Tue. Apr 23rd, 2024

How Joe Biden talks about the Trump criminal cases without talking about them

By 37ci3 Mar23,2024

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s instructions to his campaign team are simple enough: Don’t talk about Donald Trump’s four criminal cases, people familiar with his campaign strategy said.

The president’s advisers and allies said that Trump is in enough trouble if Biden does not interfere in his opponent’s legal problems for political gain.

“Every day he [Trump] is in court, he’s reminding the American people that he’s dangerous, he’s reckless, and he’s trying to overturn the election,” a person close to the Biden campaign said on condition of anonymity to discuss the campaign’s perspective.

But with Trump’s first criminal trial expected to begin in April and other cases pending, Biden is looking for ways to make light of his opponent’s predicament without looking at specific cases. Instead, he focuses on the underlying behavior that led to some of the criminal charges Trump faces while avoiding any mention of judges, prosecutors, courtrooms or potential penalties.

Trump’s status as both an impeachment and the presumptive Republican nominee presents a different dilemma for Biden. Campaigns are built for one purpose – to win – and a proven way to win is to exploit your opponent’s weaknesses. If he is convicted in the Manhattan hush money case this spring, Trump could enter the campaign trail as a convicted felon — a vulnerability without parallel in American politics. (Trump pleaded not guilty in this case, as in other criminal proceedings.)

By saying nothing, Biden is not helping his cause. At every turn, Trump tells voters he’s on target unjust persecution he intended to cancel his candidacy. He constantly names Biden and the Democrats as the puppets behind the accusations.

Independent voters are the decisive constituency in the election. Recently Politico Magazine/Ipsos the poll shows a slight majority of independents believe Trump is guilty of all four criminal charges he faces. If Trump’s allegations of election meddling go unanswered, he may be able to make headway against some of these voters by convincing them that the charges are unfounded.

For this reason, a strict silence may not be appropriate for Biden.

Instead of addressing the issue outright, Biden is inviting voters to wonder why Trump is in such legal jeopardy. Biden’s first campaign speech 2024 shows the message he is trying to convey and the balance he wants to strike. At no point did he mention any of Trump’s accusations. But his description maps Trump’s actions the language of the indictment special prosecutor Jack Smith filed charges against Trump last August for trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Like Smith, Biden told the audience that Trump was spreading a “lie” that he won an election he lost. According to the indictment, Biden described how Trump failed in his attempts to change the result through recounts, audits and legal challenges. As the indictment accuses Trump of attacking the Capitol on January 6, 2021 and disrupting the peaceful transfer of power, Biden blamed Trump for calling his supporters to Washington that day.

Biden continued this line of attack. In his State of the Union address on March 7, he repeatedly mentioned the January 6 riot and claimed that Trump was trying to “suppress the truth” about it.

Speaking at a campaign event in Dallas this week, Biden brought up the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol that echoed Smith’s accusation.

“Trump has finished his presidency By sending riot squads to the Capitol,” Biden said. Smith’s indictment alleges that Trump and his co-conspirators “directed” supporters to the Capitol to block the confirmation of Biden’s victory.

At the same time, Biden freely and boldly addresses the civil case that underpins Trump’s persona as a wealthy, successful businessman. It was Trump can’t get a bond To pay a $464 million judgment against him and co-defendants in a case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Biden repeated the joke at a campaign party in Houston on Thursday, drawing laughter from his audience. Biden said a “defeated” looking man came to see him and complained that he was “crushed with debt” and “completely destroyed.”

“I had to say, ‘I’m sorry, Donald, I can’t help you,'” Biden said.

Civil cases are absolutely fair game for the Biden campaign, said Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., a Biden ally.

“Civil cases brought by government agencies or individuals have nothing to do with crime,” the congressman said.

Democratic circles are divided on whether Biden should discuss Trump’s criminal cases at all. In a typical campaign, candidates usually try to exploit any weaknesses the opponent discovers. But Biden, as head of the executive branch, risks a serious blow if he gives the impression that he is manipulating the Justice Department’s investigation into Trump.

Biden “shouldn’t say anything that would make anyone think he’s thumbing the scale with an independent Justice Department,” Swalwell said.

“There’s a saying in politics, ‘Don’t throw out a life jacket,'” said Jim Messina, who managed then-President Barack Obama’s successful 2012 re-election campaign. “The Biden campaign and the White House don’t need to deal with this.”

Other Democrats see it differently. Trump’s legal woes reflect the upheaval he will bring to the White House if elected in November, and Biden needs to address that point, said Democratic strategist Zac Petkanas.

“Do you want a president under federal indictment, or do you want one focused on reducing prescription drug costs for seniors?” Petkanas said. “It will be a choice and no one – the campaign or their allies – should be afraid to speak up about it.”

Whatever Biden chooses to say about Trump, his team and foreign allies are convinced the court cases create a useful split screen. The president’s allies say that while Trump sits at the ally table in court, Biden will campaign in swing states and remind voters of how he has worked to cap the cost of insulin and lower the unemployment rate.

“You’re going to have very active events in all of President Biden’s swing states,” Democratic strategist Maria Cardona said. “That contradiction is the split screen of President Biden doing what he’s doing and Donald Trump trying to fight all these criminal trials.”

“It’s going to work very well going into the general election,” Cardona said.

Cable news networks are forced to provide comprehensive coverage of Trump’s legal trials, complicating Biden’s efforts to get his message across. The big money advantage the Biden team enjoys could make things easier.

Biden is opening dozens of new campaign offices and hiring hundreds of new staffers in battleground states, making it possible to reach more voters directly.

A Biden campaign official told NBC News that as Trump’s court appearances mount, the president’s team plans to mount a counterprogram, relying more on local news and social media to stop the campaign.

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By 37ci3

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