TOKYO (Reuters) – President Donald Trump doubled down on his support for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s scathing view of former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Monday, dismissing criticism that he was siding with a dictator over a fellow American.
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Akasaka Palace state guest house in Tokyo, Japan, May 27, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
“Well Kim Jong Un made a statement that Joe Biden is a low IQ individual. He probably is, based on his record. I think I agree with him on that,” Trump told a news conference in Tokyo.
The comments reinforced a tweet that Trump sent on Saturday with a similar message.
North Korea’s state-run news agency issued a stinging attack last week on Biden, who has been critical of the isolated state.
Trump has targeted Biden with increasing criticism as the former vice president rises in polls for the Democratic presidential nomination to challenge Trump in 2020.
The president often derides his political opponents, but his tweet on Sunday and his comments on Monday were notable for the fact that he issued them while abroad and aligned himself with Kim, considered a brutal dictator by many.
Trump has sought to build a strong relationship with the North Korean leader in the hopes of reaching an eventual peace deal.
Trump also knocked Biden and former President Barack Obama on Monday for their efforts to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. Trump pulled the United States out of a nuclear deal Iran sealed with Washington and other foreign powers.
“Joe Biden was a disaster, his administration with President Obama, they were basically a disaster when it came to so many things, whether it was economy, whether it was military … no matter what it was, they had a lot of problems,” Trump said when asked about criticism that he was favoring Kim over the former vice president.
“So, I’m not a fan.”
A commentary by North Korea’s KCNA state media on Tuesday slammed Biden for “rhetoric slandering the supreme leadership of the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea).”
“What he uttered is just sophism of an imbecile bereft of elementary quality as a human being, let alone a politician,” the North Korean news agency said.
Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu in Washington