'SleepyCreepy Joe' and 'Crazy Bernie': Trump seeks to define 2020 Dems with insults

'SleepyCreepy Joe' and 'Crazy Bernie': Trump seeks to define 2020 Dems with insults
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As the Democratic presidential primary heats up, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Trump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Ocasio-Cortez claps back at Trump after he cites her in tweet rejecting impeachment MORE has renewed his go-to campaign tactic of labeling his opponents with derogatory nicknames and targeting challengers with personal attacks.

Trump effectively dispatched a crowded field of Republican primary contenders in 2016, leaning on nicknames and insults like “Low Energy Jeb [Bush]” and “Lyin’ Ted [Cruz]” to belittle his opponents. 

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With 24 Democratic candidates now in the race, the president has already targeted members of the primary field, slapping nicknames on several high-profile candidates as he tries to weaken his eventual general election competitor.

Here’s what Trump has said about some of the Democrats running for president.

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden calls for equal pay for US women's soccer team Biden calls for equal pay for US women's soccer team Yang: Standing next to Biden on debate stage would help boost name recognition MORE

Biden, who Trump reportedly views as one of his biggest challengers among the current Democratic candidates, has repeatedly drawn Trump’s ire both at rallies and over social media, garnering the nickname “SleepyCreepy Joe.”

“Looks to me like it’s going to be SleepyCreepy Joe over Crazy Bernie. Everyone else is fading fast!” Trump tweeted, referring to Biden and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersConfused by polls? Watch early primary states — not national numbers Confused by polls? Watch early primary states — not national numbers Biden leads in early voting states, followed by Warren, Sanders: poll MORE (I-Vt.).

Trump had long referred to Biden as “Sleepy Joe” but added “Creepy” after several women alleged that the former vice president inappropriately touched them and made them feel uncomfortable.

The president last month made an offhand remark about rhyming the nickname.

“I thought to refer to him as Sleepy Joe, because a lot of people wanted me to take the word ‘sleepy’ to something that rhymes with it. Does that make sense to you? And I thought it was too nasty,” he told Fox News host Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityOcasio-Cortez and Cruz's dialogue shows common ground isn't just for moderates Hannity fires back at Acosta over book: 'Go hawk that garbage' on CNN Hannity fires back at Acosta over book: 'Go hawk that garbage' on CNN MORE.

Trump and Biden have long feuded since the former vice president said last year that he would have "beat the hell out" of the president if they had gone to high school together, following comments the president made about women.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

Trump has dubbed Sanders “Crazy Bernie,” and often cites the self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist’s policies in his criticism of the Vermont senator.

“Bernie’s crazy. But Bernie’s got a lot more energy than Biden, so you never know,” Trump said at an event this month. “Bernie’s got a lot of energy but it’s energy to get rid of your jobs.”

Sanders continues to rank near the top of national and statewide primary polls, but has recently found himself behind Biden since the former vice president launched his campaign last month.

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBiden calls for equal pay for US women's soccer team Biden calls for equal pay for US women's soccer team Trump steadfast in denials as support for impeachment grows MORE (D-Mass.)

Warren has emerged as one of Trump’s most popular targets of ridicule, receiving the derogatory nickname “Pocahontas” over her controversial past claims of Native American ancestry.

“Today Elizabeth Warren, sometimes referred to by me as Pocahontas, joined the race for President. Will she run as our first Native American presidential candidate, or has she decided that after 32 years, this is not playing so well anymore? See you on the campaign TRAIL, Liz!” Trump tweeted shortly after Warren officially launched her presidential bid.

Indigenous groups have slammed Trump over the nickname, saying it amounts to a slur.

“The name becomes a derogatory racial reference when used as an insult. American Indian names, whether they be historic or contemporary, are not meant to be used as insults. To do so is to reduce them to racial slurs,” the Alliance of Colonial Era Tribes said in a statement last year.

Warren has emerged as a vocal detractor of Trump’s policies, sometimes pivoting from his insults to criticize the White House.

“Hey, @realDonaldTrump: While you obsess over my genes, your Admin is conducting DNA tests on little kids because you ripped them from their mamas & you are too incompetent to reunite them in time to meet a court order. Maybe you should focus on fixing the lives you're destroying,” she tweeted last year, referring to Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy that led to family separations at the border.

South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegButtigieg wouldn't reverse US embassy move to Jerusalem: 'What's done is done' Buttigieg wouldn't reverse US embassy move to Jerusalem: 'What's done is done' Buttigieg: Iran situation 'disturbingly reminiscent' of lead-up to Iraq War MORE

Trump just recently started mocking the South Bend, Ind. mayor, focusing on his difficult-to-pronounce name and lack of national political experience.

