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Biden on McCain being intimidated by Trump: 'Give me a break'

Former Vice President Joe Biden said in a new interview that President Trump won't be able to intimidate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

"The idea that Trump is going to intimidate John McCain? Give me a break," Biden told The New York Times.

Biden was asked about the exchange of words between Trump and McCain this week after McCain gave a speech blasting nationalist forces that was seen by many, apparently including the president, as a thinly-veiled attack on Trump. 

"People have to careful, because at some point I fight back," Trump told WMAL radio host Chris Plante the following day when asked about McCain. "I'm being very nice. I'm being very, very nice. But at some point I fight back, and it won't be pretty."

McCain, a former prisoner of war, quickly fired back, saying: "I've faced far greater challenges than this."

McCain slammed "half-baked, spurious nationalism" in the United States in his Monday speech.

"To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain 'the last best hope of earth' for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history," McCain said after receiving the National Constitution Center's Liberty Medal.

Biden said McCain's speech was, to him, a "message to the country."

"I think he was delivering a message to the country, to his colleagues and to any of the opinion makers that would listen, and that is, 'Look, this is serious stuff, our role in the world is not guaranteed, democracy is not guaranteed, we know how to do this and, damn it, we'd better focus and know what's at stake,'" Biden told the Times.

McCain, who was diagnosed with brain cancer in July, served in the Navy for more than two decades and spent years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

Trump has attacked McCain in the past, notably when the senator voted against a GOP bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare.