Steve Bannon bluntly declared Thursday that Joe Biden would not win the 2020 Democratic presidential primary and said the former vice president would have no chance of defeating Donald Trump in a general election match-up.
“Joe Biden is nothing but happy talk,” Bannon told CNBC during an interview. “Joe Biden will not win their primary. You’re seeing peak Biden right now. Joe Biden will not be able to stand up in this primary process and no chance he can take on Donald Trump one on one.”
“He doesn’t have the stamina; he doesn’t have the smarts,” Bannon continued, borrowing a Trumpian turn-of-phrase. “I think Democrats understand that. I think you’re seeing peak Biden right now.”
The former Trump campaign manager and White House chief strategist then accused Biden of hypocrisy for campaigning for blue-collar votes, accusing Biden of not doing enough to protect their industries when he was vice president.
Bannon did not respond to additional inquiries from TheWrap about his 2020 thoughts.
The Biden subject was top of mind Thursday after the vice president officially threw his name into the 2020 Democratic race. He has run for president unsuccessfully twice before in 1988 and 2008. Though his eight years at President Obama’s side have earned him unrivaled name recognition, his campaign has faced significant headwinds in recent weeks after facing multiple allegations from women who have accused him of inappropriate physical contact.
Most notable among them was Lucy Flores, who, in a piece for The Cut, said Biden had touched her shoulders, kissed the back of her head and smelled her hair without prior consent during her campaign for Lt. Governor of the state in 2014.
“My brain couldn’t process what was happening. I was embarrassed. I was shocked. I was confused,” Flores wrote. “I couldn’t move and I couldn’t say anything. I wanted nothing more than to get Biden away from me.”
In a statement, released hours later, Biden said he remembered things differently.
“In my many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort,” he said. “And not once — never — did I believe I acted inappropriately. If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully. But it was never my intention.”
Biden also faces a crowded field which includes party celebrities like Bernie Sanders and rising stars like South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, some of whom are decades younger.