Former President Donald Trump announced at a campaign event on Thursday that he is “retiring” the ‘Crooked’ nickname for Hillary Clinton and will instead be using it going forward for President Joe Biden.
“I will be retiring the name ‘Crooked’ from Hillary Clinton and her moniker, and I’m going to give her a new name, I don’t know, like maybe ‘Lovely Hillary’ or ‘Beautiful Hillary,’ but I’m going to retire the name ‘Crooked’ because he will be known from now on as ‘Crooked Joe Biden,’” Mr Trump said.
The watching crowd cheered and whistled. Mr Trump then speculated that Ms Clinton would be “celebrating” the announcement. He then launched a sizeable accusation at Mr Biden, the candidate who beat him handily in both the popular vote and the Electoral College in 2020.
“There’s never been anyone in the history of American politics so crooked or dishonest as Joe Biden, and the press absoultely refuses to report it — all that press back there — because, frankly, they’re just as crooked as he is, and they are,” Mr Trump said.
Mr Trump did not cite any evidence backing up his assertion that Mr Biden is the most corrupt actor in American political history.
Mr Trump himself is currently under federal indictment for allegedly facilitating a hush money payoff to an adult film star to stay quiet about an affair and help his election odds. He’s also under investigation for attempts to overturn the result of the 2020 in what experts have described as a failed self-coup.
Nevertheless, Mr Trump remains the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president for a third campaign cycle in a row — and he was eager to preview a potential rematch with Mr Biden in his remarks on Thursday.
“The choice in this election is now between strength and weakness, between success and failure, between safety and anarchy, between peace and conflict and prosperity or catastrophe,” Mr Trump said. We are living in a catastrophe.”
It is not at all clear whether Mr Trump’s forecasted efforts to define Mr Biden as corrupt will be successful. When Mr Trump began calling Ms Clinton “crooked” during the 2016 election, she was under a high-profile investigation over her email use as Secretary of State and had been relentlessly connected for years in the right-wing media to myriad scandals dating back to her husband’s presidential administration.
But where Ms Clinton and former President Barack Obama often solicited strong feelings from voters, Mr Biden, a white man, has not been a lightning rod in the same way. Mr Biden announced earlier this week that he is officially running for re-election.