"We have a young man, Buttigieg," Trump said this month at a Florida campaign rally. "Boot-edge-edge. They say 'edge-edge.'"

"He’s got a great chance. He’ll be great. He’ll be great representing us against President Xi of China," he continued. "That’ll be great."

"You can't get too worried about the name calling and the games he plays," Buttigieg responded the next day. "I was thinking of a Chinese proverb that goes, 'when the wind changes, some people build walls and some people build windmills.'"

Trump also compared Buttigieg to Alfred E. Neuman, the gap-toothed, red-haired and big-eared boy who has appeared on the cover of Mad magazine for decades.

"Alfred E. Neuman cannot become president of the United States," the president said in an interview with Politico.

Buttigieg, 37, shrugged off the nickname, saying “he had to google” it and that it was a “generational thing.”

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas)

Trump's criticism of the former El Paso congressman has primarily focused on O'Rourke's February rally that rivaled one of his own the same night in the border town. 

“A young man who's got very little going for himself except he's got a great first name. He challenged us. We have, say, 35,000 people tonight, and he has, say, 200 people, 300 people," Trump said shortly after the rallies. "Not too good. In fact what I would do, that may be the end of his presidential bid."

Trump revived the criticism this month at a campaign rally.

“I went to Texas and I made a speech, and Beto, Beto, boy has he fallen like a rock," Trump said at the Florida rally. "What the hell happened to Beto?”

“His crowd was not massive, he had like 502 people according to the people who count crowds,” the president added.

Trump also slammed O’Rourke during the 2018 midterm elections when O’Rourke ran to unseat Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCruz, Ocasio-Cortez efforts on birth control access face major obstacles Ocasio-Cortez and Cruz's dialogue shows common ground isn't just for moderates Ted Cruz, AOC have it right on banning former members of Congress from becoming lobbyists MORE (R-Texas). 

“Beto O’Rourke is a total lightweight compared to Ted Cruz, and he comes nowhere near representing the values and desires of the people of the Great State of Texas. He will never be allowed to turn Texas into Venezuela!” he tweeted. 

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisBiden calls for equal pay for US women's soccer team Biden calls for equal pay for US women's soccer team Confused by polls? Watch early primary states — not national numbers MORE (D-Calif.)

Trump bashed Harris as “nasty” following her harsh questioning of Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrAnticipation builds for final Supreme Court rulings Anticipation builds for final Supreme Court rulings Trump's Justice Department should change its tune on antitrust policy MORE when he appeared in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“She was probably very nasty,” the president said of Harris on Fox Business, adding that other presidential candidates on the committee were hard on Barr to score “political points.”

Harris shot back the next day that she was simply trying to “pursue justice.”

“We have a president of the United States whose primary interest I think that has been clear as a result of what we know as a result of the Mueller report, his primary interest has been to obstruct justice," Harris said on CNN. "My primary interest is to pursue justice. You can call that whatever name you want, but I think that's what the American people want in a leader.”

Harris's campaign also fundraised off the comments, blasting Trump's "gendered" attack on the senator.

Trump had said a few days prior that Harris has “a little bit of a nasty wit, but that might be it,” when Sean Hannity asked him of his thoughts on the California Democrat.

It was reported earlier this year that Trump and his daughter, Ivanka, had both donated to Harris's California attorney general campaigns in 2011, 2013 and 2014.

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerFox News poll shows Trump trailing Biden, Sanders, other Democrats Fox News poll shows Trump trailing Biden, Sanders, other Democrats Poll: Biden leads, Warren surges in South Carolina MORE (D-N.J.)

Trump has not commented frequently about Booker, but suggested in 2016 that he had personal dirt on the New Jersey Democrat. 

“If Cory Booker is the future of the Democratic Party, they have no future! I know more about Cory than he knows about himself,” he tweeted in July 2016.

Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandBiden calls for equal pay for US women's soccer team Biden calls for equal pay for US women's soccer team Trump steadfast in denials as support for impeachment grows MORE (D-N.Y.)

Trump slammed his home state senator in 2017, saying she used to come to his office “begging” for donations.

“Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerElection security bills face GOP buzzsaw Election security bills face GOP buzzsaw US women's soccer team reignites equal pay push MORE and someone who would come to my office “begging” for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump. Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED!” he tweeted.

Gillibrand fired back the next day, slamming the smear as “sexist.”

"It was certainly just a sexist smear intended to silence me," she said during an interview with NBC's "Today Show." "And I'm not going to be silenced on this issue. I have heard the testimony of many women, numerous accusers. I believe them and he should resign for that." 

