INDIANAPOLIS — This is a story about two men who boasted about beating each other up.
It's news because the men are President Trump and former vice president Joe Biden.
It's concerning because it happens while the nation — and particularly first lady Melania Trump — are seeking a solution to the pervasive problem of bullying.
On Thursday morning, we awoke to this tweet from the president: "Crazy Joe Biden is trying to act like a tough guy. Actually, he is weak, both mentally and physically, and yet he threatens me, for the second time, with physical assault. He doesn’t know me, but he would go down fast and hard, crying all the way. Don’t threaten people Joe!"
Trump was responding to a taunt from Biden on Wednesday, who was talking about Trump when he told a crowd at a rally at the University of Miami: "If we were in high school, I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him."
Biden, who's thinking about running for president in 2020, made his comment while discussing the problem of sexual assault against women — in particular an infamous 2005 tape in which Trump talked about how he groped women and shared other lewd comments with former Access Hollywood reporter Billy Bush.
Trump was right when he said it wasn't the first time Biden had threatened him with physical violence. Biden made a similar remark in the summer of 2016, just after the release of the Trump tape and before the election.
People on Twitter had a field day as the simmering feud between the two leaders exploded out into the open.
Some were placing their bets on Joe Biden
"Oh Look! It's Joe Biden 'going down fast and hard'! Woops, nevermind, wrong guy," Ed Krassenstein tweeted. The tweet included a picture of Trump.
A Twitter user named April Michelle tweeted a picture of Biden lifting a weight, saying, "Joe Biden reading Trumps tweets like."
And others backed Donald Trump
"Trump's Crazy Joe Biden tweet might be the greatest thing ever, " Twitter user Crista Cruz wrote.
"President Trump would destroy Crazy Joe Biden in a Boxing Ring or in a Cage!" Twitter user Rob wrote.
This macho sparring has cropped up before. Boxing experts even made comments in 2016 on who would win a fight between Trump and Biden.
What it says about bullying
But others are wondering whether this public display of animosity could harm efforts to teach others — particularly children — about the dangers of bullying.
Twitter also took Biden to task: "Joe Biden, shame on you, at a time where kids are being killed in schools for bullying you stand up in front of the world and threaten our President? Have you lost your mind?" Sensibly Numb wrote.
According to the Anti-Bullying Institute, the problem of bullying "has become an epidemic that affects not only children, but parents, teachers and the community."
Here are some facts about bullying compiled by the Riverside, Calif.-based institute.
•1 in 7 students in Grades K through 12 are either a bully or have been a victim of bullying.
•An estimated 160,000 U.S. children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students.
•1 out of 10 students who drops out of school does so because of repeated incidents of bullying.
•83% of girls and 79% of boys report experiencing harassment.
•35% of kids have been threatened online.
•As of 2015, all 50 states now have anti-bullying laws on the books.
According to the Florida-based Stop Bullying Now Foundation, one-fifth of all children say they have been bullied. But Lowell Levine, founder and CEO of the non-profit, said bullying can be reduced by up to 50% in schools which have strong anti-bullying programs.
Levine also said threatening exchanges, such as the ones between Trump and Biden, don't help the efforts of organizations such as his, which counsels parents, teachers and children on how to address bullying.
"When you have leaders of the country going at it like that, (when) they're supposed to be the mentors for the youth of the country, it's a negative thing. It's not positive," Levine said.
"Kids read about it or hear about it from their parents. ... It has negative effects on children. Some of them may take it to the next step. They may think if they got away with it, I can get away with it."
The Trump-Biden spat also occurs as Melania Trump faces criticism for making the fight against cyberbullying one of her key objectives — at the same time that her husband is accused of regularly bullying his critics and opponents with his comments on Twitter.
"Two days ago, Melania Trump launched her cyber bullying campaign, and this morning, her husband cyber bullied Joe Biden," Twitter user Roland Scahill wrote.
Follow Dwight Adams on Twitter: @hdwightadams