Biden campaign slams Trump for North Korea comments

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By Dartunorro Clark and Mike Memoli  with NBC News Politics
Image: US-VOTE-DEMOCRATS-Biden
Former US vice president Joe Biden speaks during the kick off his presidential election campaign in Philadelphia on May 18, 2019.   -   Copyright  Dominick Reuter AFP - Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden's 2020 campaign hit back at President Donald Trump on Tuesday after the commander in chief quoted North Korea's criticisms of Biden while in Japan over the weekend.

"The President's comments are beneath the dignity of the office," Biden's deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, said in a statement released shortly after Trump returned to the United States. "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."

"And it's part of a pattern of embracing autocrats at the expense of our institutions — whether taking Putin's word at face value in Helsinki or exchanging 'love letters' with Kim Jong Un," Bedingfield continued.

Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held a summit in Singapore in 2018 to work toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Another summit followed in February 2019 in Hanoi but was cut short without an agreement.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted about recent North Korean missile tests, saying that he is confident in his relationship with Kim and quoting an editorial published by North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency that derided the former vice president with a series of insults, including that he has a "low IQ."

"North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me," Trump tweeted. "I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me, & also smiled when he called Swampman Joe Biden a low IQ individual, & worse. Perhaps that's sending me a signal?"

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that both Trump and Kim "agree in their assessment of former Vice President Joe Biden."

"I think they agree in their assessment of former Vice President Joe Biden," Sanders said, speaking from Japan, where she accompanied the president. "The president doesn't need somebody else to give him an assessment of Joe Biden. He's given his own assessment a number of times. I think you've seen it. I'm sure you've covered it on your program. The president watched him and his administration with President Obama fail for eight years."

Biden and Trump have sparred since the former vice president entered the 2020 race. Bided has called Trump the "divider-in-chief" and Trump has sent off numerous Twitter missives aimed at Biden, whom he has called "SleepyCreepy Joe."