President Donald Trump has delivered a stunning response against Democratic hopeful Joe Biden, telling a news program the former vice president is “not all there”.
“Look, Joe’s not all there. Everybody knows it. And it’s sad when you look at it and you see it, you see it for yourself. He’s created his own sanctuary city in the basement of wherever he is and he doesn’t come out,” Trump told Fox News.
“And certainly if I don’t win, I don’t win. I’ll go on and do other things.”
Mr Trump’s comments came off the back of Mr Biden claiming the president would try to “steal” the election in November and would have to be escorted from the White House if he lost.
“My single greatest concern: This president’s going to try and steal this election,” Mr Biden told The Daily Show with Trevor Noah on Wednesday.
“This is a guy who said all mail-in ballots are fraudulent, voting by mail, while he sits behind the desk in the Oval Office and writes his mail-in ballot to vote in the primary.”
Mr Biden said he’d considered what would happen if Trump refused to vacate the presidency in the event he wasn’t re-elected, before suggesting that the military could step in to ensure a peaceful transition of power.
“I am absolutely convinced they will escort him from the White House with great dispatch,” he said.
Mr Trump told Fox News that him losing the election would be a “very sad thing for our country”, claiming Democrats were “doing nothing” to address the rioting.
The president said the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests had also exposed cities living under “radical left mayors”.
“It was all very liberal mayors, radical left mayors, all of these places,” Mr Trump said.
“It was not that they were not in Republican cities. They were all in cities that frankly, I think I have a chance to win many of those cities. But these were all cities run by radical lefts Democrats. And I think it’s a very sad thing that would happen.”
Black Lives Matter protests continue around the US and across the globe after George Floyd, an African American man, was killed by police in Minneapolis late last month.
In the same Fox News interview, Mr Trump said he didn’t “like chokeholds”.
But Mr Trump also talked at length about a scenario in which a police officer is alone and fighting one-on-one and could have to resort to the tactic.
Chokeholds have come under renewed scrutiny in the wake of Mr Floyd’s death in police custody.
Though the tactic was not used on Mr Floyd, who died after a police officer pressed his knee into his neck despite him pleading he couldn’t breathe, it has become a symbol of police brutality and there have been calls nationwide to ban its use.
The manoeuvre is banned in many departments across the country already.
A chokehold is a tactic in which an officer puts his or her arm around the neck of a suspect, blocking airflow.
Eric Garner died in 2014 after a police chokehold, though the officer responsible maintains he used a different, legal takedown manoeuvre called “the seatbelt,” in which an officer puts one arm around a suspect’s chest and another around the waist to wrestle a suspect to the ground.
In response to the protests, the White House has been working to craft an executive order on policing, though it is unclear if the final version will address chokeholds at all.
Even as Mr Trump endorsed scaling back their use, the president nonetheless sounded convinced that chokeholds were sometimes necessary, calling it a “very tricky situation” in his interview with Fox.
“Sometimes if you’re alone, and you’re fighting someone whose tough, and you get somebody in a chokehold … . What are you gonna do now? Let go and say: ‘Oh let’s start all over again? I’m not allowed to have you in a chokehold,’” he said.
“I think the concept of chokeholds sounds so innocent, so perfect. And then you, realize if it’s a one-on-one … if a police officer is in a bad scuffle and he’s got somebody … . So you have to be very careful.”
“With that being said, it would be, I think, a very good thing that, generally speaking, it should be ended,” he added.
– With AAP