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Biden hails ‘competent’ Republicans running for president against Trump

WASHINGTON — President Biden said Monday there are “a lot of competent candidates” running for the Republican presidential nomination — in an apparent jab at former President Donald Trump, the GOP frontrunner.

“I haven’t been able to keep up with it. It’s moving so quickly,” Biden said when asked on the White House lawn for his thoughts on the GOP field.

“I’m not being facetious. I’m being very serious. I haven’t focused on it that much,” he added.

“It seems like a lot of competent candidates are trying to get the nomination, so we’ll see.”

Biden, 80, last year attacked Trump’s political movement as “semi-fascism.” He didn’t identify by name which Republican candidates he considers competent.

Biden weighed in five days after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, 44, entered the contest, presenting 76-year-old Trump his stiffest competition yet.

President Joe Biden

Other declared Republican candidates include Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), former Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark.), businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and former Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC), who also was Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations.

National polling indicates that Trump remains the frontrunner among Republicans. Trump averages 53.2% support, according to the RealClearPolitics average of recent polls. DeSantis is currently in distant second place at 22.4%, followed by Haley at 4.4%.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott

Biden, who defeated Trump in 2020 with narrow swing-state victories, also faces competition for the Democratic nomination.

A CNN poll released last week found that Biden has the support of roughly 60% of Democrats, followed by activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. at 20% and spiritual adviser Marianne Williamson at 8%.