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharElection security bills face GOP buzzsaw Election security bills face GOP buzzsaw Julián Castro defends going on Fox: I'm focused on 'the people out there watching' MORE (D-Minn.)

Trump has not focused much of his ire on Klobuchar, but use her campaign launch, which coincided with a Minnesota blizzard, to knock both global warming and the senator.

“Well, it happened again. Amy Klobuchar announced that she is running for President, talking proudly of fighting global warming while standing in a virtual blizzard of snow, ice and freezing temperatures. Bad timing. By the end of her speech she looked like a Snowman(woman)!” he tweeted in February.

New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioDemocratic presidential hopefuls react to debate placement Democratic presidential hopefuls react to debate placement The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Biden, Sanders to share stage at first DNC debate MORE

De Blasio just launched his campaign Thursday morning, but swiftly was labeled a “JOKE” by Trump. 

“The Dems are getting another beauty to join their group. Bill de Blasio of NYC, considered the worst mayor in the U.S., will supposedly be making an announcement for president today. He is a JOKE, but if you like high taxes & crime, he’s your man. NYC HATES HIM!” Trump tweeted.

De Blasio launched his campaign with a stinging broadside of Trump, calling the president a “con.”

“Right now, the federal government is not on the side of working people. And that’s because Donald Trump is playing a big con on America,” de Blasio said on “Good Morning America.”

“I call him Con Don. Every New Yorker knows he’s a con artist. We know his tricks. We know his playbook,” de Blasio continued. “I know how to take him on — I’ve been watching him for decades. He’s trying to convince working Americans he’s on their side. It’s been a lie from day one.” 

President Trump has so far refrained from individually jabbing Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetDemocratic presidential hopefuls react to debate placement Democratic presidential hopefuls react to debate placement The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Biden, Sanders to share stage at first DNC debate MORE (D-Colo.), Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockBullock posts video of #dadjokes for Father's Day Bullock posts video of #dadjokes for Father's Day Democrats' 2020 Achilles's heel: The Senate MORE (D-Mont.), former San Antonio Mayor and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, former Rep. John DelaneyJohn Kevin DelaneyFive takeaways from first Democratic debate lineup Five takeaways from first Democratic debate lineup Democratic presidential hopefuls react to debate placement MORE (D-Md.), Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardOvernight Defense: Trump doubles down on claim Iran attacked tankers | Iran calls accusations 'alarming' | Top nuke official quietly left Pentagon | Pelosi vows Congress will block Saudi arms sale Overnight Defense: Trump doubles down on claim Iran attacked tankers | Iran calls accusations 'alarming' | Top nuke official quietly left Pentagon | Pelosi vows Congress will block Saudi arms sale Democratic presidential hopefuls react to debate placement MORE (D-Hawaii), former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska), former Gov. John HickenlooperJohn Wright HickenlooperDemocrats' 2020 Achilles's heel: The Senate Democrats' 2020 Achilles's heel: The Senate Campaign dads fit fatherhood between presidential speeches MORE (D-Colo.), Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeDebunking Democrats' claims about fossil fuel tax breaks Campaign dads fit fatherhood between presidential speeches 2020 Democrats mark 7th anniversary of DACA MORE (D-Wash.), Miramar, Fla. Mayor Wayne MessamWayne Martin MessamThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Biden, Sanders to share stage at first DNC debate The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Biden, Sanders to share stage at first DNC debate Biden, Sanders, Buttigieg to debate; Warren on separate night MORE (D), Rep. Seth MoultonSeth Wilbur MoultonThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Biden, Sanders to share stage at first DNC debate The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Biden, Sanders to share stage at first DNC debate Biden, Sanders, Buttigieg to debate; Warren on separate night MORE (D-Mass.), Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) John Ryan2020 Democrat: Harriet Tubman will be on 'within the first year of my presidency' 2020 Democrat: Harriet Tubman will be on 'within the first year of my presidency' Democratic presidential hopefuls react to debate placement MORE (D-Ohio), Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellCampaign dads fit fatherhood between presidential speeches Dems eye repeal of Justice rule barring presidential indictments Dems eye repeal of Justice rule barring presidential indictments MORE (D-Calif.), author Marianne WilliamsonMarianne WilliamsonFive takeaways from first Democratic debate lineup Five takeaways from first Democratic debate lineup Democratic presidential hopefuls react to debate placement MORE and entrepreneur Andrew YangAndrew YangYang: Standing next to Biden on debate stage would help boost name recognition Yang: Standing next to Biden on debate stage would help boost name recognition Five takeaways from first Democratic debate lineup MORE.