Trump takes jab at Biden during V-J Day visit to battleship

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With the USS Battleship North Carolina in the background, President Donald Trump speaks on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, in Wilmington, N.C. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

WASHINGTON – As thunderstorms threatened, President Donald Trump sped through a V-J Day speech on Wednesday, trumpeting American strength and managing to squeeze in a swipe at Democratic rival Joe Biden.

Trump stood before an iconic World War II-era battleship to declare the port city of Wilmington, North Carolina, a World War II “Heritage City.” He pointed to a bolt of lightning and said it was God saluting the event.

He honored war veterans, including 97-year-old Hershel “Woody” Williams, the sole surviving Marine from the war to receive the Medal of Honor. The West Virginia native fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima in the Pacific.

“He's 100 percent sharp,” Trump said of Williams, who traveled to the key battleground state with the president aboard Air Force One.

“I know a 78-year-old who's not so sharp,” Trump added, a clear allusion to Biden.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany had insisted earlier this week that there was no "political purpose" to Trump's visit to North Carolina. But when the president landed in Wilmington, Trump lost no time in criticizing Biden.

“This is the most important election in the history of our country. I really believe that, because we’re running against people that have got some big issues," he told supporters on the airport tarmac. "They have got some big, big problems. They’re stone cold crazy.”

Trump also encouraged those who cast votes by mail to cast two ballots in November's election, one by mail and another in person as a check to see if the mailed vote was counted.