Trump defends, mocks Joe Biden after North Korea calls former VP a 'rabid dog'

Access to the comments Comments
By Max Burman  with NBC News Politics
Image: Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden addresses attendees during the
Former Vice President Joe Biden addresses attendees during the AFL-CIO Workers Presidential Summit in Philadelphia on Sept. 17, 2019.   -  Copyright  Mark Makela Reuters

President Donald Trump tweeted a backhanded compliment about former Vice President Joe Biden Sunday after North Korea called the Democratic presidential candidate a "rabid dog."

"Mr. Chairman," Trump said on Twitter in an apparent reference to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, "Joe Biden may be Sleepy and Very Slow, but he is not a 'rabid dog.'"

South Korea's Yonhap News Agency speculated that by insulting Biden North Korea was trying to appeal to Trump.

The president has continued to describe his personal relationship with Kim in positive terms despite a stalemate in nuclear talks.

He repeated that sentiment Sunday, urging Kim to "act quickly, get the deal done."

"See you soon!" he added.

Biden, in contrast, has been a frequent target of Trump's insults.

Trump's feud with Biden is at the center of the impeachment inquiry into the president, which is focused in part on whether the Trump administration demanded Ukraine investigate the former vice president and his son in exchange for U.S. military aid.

Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency had lashed out against Biden Friday, saying he "must be beaten to death with a stick."

The commentary said the presidential hopeful "reeled off a string of rubbish against the dignity" of the North's leadership, an act it said deserves "merciless punishment."

It wasn't immediately clear which of Biden's comments provoked North Korea's anger.

The Democrat has accused Trump of cozying up to embattled foreign leadersand has been highly critical of his diplomacy with Kim, calling the meetings "three made-for-TV summits."

North Korea similarly criticized Biden in May, labeling him a "fool of low IQ" after Biden called Kim a tyrant during a speech.