US elections: Joe Biden regrets calling Trump a 'clown' during debate

Joe Biden. Photo: Reuters

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has said that he regrets calling President Donald Trump a "clown" during the first presidential debate, which was marked by angry interruptions and bitter accusations.

"I should have said, this is a clownish undertaking, instead of calling him a clown, Biden said in response to a question at a town hall organised by NBC News in Miami, Florida.

During the first of the three presidential debates in Cleveland last week, Biden termed Trump a "liar" and a "clown" as the two candidates fiercely clashed over a number of issues, including racism, economy and climate.

It was an ugly debate. And it hit some lows. You called him a clown, a fool. You told him to shut up. I think most people believe that the president was interrupting you. But it seemed to go against some of the language you have said about not being divisive. Do you regret any on your part? Biden was asked Monday night in Miami.

"It did," Biden responded. "I was trying to figure out how I could possibly have him respect the debate, respect the evening, respect the moderator, and get us an opportunity to speak. The one thing that became absolutely clear, he didn't want to answer any questions. He did not want to talk about substance," Biden said explaining the reasons for using the word clown for Trump.

"If you notice, not one single time that I can recall did he offer a substantive answer or criticism related to a policy matter. It was all invective. It was all personal. It was all things that had nothing to do with whether you're going to change these people's lives for the better. And I did get very frustrated," Biden said, adding that he used the word out of frustration.

"But the fact is, I will be very honest with you. I think it was embarrassing for the nation to see the president of the United States just hectoring like he did, and everything was about a personal attack, Biden said.

Biden and Trump are scheduled to face off two more presidential debates later this month.

Top Republican leaders had slammed Biden for calling Trump a clown.

"The real concern I had -- when you watched Joe Biden -- I mean, just the way he handled - to refer to, shut up man and clown. He was more concerned about cheap shots than even talking about the concerns we have with China, with the virus, with really putting the business and the economy back on track, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Fox Business in an interview.

Biden said during the Miami townhall that it was just very difficult.

"I didn't want to further demean the process of the debate by getting in a shouting match with him, on the one hand. And I tried very hard, if you noticed, to look in the camera and answer the questions directly, but they kept getting banged, he said.

"I hope this next meeting we're going to have, it's called a debate, but a town meeting we're going to have supposedly coming up, but I hope we at least have an opportunity to hear the question and answer the question directly, before there's an interruption. But, as I said to the president, not here, not tonight, not me. I'm not putting up with it," Biden said.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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