A growing number of Democrats are worried that President Joe Biden is not doing enough to push back on former President Donald Trump as the latter continues to win plaudits and draw in more support following the release of his mugshot by Fulton County, Ga., late last month.
As noted by NBC News, the day after Trump was arrested and booked on charges he attempted to interfere in the outcome of Georgia’s 2020 election, the Biden campaign released a video in several battleground states, but it was about abortion.
“The president’s seeming disconnect from a major, consequential day in politics was as purposeful as it was predictable. It follows a long-held practice for Biden — one he adhered to after three previous indictments of the GOP front-runner: Stay quiet while Trump tries to convince Americans that Biden has abused the power of the presidency to sideline his likely 2024 election opponent,” the network reported.
However, it’s not solely a restrained approach to Trump’s legal issues, which Biden’s advisors assert is aimed at showcasing the independence of his Justice Department from the White House.
Biden has adopted an overarching strategy of restraint towards Trump, seldom mentioning his name and choosing not to retaliate when presented with the chance, the outlet noted further.
Biden’s most trusted political advisors made the determination that he would refrain from day-to-day political skirmishes until the upcoming spring, resembling the approach taken by former President Barack Obama during his 2012 re-election campaign.
This decision, however, allowed the former president to mount unreciprocated attacks for several months. It’s a political gamble that concerns some of Biden’s supporters, as it carries the risk of politically hazardous consequences, NBC News noted.
“What Trump has done is so egregious, so beyond the pale that I think we all have to take a very firm and aggressive and hostile stand against him,” former Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio told the outlet as he went on to claim that Trump and 18 others charged with him in Georgia “literally tried to end the United States as we know it.”
“There needs to be a unifying approach here,” Ryan added. “It’s natural the president would lead that.”
Chuck Rocha, a Democratic strategist who held a senior role in Senator Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign, was one of the Democrats who lauded Biden’s messaging strategy while also highlighting the inherent risk involved in the calculated approach.
“You need to be able to draw a distinct contrast, and they’re banking on Trump making his own contrast,” he said of Biden and his senior advisers.
NBC News added:
The president’s team has a plan for him to shift his messaging after Labor Day to make a more “direct contrast” with Trump, a Biden adviser told NBC News. Biden has often leaned in on the message of defending democracy — including in his re-election launch video, which opened with images from the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol but did not name Trump specifically. His first campaign focused on reclaiming the “soul of America.”
The effort comes as polls show Trump and Biden effectively tied in a hypothetical general election matchup, and after some Democrats, including former President Barack Obama, have cautioned Biden not to underestimate Trump’s political strengths.
Some Biden advisers have pushed back on worried Democrats.
“He’s being present this year. He’s talking about his accomplishments and his vision,” one of them told NBC News. “That’s the main focus.”
What is also shocking to Democrats is Trump’s staying power, so to speak. He has continued to rise in the polls and is now even with Biden in many of them. And his lock on the GOP nomination seems assured at this point.
A Sunday ABC News panel led by host and former Clinton White House spokesman George Stephanopoulos reacted to the “shocking” response to Trump’s mugshot.
During a discussion on Sunday’s “This Week” edition, Stephanopoulos and the panel responded to a Wall Street Journal survey that shows Trump dead even with President Joe Biden, each with 46 percent support.
“It is kind of shocking in a way that despite all of the baggage that Donald Trump carries, he’s tied with Joe Biden right now,” Stephanopoulos said.