUSTON — President Trump sided again on Tuesday with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in mocking Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s intelligence, an extraordinary alignment of a United States president and an authoritarian dictator against an American politician — and an insult that Mr. Biden pooh-poohed by letting an aide rebut it.

During his visit to Japan last weekend, Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter that he had “smiled” when Mr. Kim described Mr. Biden recently as a “fool of low I.Q.” The White House spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, also said that Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim “agree in their assessment” of Mr. Biden. American leaders have traditionally avoided partisan sniping while outside of the country.

Mr. Biden, who is running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, did not respond to Mr. Trump’s remarks during his one public event on Tuesday, an education speech in Houston, or in response to reporters calling out questions afterward. At a fund-raiser in Houston Tuesday evening, Mr. Biden sought to stay above the fray, reaching for a line he has used to dismiss Mr. Trump in the past.

“I’m not going to get down in the mudwrestling with this fella,” Mr. Biden said. “I’m not going to do it. I don’t want to get into it. Everybody already knows who he is.”

Earlier in the day, Kate Bedingfield, a deputy campaign manager for Mr. Biden, issued a statement calling Mr. Trump’s remarks “beneath the dignity of the office.”

“To be on foreign soil, on Memorial Day, and to side repeatedly with a murderous dictator against a fellow American and former vice president speaks for itself,” Ms. Bedingfield said.

After her statement was released, Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter that he was “actually sticking up” for Mr. Biden by calling him “a low I.Q. individual,” reiterating the insult while suggesting that his phrasing was softer than Mr. Kim’s.

Another 2020 Democrat, Senator Kamala Harris of California, sharply criticized Mr. Trump for attacking “the previous vice president of the United States” while in another country.

“It is wrong, it is contrary to our values, and it is contrary to the best interests of our country,” Ms. Harris said during a town hall forum on MSNBC Tuesday night. “He should not have done it, he is irresponsible,” she added, calling his remarks one of many “examples of why he should not be president of the United States.”

Mr. Biden, in his remarks in Houston, did needle Mr. Trump for saying last week that the former vice president had “deserted” Pennsylvania by moving to Delaware decades ago.

“We moved from Scranton, I was 10, the president saying I abandoned it, to find work,” Mr. Biden said. “I was in third grade.”

Mr. Trump narrowly carried Pennsylvania in 2016, and Mr. Biden and other Democrats are determined to win back the state in 2020.

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