President Trump wouldn’t choose between Sen. Bernie Sanders or former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg – who topped this week’s Iowa caucuses – as the scarier general election opponent.
‘Everybody’s a threat. I view everybody as a threat,’ the president told reporters outside the White House Friday.
But Trump also couldn’t resist making fun of the Democrats for the debacle that was the Iowa caucuses, saying the vote totals were ‘fried.’
‘All the money that the Democrats spent and the votes are fried,’ Trump commented. ‘They have no idea who won.’
Trump was referring to the technological breakdown that occurred as the Iowa Democratic Party tried to report the results of Monday night’s caucuses.
The final tally was released Thursday night, though there was still so much uncertainty surrounding the vote that the Associated Press was ‘unable’ to call the race.
The results showed Buttigieg .1 per cent ahead of Sanders, as he had earned two state delegates more than the Vermont senator.
Sanders won both popular vote metrics in the state.
‘They couldn’t even take a simple tabulation and yet they’re telling you how to run the country and how to run healthcare,’ Trump said.
The president also commented on Vice President Joe Biden’s fourth place showing in the Hawkeye State.
‘And it’s also very sad how he’s doing, how he’s doing in the polls,’ Trump said.
He, of course, had to tout his own victory in the Iowa caucuses.
‘Trump won,’ he noted. ‘And it was a lot of votes.’
Trump’s comments came in the hours leading up to the 2020 Democrats next challenge: facing off on the debate stage in New Hampshire.
The debate, which will kick off at 8 p.m. EST on the Manchester campus of St. Anselm College, will be moderated by a team from ABC News – George Stephanopoulos, David Muir and Linsey Davis – sitting alongside WMUR’s Monica Hernandez and Adam Sexton.
It will mark the eighth time Democratic candidates have faced off onstage – but the first time after some votes have been counted.
Four years ago, the New Hampshire debate on the Republican side snuffed out the rise of Sen. Marco Rubio.
Rubio came in an impressive third in Iowa, after conservative Sen. Ted Cruz, a natural fit for GOP voters in the Hawkeye State, and Donald Trump, who had been leading national polls for almost the entire cycle.
But Rubio stumbled that night thanks to broadsides coming from then New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who mocked the Florida senator for using a canned response three times, saying he was only capable of delivering a ’25-second speech.’
Like with the Republicans in 2016, the Iowa results – once they were finally almost tallied – shuffled the deck in interesting ways.
The most surprising result was Biden’s fourth place finish.
The former vice president has long positioned himself as his party’s best chance to beat Trump, but with sluggish finish, he suddenly looked vulnerable to being beat in the primary by two left-wing rivals – Sanders and Warren – and a 38-year-old mayor.
After admitting he knew that he had underperformed – telling a crowd that he took a ‘gut punch’ in Iowa, he tried to right the ship by hitting both Sanders and Buttigieg harder.
He said Sanders’ label of being a democratic socialist would not only hurt the Vermont senator should he be the nominee, but would trickle down to every Democrat on the ballot in 2020 as well.
‘Donald Trump is desparate to pin the socialist label on our party,’ Biden pointed out.
He then went after Buttigieg for his youth and inexperience.
‘I do believe it’s a risk – to be just straight up with you – for this party to nominate someone who’s never held office higher than mayor of a town of 100,000 people in Indiana,’ Biden said at a campaign event Wednesday in Somersworth, New Hampshire.
Biden also captivated an audience during his hour at a CNN town hall Wednesday night when he devoted 10 minutes to talking about how he overcame his stutter.
He then left the state and headed back to Delaware for debate prep, leaving his wife to do Biden campaign events on Thursday while his competitors continued to stump through the state.
In the early minutes of Friday, two new New Hampshire polls showed Biden also in fourth place in the Granite State.
The Emerson poll had Sanders far ahead of the pack.
The Vermont senator had 32 per cent, followed by Buttigieg with 23. Warren took the same position she did in Iowa – third – with 13 per cent support. Biden slipped into fourth at 11 per cent.
The Boston Globe-Suffolk University survey released Friday showed Sanders and Buttigieg neck-and-neck, with 24 per cent support and 23 per cent support respectively. Warren again follwed with 13 per cent support. And Biden, again, came in fourth with 11 per cent – the same per cent of Democrats who said they remained undecided in the primary, which happens Tuesday.
In both new polls, Sen. Amy Klobuchar came in fifth, the place she took in Iowa as well.
On the debate stage Friday night, these five top candidates will be joined by billionaire Tom Steyer and Andrew Yang, who are both polling in the single digits.
The New Hampshire debate marks Yang’s return to the debate stage as he didn’t meet the required thresholds, mandated by the Democratic National Committee, to make the debate stage in January in Des Moines, Iowa.
The Democratic candidates will debate two more times this month.
They’ll take the stage in Las Vegas on February 19 in the run-up to the Nevada caucuses.
Then those who qualify will head to Charleston, South Carolina for a debate on February 25 in advance of South Carolina’s primary.