Have you heard the one about Trump? Joe Biden tries humor on the campaign trail

'Nobody has ever beaten Trump by getting in the ring with him.'

President Joe Biden is out to win votes by scoring some laughs at the expense of Donald Trump, unleashing mockery with the goal of getting under the former president’s thin skin and reminding the country of his blunders.

Like a comic honing his routine, the Democratic president has been testing and expanding his jokes over the past few weeks. It started with jabs about his Republican opponent’s financial problems, and now Biden regularly pokes fun at Trump’s coiffed hair, his pampered upbringing and his attempt to make a few extra bucks by selling a special edition of the Bible.

The jokes are the latest attempt to crack the code on how to clap back at Trump, whose own insult comedy schtick has redrawn the boundaries of what is acceptable in modern politics. Few have had much luck, whether they try to take the high road or get down and dirty with Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president.

“This is a constant challenge,” said Eric Schultz, a senior adviser to former President Barack Obama. Trump is “not someone who plays by the rules. So it’s up to Biden to figure out how to adapt and play by new rules of engagement.”

So far, Biden has been trying to thread a delicate needle to boost his chances of a second term. He uses humor to paint Trump as a buffoon unworthy of the Oval Office, but the President stops short of turning the election into a laughing matter.

Sometimes he finds that a few jokes can energize an audience even more than a major policy victory and draw precious attention away from an opponent who otherwise commands the spotlight even while stuck in a New York courtroom for his first criminal trial.

The latest example came at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on Saturday night. After years of Trump constantly needling Biden as “sleepy” and mocking his age (Biden is 81, Trump is 77), Biden lobbed the insult back after Trump appeared to doze off in court.

Biden nicknamed his rival “Sleepy Don,” adding, “I kind of like that. I may use it again.”

”Of course the 2024 election’s in full swing and yes, age is an issue,” he said. “I’m a grown man running against a 6-year-old.”

Trump didn’t seem to appreciate the ribbing, posting on his social media platform that the dinner was “really bad” and Biden was “an absolute disaster.”

But jokes at the annual black-tie affair, which also features a professional comedian (this year it was Colin Jost of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live”), are nothing new. The real meat of Biden’s routine comes during campaign speeches in which he devotes a few moments to taking digs at Trump in between recitations of policy proposals and legislative accomplishments.

“Remember when he was trying to deal with COVID? He suggested: Inject a little bleach in your vein,” Biden said Wednesday to a labor union, describing Trump’s guidance from the White House during the pandemic. “He missed. It all went to his hair.”

In Tampa, Florida, the day before, he assailed Trump for the Supreme Court’s ruling that overturned abortion protections — with three justices nominated by Trump voting in the majority of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — and then pivoted to the former president’s hawking of a $60 “God Bless the USA” Bible.

“He described the Dobbs decision as a ‘miracle,’” Biden said of Trump. “Maybe it’s coming from that Bible he’s trying to sell. Whoa. I almost wanted to buy one just to see what the hell is in it.”

Biden rarely references Trump’s court cases, but jokes about financial problems that began soon after the former President was ordered to pay $454 million in a civil case in New York.

“Just the other day,” Biden said at a fundraiser in Dallas last month, “a defeated-looking guy came up to me and said, ‘Mr. President, I need your help. I’m being crushed with debt. I’m completely wiped out.’ I had to say, ‘Donald, I can’t help you.’”

Even when Biden tries his hand at humor, he rarely strays far from talking about policies. He likes to note that he signed a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law — after his opponent failed to do so despite repeatedly holding White House events to drum up support for an idea that never materialized.

“He promised ‘Infrastructure Week’ every week for four years and never built a damn thing,” Biden said this month to a group of laughing union members.

The dilemma is that Trump, who tells voters the whole American political system is hopelessly corrupt, can get away with name-calling that would backfire on other candidates. During his rallies, Trump imitates Biden as a feeble old man who cannot find the stairs after giving a brief speech, and he calls the president “crooked” and “a demented tyrant.”

The Republican’s campaign said the insults will only intensify as Biden tries to give them a taste of their own medicine.

Steven Cheung, a Trump campaign spokesman, said Biden is “shuffling his feet like a short-circuited Roomba,” referring to the robot vacuum, while failing to address the “out-of-control border” and “runaway inflation.”

Rick Tyler, who worked on the presidential campaign of Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in 2016, said voters have a double standard because expectations are different for Trump, who first became famous as a real estate developer and the star of the reality TV show “The Apprentice.”

“Celebrities don’t really have standards, and Trump is in that lane,“ Tyler said. For a politician going up against Trump, “it’s like trying to play a sport with the wrong equipment.”

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., found that out the hard way in the Republican primary in 2016. After Rubio joked about Trump having “small hands” — suggesting that another part of him was small, too — Trump swung back by saying, “I guarantee you there’s no problem.”

“Nobody has ever beaten Trump by getting in the ring with him,” said Alex Conant, communications director for Rubio’s campaign.

