March 11, 2020
The president has settled on a schoolyard strategy to take out his likely general election opponent, Politico reports.
Indeed, President Donald Trump—for whom bullying is second nature and an oft-chosen first line of attack—stood before about 500 of the Republican Party’s biggest benefactors at his Mar-a-Lago resort on Friday, March 6, and raised a topic few in the audience expected (even of him): Joe Biden’s mental capacity.
Trump walked the donors through a list of Biden’s recent verbal stumbles, such as his recent declaration that he was running for Senate and his assertion that 150 million Americans had been killed by gun violence since 2007.
Then, he appeared to give donors permission to leak his remarks about Biden to the media. “I would hope you not repeat that,” Trump said sarcastically according to an attendee who spoke with Politico.
With Biden emerging as the likely Democratic frontrunner, Trump has launched an organized, near-daily campaign to stoke misgivings and misinformation about the former VP’s mental acuity. The president has been bolstered by a conservative echo chamber flooding social media with video clips highlighting Biden’s gaffes.
The effort provides a window into how Trump — who’s been dogged by questions about his own mental fitness — regularly picks apart his political opponents, Politico said, noting that the POTUS “has an unmatched ability to zero in on his foe’s biggest vulnerability or insecurity, and through sheer repetition, bake it into the public consciousness.”
Former Clinton advisers see a replay of that campaign, and warn that Biden needs to take the attacks seriously.
“He’s not responding to the threat strong enough, because it is absolutely a problem now and [is] going to be a problem” going forward, said Philippe Reines, a former top Hillary Clinton adviser who prepped her for the debates with Trump. “You have to defend yourself, because that stuff absolutely sticks.”
To date, Biden only has laughed off the attacks. During a recent appearance on Fox News Sunday, the former vice president was asked to respond to a clip of Trump saying that he would “be sitting in a home someplace” if elected.
Research contact: @politico