Trump mocks 'Sleepy Joe' after Biden jumps into 2020 race

President TrumpDonald John TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated MORE on Thursday mocked Joe BidenJoe BidenPossible GOP challenger says Trump doesn't doesn't deserve reelection, but would vote for him over Democrat Joe Biden faces an uncertain path The Memo: Trump pushes back amid signs of economic slowdown MORE after the former vice president launched his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

“Welcome to the race Sleepy Joe. I only hope you have the intelligence, long in doubt, to wage a successful primary campaign,” Trump tweeted.

The president warned Biden the race would “be nasty” and he would be forced to confront “people who truly have some very sick & demented ideas,” an apparent reference to other Democratic primary candidates.

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“But if you make it, I will see you at the Starting Gate!” Trump added.

Biden made his long-expected presidential announcement in a video in which he criticized Trump for saying there were “very fine people on both sides” of the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., that turned deadly.

“With those words, the president of the United States assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it,” Biden said. “And in that moment, I knew the threat to this nation was unlike any I’d ever seen in my lifetime.”

Republicans view the former vice president as Trump’s strongest challenger in a possible general election matchup.

Biden enters the Democratic primary as a leading candidate, according to polls, but he could face a tough race in a crowded field of candidates and in an environment where party activists are seeking a younger and more progressive nominee.

Trump nonetheless acknowledged Biden could be a serious contender in a tweet last week attacking him and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersJoe Biden faces an uncertain path Bernie Sanders vows to go to 'war with white nationalism and racism' as president Biden: 'There's an awful lot of really good Republicans out there' MORE (I-Vt.), another top-tier 2020 candidate.

“I believe it will be Crazy Bernie Sanders vs. Sleepy Joe Biden as the two finalists to run against maybe the best Economy in the history of our Country (and MANY other great things)! I look forward to facing whoever it may be. May God Rest Their Soul!” Trump wrote. 

Updated at 8:59 a.m.