The Biden campaign is ramping up its offensive against former President Trump, targeting the front-runner for the 2024 Republican nomination as a rematch between Trump and President Biden appears increasingly likely.
The campaign spent this week unloading on Trump, rolling out daily memos that outlined what a second Trump term would mean for abortion rights, the economy and immigration. Biden aides responded specifically to incendiary comments from the former president likening his political enemies to “vermin.”
The direct attacks come as several polls have shown the former president leading Biden in both key battleground states and at the national level.
For some Biden allies, the move is overdue.
Former Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), in a recent appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” argued the Biden team needs to “start focusing on the binary choice between somebody who would be a danger to our democracy and the world, and somebody who’s going to surround himself with strong, competent people and run a competent government.”
The past week saw the Biden team go on offense against Trump aggressively, releasing a steady stream of memos titled “Trump’s America in 2025” aiming to highlight the stakes in the next election.
One such release argued a second Trump White House term would lead to a national abortion ban. Another highlighted Trump’s reported support for ending birthright citizenship. Other memos warned that, if reelected, Trump would pose a grave threat to U.S. democracy, implement “large-scale detention camps” for undocumented immigrants and separate immigrant families, as he did at the southern border in his first term.
Each of the memos cited media reporting about Trump’s plans for a second term based on the work of allies and outside conservative groups, as well as the former president’s own words.
The campaign seized on comments from Veterans Day in which Trump vowed to supporters that he would “root out … the radical-left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country,” likening it to the kind of language used by dictators such as Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.
“Four more years of Donald Trump would destroy everything we stand for as Americans,” Biden campaign spokesperson Ammar Moussa said in a statement. “Voters stood up to protect democracy in 2020, they did it again in 2022 as MAGA extremists continued to embrace Trump’s dangerous ideas — and they’ll do it again next November.”
President Biden was similarly confrontational toward Trump this week.
Biden has typically been reluctant to go after his predecessor by name, frequently taking thinly veiled swipes at Trump. But that was not the case Tuesday at a campaign fundraiser in San Francisco, where Biden mentioned Trump’s name 21 times, according to a White House transcript.
“The only reason there is an abortion ban in America is because of Donald Trump,” Biden said at the fundraiser. “The only reason teenagers in Ohio are being forced to travel out of state to get their health care is because of Donald Trump. The only reason a fundamental right has been stripped away from the American people for the first time in American history is because of Donald Trump.”
Trump dominates in Republican presidential primary polls, cementing his status as the front-runner for the GOP nomination. He leads in national polls by an average of nearly 60 percentage points and by more than 20 percentage points in most state-level polls, including a CNN poll of New Hampshire voters released this week, where he led his next closest rival by 22 points.
A slew of recent general election polls have shown Trump leading Biden in a hypothetical 2024 rematch, but some of those surveys have underscored how Biden may be able to win over enough voters who are either undecided or not sold on Trump.
A Yahoo News/YouGov poll released this week found Trump has a slight edge over the sitting president in a hypothetical rematch, leading Biden 44 percent to 42 percent. That poll also found 9 percent of respondents were unsure of who they would vote for, and another 5 percent said they were not planning to vote.
A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday showed Trump with 48 percent support compared to 46 percent for Biden. The poll found that more than half of voters, 52 percent, said they would like to see other candidates throw their hats in the ring for the 2024 presidential race.
Earlier this month, a New York Times poll found Trump leading Biden in several key battleground states, while a CNN poll found Trump leading Biden in a national poll 49-45.
But Biden allies believe that with roughly a year until Election Day, and with Trump not yet officially the GOP’s nominee, there is plenty of time to remind the electorate about the former president’s policy proposals and fitness for the job.
Once Trump is clearly the nominee, they argue, he will be subject to the kind of daily scrutiny Biden faces, and voters will be reminded of the choice they face next November.
“Trump means right-wing extremism, everyday chaos, criminal behavior, fundamental freedoms stripped away, and a rejection of democratic norms,” Jim Messina, who served as former President Obama’s campaign manager, wrote in a Politico op-ed. “While some will argue that Trump is already defined in voters’ minds, many Americans still aren’t paying close attention to the election.”