Karen Finney, who advised Democrat Hillary Clinton in her 2016 White House run, said Trump can bait opponents into “communicating on his terms, not your terms.”

“It’s the kind of thing where you have to have a balance,” she said. “You could spend all day just responding.”

But if Trump’s humor is blunt, Biden sometimes tries to get the most mileage by staying subtle. During a Pittsburgh stop earlier this month, Biden spoke elliptically about Trump’s trial, betting his audience was already in on the joke.

Trump, he said, is “a little busy right now.”

Associated Press


  • Comedy Central

    April 28, 2024 at 3:33 pm

    I laugh at Biden all the time when he turns away from the podium with his hand out looking for a handshake or a handler. He has no idea where he is. The other funny thing is that his staff is working on his stride. He has been shuffling around for a while. Now he picks up his feet like he is stepping in water. He is a walking / shuffling, mumbling comedy show.

    • tim

      April 28, 2024 at 9:22 pm


  • What happen to americanism

    April 28, 2024 at 5:24 pm

    I think this article does not explain the rules of engagement.
    Trump did deliberate acts of breaking or so called offending certain items… or cohersements .. Not like they ran behind his back and stole his name to use.

  • Phil Morton

    April 28, 2024 at 7:28 pm

    Dark Brandon was on fire last night. Thoroughly fun to watch.

    • Mountain Dew

      April 28, 2024 at 8:21 pm

      What did the pump him up with? It was well past his bed time

      • Rick Whitaker

        April 28, 2024 at 8:39 pm

        ,MOUNTAIN DEW, isn’t mountain dew that horrible drink that most rednecks drink to rot their teeth out quicker so they can get dentures quicker? BTW biden is going to be great for the country for the next 5 or so years.

        • Magic Mushrooms

          April 28, 2024 at 8:57 pm

          If he is re-elected he will never finish his term.. You think things are screwed up now, wait till “Giggles” takes over. God Help Us. Now have yourself some more moonshine Rick.

          • rick whitaker

            April 29, 2024 at 10:21 pm

            MAGIC, you are not a fortuneteller. biden has no reason to not do well. he is probably in better shape than trump. peachy, i told you i don’t drink, ever.

        • Impeach Biden

          April 28, 2024 at 9:04 pm

          Might be time to put you and Slo Joe together in memory care, or get you off that zombie juice. Joe Biden is the most inept President in a lifetime. He is nothing more than a shuffling, mumbling hologram.

          • Rick Whitaker

            April 28, 2024 at 9:15 pm

            PEACHY, if you don’t appreciate biden as a good president and capable leader, then that says a lot about your ability to think correctly. saying the biden cutdowns, lies, or whatever you do, over and over and over, doesn’t make it true. so peachy, you just rub your ruby slippers together and say biden is good, biden is good, biden is good 3 times and you will wake up and your maga cultist dream will be over. it couldn’t hurt to try, you need it BAD. dude, you are eat up with it.

          • tim

            April 28, 2024 at 9:24 pm


  • Ashley Roland

    April 29, 2024 at 5:14 am

    Its tickled me a bit and made me smile on the inside hearing about sleepy Don, Sleepy Joe making jokes. What a pleasant Suprise. I’m probably the only person in this beautiful country who takes things so personal. When there is unsettled issues and turmoil amongst our people and our government it’s like an uncomfortable situation and I dread going “home” the white house is all of us. America. So, feeding our family and people we love and care about bad vibes and negative energy. I can think of a thousand things id rather eat than bad vibes. a tin. can for I’ve heard you are what you eat, I’m also a firm believer in that. I wish for the next couple of weeks the government and its predecessors could turn it around and have some fun raising this country together. Just how they spent that moment. It takes a village to raise little Staes however in this case an entire nation. Nothing will ever change unless we change it. As impossible as it seems it starts with a dream. All we need is a dream. Even if it’s not our own this nation and our people are so gifted that dream could be constructed and developed in a matter of Minutes. We should all dream about unity, color not a factor, religion doesn’t matter. China, Africa, Uranus, seriously. it’s not going to change how a job is done if you have a good team. Good job Biden and DON! setting an example. which I need to do as well.

  • Michael K

    April 29, 2024 at 9:05 am

    At least Biden’s vice president supports him – unlike Mike Pence’s denunciation of Hair Furor, who did nothing while his VP’s life was in danger.

  • Ocean Joe

    April 29, 2024 at 11:47 am

    Biden can give a great eulogy, but he isnt funny, his joke writers let him down. He has no timing.

    But the article gets another thing wrong. Little Marco absolutely destroyed Trump in that debate. The small hands thing threw Trump back on his heels. Trump said “there’ve been no complaints.” Maybe that’s why he paid Storm Daniels so much not to talk about it.

    If you watch that debate again you’ll hear Marco tell us all what we now know: Trump is dangerously unprepared to be president.

Comments are closed.


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