President Joe Biden called his Republican rival Donald Trump a “loser” during a campaign speech in South Carolina.
Biden visited the Republican stronghold on Saturday, which has not backed a Democrat for president since 1976, as he kicked of his reelection campaign ahead of the 2024 general election.
During his speech, which took place at a Democratic Party dinner in Columbia, Biden criticized Trump, the GOP frontrunner and former president and called him a “loser,” while he also slammed his handling of the economy.
“I look at veterans very differently from Donald Trump,” he said. He said Trump refused to visit a U.S. cemetery outside Paris and called them “suckers and losers,” referring to a 2020 report in The Atlantic that claimed the then president referred to members at the Aisne-Marne cemetery in these terms during a November 2018 trip to France to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Trump has denied the reports.
“How dare he say that?” Biden said. “I call them patriots and heroes. The only loser I see is Donald Trump,” he added, as the audience applauded.
Meanwhile, Biden also touted his economic record. “Inflation is coming down; it is now lower in America than in any major economy in the world,” he said. “Our economy has grown more in the last six months than it ever did at any point in Trump’s entire four years in office.”
He also celebrated “the lowest levels of Black unemployment recorded in history,” he said. “The racial wealth gap is at its lowest level in 20 years.”
Newsweek analysis found Black voters are being increasingly swayed by Trump who, according to recent polling, is poised to win more Black votes than any other Republican in history.
Americans have felt more confident about the economy, according to market researcher GfK’s latest consumer confidence index. The overall index score increased by three points to -19 in January 2024 compared with December 2023.
Biden has also stepped up his taunting of Trump.
On CNN News Central Friday, anchor Boris Sanchez claimed a source had said the former president was “rattled by Biden’s efforts to get under his skin,” by calling him a “loser”. Newsweek was not able to verify these reports.
Biden reacted to the report on X, formerly known as Twitter, by using former first lady Melania Trump’s anti-bullying slogan, “Be Best,” which she used in 2018.
Biden’s speech was interrupted by protesters three times, twice by pro-Palestinian demonstrators and once by a climate activist. All were removed from the dinner.
Saturday polling analysis by website Real Clear Polling has suggested that in a 2024 rematch, the Republican frontrunner will get 47.3 percent of the vote, ahead of the Democrat incumbent who would get 43 percent of the vote share.
In 2020, Trump won 55.1 percent of the vote in South Carolina.
Kate Plummer is a Newsweek reporter based in London, U.K.