Just prior to departing for Iowa, where former Vice President Joe Biden is campaigning today, President Trump needled the (current) Democrat front-runner, calling him “weak mentally” and “slower than he used to be.”

Before he got to Biden, though, Trump commented on the number of reporters swarming around him, saying the crowd was like the Academy Awards red carpet “before they got political.”

Then, knowing that Biden would be speaking at a rally in Ottumwa in just a few hours, said a few things to put Biden in reactionary mode and throw him off message.

I heard Biden, who’s a loser. I mean, look, Joe never got more than 1 percent except Obama took him off the trash heap, and now it looks like he’s failing. It looks like his friends from the left are going to overtake him pretty soon. But I heard he — you know, his whole campaign, you know, is to hit Trump…when a man has to mention my name 76 times in a speech that means he’s in trouble.

Now, I have to tell you, he’s a different guy. He looks different than he used to. He acts different than he used to. He’s even slower than he used to be. So, I don’t know. But when he mentions my name that many times I guess I should be complimented.

The press gaggle asked him a few questions about polling and Russia. When they got back to Biden, Trump ratcheted up the rhetoric.

No, I’d rather run against, I think, Biden than anybody. I think he’s the weakest mentally, and I like running against people who are weak mentally. I think Joe is the weakest up here. The other ones have much more energy. I call him 1 percent Joe, because until Obama came along he didn’t do very well. Look, but I don’t bring him up….

There are two take-aways from Trump’s comments on Biden. One, Trump is using the same type of strategy against the Democrat contenders that he used against his primary opponents in the 2016 primary, which is to focus on one opponent then attack them endlessly until they’re destroyed. Two, Trump wanted Biden to make the Ottumwa rally about Trump so that the media coverage and sound bites would feature Biden’s weak attempts at slamming Trump instead of Biden’s own message.

Biden fell straight into the trap.

Jennifer Van Laar is Deputy Managing Editor of RedState and Executive Director of Save California PAC. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.