Asked how he would fare against his fellow elderly man in a scrap, the president warned that “one gentle little touch to the face” would send Biden down and claimed that he had asked UFC president Dana White whether his opponent would be a good fighter.

Speaking at the suitably-named Bullhead City on one of his final public events ahead of next week’s election, Trump again targeted the vote of fight fans at the end of a campaign in which he has frequently joked about not wanting to fight UFC stars while championing them when they have attended his rallies.

“With Sleepy Joe, I don’t think Sleepy Joe would be a good fighter, do you?” asked 74-year-old Trump, using his favorite nickname for a man who has been accused of showing signs of slowness due to his age.

“I asked Dana before. One gentle little touch to the face and he’s down. And he wouldn’t get up very quickly either, would he?

“Joe Biden’s only idea, remember when he said, ‘I’d like to take him to the back of the barn.’ OK.

“Now if I ever said that to him, they’d say, ‘He practices violence. The president practices violence.’

“Remember, he said, ‘I would take him to the back.’ It’s like, if you have to fight someone, that’s your dream fight.”

The Republic candidate was awkwardly referring to remarks made by Biden in 2016, when he was vice president to Barack Obama and campaigning for Hillary Clinton, who Trump beat to reach the White House.

Describing allegations made against Trump as a “textbook definition of sexual assault”, Biden bizarrely added: “I wish we were in high school – I could take him behind the gym. That’s what I wish.”

He repeated his unusual threat at a University of Miami event in 2018, announcing: “I said, ‘If we were in high school, I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.'”

Trump was at the center of a scandal when he was found to have made lewd remarks about women in what was dismissed as “locker room talk”.

“I shouldn’t have said that,” admitted Biden about his fighting words. “Then I was told it was ‘just locker room talk.’

“I’ve been in a lot of locker rooms in my whole life. I’m a pretty damn good athlete. Any guy who talked that way was usually the fattest, ugliest [son of a b*tch] in the room.”

Critics were unimpressed by reports of Trump’s latest outburst, although the likes of UFC welterweight number one Colby Covington, who has been an impassioned backer of him throughout his run for re-election, would have enjoyed the labored comparison with MMA.

“It’s a new stage of the election,” joked one, while others mocked Trump over footage showing him needing two hands to drink from a glass of water.

“The candidates have to fight, UFC style, if the election result isn’t clear by midnight on November 3.

“Biden looks like he could run around that ring for quite a lot longer than Donald Trump could stand for.”

Another said: “Make no mistake: the majority of his followers love this sort of thing.”

White has repeatedly spoken out in support of Trump, including appearances at rallies and donating $1 million to his campaign.

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