Fox News will broadcast an interview on Saturday night in which Donald Trump accuses Joe Biden of taking performance-enhancing drugs.
“I think there’s probably – possibly – drugs involved,” Trump told Jeanine Pirro, in a released excerpt. “That’s what I hear. I mean, there’s possibly drugs. I don’t know how you can go from being so bad where you can’t even get out a sentence…”
Trump did not finish his own sentence, but he went on to say he was referring to the Democratic presidential nominee’s hesitant performances in early primary debates, before his surge to victory on the back of a win in South Carolina.
“You saw some of those debates with the large number of people on the stage,” Trump said. “He was, I mean, I used to say, ‘How is it possible that he can go forward?”
According to the president, Biden won the nomination because the progressive vote was split.
“And he only won because Elizabeth Warren didn’t drop out,” he said. “Had she dropped out Bernie [Sanders] would’ve won Super Tuesday, every state, and you would’ve had Bernie instead of Biden.”
Trump’s claim came not long after his oldest son, Donald Trump Jr, denied claims he used cocaine before speaking at the Republican convention. Remarkably enough, it was also not the first time Trump, 74, has accused Biden, 77, of taking drugs.
Speaking to the Washington Examiner last month, the president said: “We’re going to call for a drug test, by the way, because his best performance was against Bernie [in the final debate].
“It wasn’t that he was Winston Churchill because he wasn’t, but it was a normal, boring debate. You know, nothing amazing happened. And we are going to call for a drug test because there’s no way – you can’t do that.”
This week, Trump claimed to have been channeling Churchill when he chose not to tell the public what he knew about the coronavirus threat. The claim met with ridicule.
Asked by the Examiner if he was comparing the debates to a boxing match, before which fighters are tested for banned substances, Trump said: “Well, it is a prizefight.
“It’s no different from the gladiators, except we have to use our brain and our mouth. And our body to stand. I want all standing. They want to sit down.”
Famously, Trump towered over Hillary Clinton during a debate in St Louis in October 2016, following his opponent round the stage. He also challenged Clinton to take a drugs test before their last debate because, he said, she had been “getting pumped up” before coming out to face him. She declined.
Trump and Biden are due to debate in Cleveland on 29 September, in Miami on 15 October and in Nashville on 22 October. Vice-presidential nominees Mike Pence and Kamala Harris will meet in Salt Lake City on 7 October.
Biden did not immediately respond to Trump’s remarks to Fox News.
Trump is famously teetotal and disapproving of drug use but his political rise has been fueled by a well-documented love for Diet Coke and junk food.
Beset by speculation about his physical and cognitive health, earlier this month the president was moved to deny rumours that a “series of ministrokes” prompted a short-notice visit to hospital in Washington last November.