As former President Donald Trump faces arraignment in a Manhattan court Tuesday over alleged hush money payments to a porn star, President Biden’s top advisers appear to be cheering him on in the Republican presidential primary.
Biden’s advisers view Trump as the most beatable GOP nominee and are increasingly confident that he will win the 2024 Republican nomination, Politico reported Tuesday. Four anonymous Biden aides, who were not authorized to publicly discuss private conversations with the outlet, pointed to Trump’s surge in the polls following his indictment by a grand jury. The former president faces unprecedented criminal charges stemming from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s investigation into payments he made to Stormy Daniels in 2016.
Trump has used the indictment to galvanize his base, claiming political persecution at Bragg’s hands. The vast majority of elected Republicans, even declared and expected candidates in the 2024 GOP primary, have issued statements condemning Bragg’s actions.
In such an environment, those close to Biden have good reasons to believe that the president will face Trump again in a rematch, should he follow through with plans to run for reelection. And they think Biden will win.
Advisers close to President Biden reportedly expressed confidence that Donald Trump will be the 2024 GOP nominee following his indictment by a Manhattan grand jury. (Christopher Mark Juhn/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
“First and foremost, Biden world points to the 2020 election as the top reason for confidence in a potential rematch: We beat Trump once, they say, and will again,” Politico’s Jonathan Lemire and Holly Otterbein report.
The key to Trump’s success in 2016 was convincing swing voters in key battleground states to take a chance on a billionaire businessman and outsider who campaigned as a disruptive force against the quintessential establishment candidate Hillary Clinton.
But when 2020 came around Trump had a political record. Biden advisers think that the swing voters Trump lost because of his erratic behavior and handling of the COVID-19 pandemic are not coming back.
“They have a difficult time imagining that a voter who went for Trump in 2016, but then ran away from him in 2020, would return to cast their ballot for the former president after the Jan. 6 insurrection, several criminal investigations and years of election denialism,” Politico reported.
Biden aides told Politico that former President Donald Trump (left) will have a difficult time winning back swing voters who went for Biden in 2020 after his criminal indictment and behavior since leaving office. (Getty Images)
“What possibly would you like about what Trump has done since Election Day 2020?” said one Biden aide.
Though Biden’s advisers acknowledged concerns over his age — he’ll be 82 if he wins re-election in 2024 — and the possibility of an economic recession, they reportedly remain confident that the president’s record on job growth, the pandemic, and his support for Ukraine against Russia’s invasion will resonate better with voters than Trump’s false claims of a stolen 2020 election and his complaints about his various legal woes.
“THE RADICAL LEFT DEMOCRATS HAVE CRIMINALIZED THE JUSTICE SYSTEM,” Trump posted on Truth Social Tuesday, hours before his arraignment in a New York City court.
A grand jury voted to indict Trump last week following a years-long investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. Trump is the first current or former U.S. president to face criminal charges.
Former President Donald Trump arrives ahead of his arraignment at the Manhattan Federal Court in New York City on April 4, 2023. (BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP via Getty Images)
The charges concern a $130,000 payment made to Daniels and a $150,000 payment made to former Playboy model Karen McDougal in 2016. Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen plead guilty to arranging those payments. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
While Biden’s advisers may view Trump as a known quantity and too damaged to win another national election, other Democrats are not so confident.
“Trump is a tremendously flawed candidate who has hurt his party in every election since 2016, but it’s impossible to say that he is the weakest because none of these other Republicans have been on the national stage before,” said Dan Pfeiffer, a former adviser to President Barack Obama. “Given the Republican bias in the Electoral College — any Republican, including Trump, could win the election.”
“Last time people were rooting for Donald Trump, he ended up president of the United States,” Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., told Politico. “We’ve seen this story before.”