Donald Trump's press secretary praised Joe Biden a 'man of the people' who was more 'likeable' than the US President.
Kayleigh McEnany has been the public face of the Trump administration - chairing often combative White House press briefings.
But in a 2015 interview, unearthed by CNN, she warned Republicans they faced a problem if Trump ran against Biden - who was then mulling a White House run.
She told local New York radio station AM970: "I think the Republicans run into a problem if it is Joe Biden and if it is maybe a Trump on the other side.
"Because Joe Biden, one of the things he is remarkable at is really kind of being a man of the people and resonating with middle class voters.
"Feeling like -- coming off as human. His gaffes -- as much as we make fun of them -- to a certain extent they make him look human. So not, since he's likable.
She said it was a toss up between Biden and Hillary Clinton for who would be easiest for a republican candidate to beat.
But she added: "I think at the end of the day, probably Joe, although if Trump is against Joe, I think the juxtaposition of kind of the man of the people and kind of this tycoon, is a problem.
"Although Donald Trump's remarkably coming off as a man of the people despite being this wealthy business tycoon."
In a statement to CNN, Ms McEnany said she had changed her mind about Biden after learning of what she called his "profound personal corruption", adding that he had become "an empty vessel for the liberal elites and far left."