'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 TrumpAlaska Republican Party cancels 2020 primary Ukrainian official denies Trump pressured president Trump goes after New York Times, Washington Post: 'They have gone totally CRAZY!!!!' 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 BidenUkrainian official denies Trump pressured president Trump goes after New York Times, Washington Post: 'They have gone totally CRAZY!!!!' Warren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll 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 SandersWarren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll The polls are asking the wrong question Sanders unveils plan to eliminate Americans' medical debt 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 HannityFederal appeals court revives Seth Rich's family's lawsuit against Fox News Politicon announces lineup including Comey, Hannity, Priebus Ed Henry returns to 'Fox & Friends' in teary interview after recovering from donating part of his liver 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 WarrenWarren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll Warren avoids attacks while building momentum Sanders unveils plan to eliminate Americans' medical debt 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 ButtigiegWarren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll The polls are asking the wrong question Booker aide sounds alarm about campaign's funding 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 CruzState Department's top arms control official leaving Sanders NASA plan is definitely Earth first Trump judicial picks face rare GOP opposition 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 HarrisWarren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll Iowa GOP swipes at 2020 Democrats' meat positions as candidates attend annual Steak Fry Warren avoids attacks while building momentum MORE (D-Calif.)

Trump bashed Harris as “nasty” following her harsh questioning of Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrFeinstein calls on Justice to push for release of Trump whistleblower report Clarence Thomas, Joe Manchin, Rudy Giuliani among guests at second state visit under Trump Democrats to seek ways to compel release of Trump whistleblower complaint 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 BookerIowa GOP swipes at 2020 Democrats' meat positions as candidates attend annual Steak Fry Booker aide sounds alarm about campaign's funding 2020 Democrats defend climate priorities in MSNBC forum 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 GillibrandBooker aide sounds alarm about campaign's funding O'Rourke gun confiscation talk alarms Democrats Gillibrand relaunches PAC to elect women 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 SchumerSchumer, Pelosi push Trump to back universal background check bill Sinema says she would back Kennedy in race against Markey Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall 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 KlobucharMSNBC 'Climate in Crisis' special draws 1.3M viewers in 8 pm timeslot The two most important mental health reforms the Trump administration should consider Sanders searches for answers amid Warren steamroller 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 BlasioNew York Post hits de Blasio with front-page 'obituary' for 2020 campaign Booker aide sounds alarm about campaign's funding Uber sues New York City to void 'cruising cap' limit 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 BennetThe Hill's Campaign Report: De Blasio drops out | Warren gains support from black voters | Sanders retools campaign team | Warning signs for Tillis in NC Williamson: Climate change result of an 'amoral' economic system Bennet: 'This generation has a lot to be really angry at us about' MORE (D-Colo.), Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockIowa Steak Fry to draw record crowds for Democrats The Hill's Campaign Report: De Blasio drops out | Warren gains support from black voters | Sanders retools campaign team | Warning signs for Tillis in NC New poll finds Biden, Warren in virtual tie in Iowa MORE (D-Mont.), former San Antonio Mayor and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, former Rep. John DelaneyJohn Kevin Delaney2020 Democrats defend climate priorities in MSNBC forum The Hill's Campaign Report: De Blasio drops out | Warren gains support from black voters | Sanders retools campaign team | Warning signs for Tillis in NC Analysis: 2020 digital spending vastly outpaces TV ads MORE (D-Md.), Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardAnalysis: 2020 digital spending vastly outpaces TV ads Sanders searches for answers amid Warren steamroller Kavanaugh book author on impeachment calls: 'That's not our determination to make' MORE (D-Hawaii), former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska), former Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperLeft off debate stage, Bullock all-in on Iowa Yang says he would not run as a third-party candidate The Hill's Morning Report - Hurricane Dorian devastates the Bahamas, creeps along Florida coast MORE (D-Colo.), Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert Inslee2020 Democrats defend climate priorities in MSNBC forum Overnight Energy: Trump officials formally revoke California emissions waiver | EPA's Wheeler dodges questions about targeting San Francisco over homelessness | 2020 Dems duke it out at second climate forum Yang floats nominating Inslee as 'climate czar' MORE (D-Wash.), Miramar, Fla. Mayor Wayne MessamWayne Martin MessamThe Hill's Campaign Report: De Blasio drops out | Warren gains support from black voters | Sanders retools campaign team | Warning signs for Tillis in NC Poll: Biden leads Democratic field by 10 points in Florida Nearly 60 US mayors pen op-ed backing Buttigieg's 2020 bid MORE (D), Rep. Seth MoultonSeth MoultonMarkey fundraises ahead of Kennedy primary challenge The Hill's Campaign Report: De Blasio drops out | Warren gains support from black voters | Sanders retools campaign team | Warning signs for Tillis in NC Young insurgents aren't rushing to Kennedy's side in Markey fight MORE (D-Mass.), Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) John RyanThe Hill's Campaign Report: De Blasio drops out | Warren gains support from black voters | Sanders retools campaign team | Warning signs for Tillis in NC Williamson: Climate change result of an 'amoral' economic system Overnight Energy: Top presidential candidates to skip second climate forum | Group sues for info on 'attempts to politicize' NOAA | Trump allows use of oil reserve after Saudi attacks MORE (D-Ohio), Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellMarkey fundraises ahead of Kennedy primary challenge The Hill's Campaign Report: De Blasio drops out | Warren gains support from black voters | Sanders retools campaign team | Warning signs for Tillis in NC Swalwell to DNI: 'You do not have to be a part of a lawless administration' MORE (D-Calif.), author Marianne WilliamsonMarianne Williamson2020 Democrats defend climate priorities in MSNBC forum Overnight Energy: Trump officials formally revoke California emissions waiver | EPA's Wheeler dodges questions about targeting San Francisco over homelessness | 2020 Dems duke it out at second climate forum Williamson: Climate change result of an 'amoral' economic system MORE and entrepreneur Andrew YangAndrew Yang2020 Democrats defend climate priorities in MSNBC forum Yang: 'Cancel culture' has become source of 'fear' for Americans Hundreds of thousands turn out in New York, other major cities for climate marches MORE.