HomePoliticsBiden hits Trump over the 'Unified Reich' video, but remains silent during...

Biden hits Trump over the ‘Unified Reich’ video, but remains silent during the lawsuit

BOSTON— Donald TrumpThe trial over alleged hush money payments to a porn star has been a tantalizing piece of political fodder for weeks Joe Biden has refused to touch.

With the former president days away from a potentially election-altering ruling as his trial moves into closing arguments, Biden once again fell silent. But this time he had to pull a different lever.

At a pair of fundraisers in Boston on Tuesday, Biden railed against Trump after the Republican campaign shared and later deleted a video that included a phrase — “united Empire” — that nodded to Nazi Germany.

“It’s not the first time Trump has gone down this path,” Biden said at his final event of the evening, a fundraiser with more than 300 people in Boston’s Seaport district. “Folks, it couldn’t be clearer. The threat Trump poses is greater the second time than the first time.”

It was a sharp attack from the president that exposed what he sees as a major vulnerability for his opponent in the general election: that he and his team pose a threat to democratic governance.

It also showed, to some extent, the lines that Biden is still unwilling to cross. Trump’s call for a united Empire is a bull’s-eye, while his criminal problems are better left to others. And some of Biden’s fellow Democrats say they’re fine with that choice.

“I just don’t think Joe Biden needs to get into a discussion about Donald Trump’s legal troubles,” said Jim Demers, a longtime Democratic activist from New Hampshire who helped run a letter-writing campaign on Biden’s behalf earlier this year during the state presidential primaries. year.

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“Joe Biden needs to keep doing what he’s doing, which is running for re-election and focusing on what’s important to the American people and the issues he’s worked so hard for,” Demers said. “Building our economy, working on environmental issues, veterans issues like today – that’s what people need to hear, instead of Donald Trump worrying about a judge who thinks he’s being unfair to him.”

Not every Democrat believes Demers’ logic. Others in the party have urged Biden’s team to respond to Trump’s legal troubles, viewing them as further evidence that he is unfit for office. But other than a few quick comments about “stormy weather” and “being free on Wednesdays” — when the trial hasn’t taken place regularly — Biden has avoided this.

That approach has come from the top, with Biden ordering his team to remain largely silent on Trump’s criminal trials, aides said.

In response, the Trump campaign said Biden “is the real threat to democracy with his weaponization of our justice system, his wide-open border invasion and his weak foreign policy that is leading our country straight into World War III.”

Biden took office wanting to re-establish the clear line between the White House and the Justice Department, a line that he said had become blurred under Trump. He told aides not to discuss criminal cases publicly, especially those involving his predecessor, for fear of being accused of trying to influence the proceedings. Some of his aides also believe that there was no need for the president to expand the criminal trial, which was already receiving excessive media attention even if it has not yet noticeably changed the contours of the campaign.

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The president, his aides said, also recognized that his son Hunter was in legal jeopardy and did not want to be seen as interfering in that matter.

Polls show that a conviction of Trump could benefit Biden. An ABC/Ipsos national survey conducted shortly after the former president’s trial began in late April found that a fifth of Trump’s supporters would reconsider or drop their support if he is convicted of a crime.

New polling in the swing state of New Hampshire, first shared with POLITICO, shows similar results. In the UMass Lowell/YouGov survey of 600 likely voters in New Hampshire, 23 percent of respondents said they would be “less likely” to vote for Trump if he is convicted of a crime that includes prison time before the election, compared with 14 percent saying it would be “more likely” to choose his name on a ballot. The online survey, conducted from May 6 to 14, has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.24 percentage points.

The fact that Trump is on trial for allegedly conspiring to cover up a hush money payment to a porn star “demeans his presidency,” said Rep. Annie Kuster (D-N.H.), who helped introduce Biden at an event at the White House in Nashua on Tuesday . “The voters are certainly aware of it and are shocked.”

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But, she told POLITICO after the event, “President Biden has to stay up there.”

Biden appeared to take that advice to heart as he campaigned in New England on Tuesday. The president ignored his predecessor during his official stops in New Hampshire, where he met privately with veterans and spoke publicly about the ways his administration has expanded benefits to them.

Later, at a series of fundraisers in Boston, he attacked Trump about seemingly everything But his lawsuit – his support for abortion restrictions and the fossil fuel industry, and his comments about a “bloodbath” if he loses again.

Trump is “obsessed with losing in 2020, he is clearly unhinged. Just listen to him, he wants to be a dictator on day one,” Biden said at his latest event. “Well, I’ll say what he can’t: There is no place for violence in American politics. No.”

But the new focus was on the Reichsvideo. The president discussed it during multiple stops Tuesday, calling it un-American and making a 13-second direct-to-camera video expressing his displeasure. In a sign that they see it as a golden opportunity, the campaign has also launched a fundraising appeal around the video – something it had not done in relation to the criminal trial.

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