Trump, Biden no longer shy about expelling ‘former man’

WASHINGTON (AP) — A month into his presidency, Joe Biden made clear his distaste for naming the man he’d kicked out of the Oval Office, declaring, “I don’t care about Trump.” I’m tired of talking.”

“The next four years, I want to make sure all the news is the American people,” he said at the CNN town hall.

But now, Biden is eagerly naming in and out The former “former man” lashed out at Donald Trump in prepared remarks and on social media in a way that Biden and White House aides didn’t do during the first 18 months of his term.

Speaking virtually to a group of black law enforcement officers last week, Biden accused the former president of promoting “medieval hell.” to the police officers who stopped the rioters on January 6, saying that “Donald Trump lacked the courage to act.”

Biden’s Twitter feed repeated those words – a scathing sight for a White House that has tried to remove any reference to the former president and his name in particular.

And when Biden emerged after isolation A battle with COVID-19, he apparently noted he could continue to work from the White House residence, while Trump had to be taken to hospital To treat after his own diagnosis, at a time when vaccines were not available and the then President took a bold approach to mitigation measures.

For some Democrats, Biden’s desire to engage directly with Trump was overdue.

“It’s like Lord Voldemort, right? You have to name him and show that you’re not afraid of him,” said Representative Jamal Bowman, D.N.Y. “It’s good to see the president naming Donald Trump, as we all should.”

Biden’s increasingly belligerent posture comes as a stream of revelations about Trump and his conduct during the Capitol riots on January 6, 2021, and amid growing speculation that Republicans will launch a comeback bid this fall,

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Despite Biden’s sinking approval ratingEven among members of his own party, he still consolidates the vast majority of Democratic voters behind him when presented as the party’s choice against Trump in a fictional 2024 campaign.

The first major attempt to zero in on Trump from Biden came on January 6, 2022, when he delivered a speech marking the one-year anniversary of the riots., Biden has denounced his predecessor for placing “daggers in the neck of democracy” for repeatedly spreading the blatant lies that Trump didn’t lose in 2020.

But even so, Biden declined to call Trump by name, inviting questions about why.

“I didn’t want to turn this into a contemporary political battle between me and the president,” Biden explained after his remarks at the Capitol. “It’s far beyond that.”

Other Democrats say Biden, who campaigned to unify the partisan country, was right to take the spotlight away from Trump when Democrats took control of Washington for the first time in a decade and launched an ambitious agenda. were ready to adopt. And move on from the chaotic Trump years.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn, said he also struggled with how much to focus on the former president after Trump left office.

“I think a lot of us hoped that he would leave and if we stopped talking about him, everyone else would stop talking about him,” he said. “But that’s not how it turned out. He’s running for president and he still runs the Republican Party, and I don’t think we can be any different.

Last week, Biden left no doubt that he was ready – perhaps even eager – to directly challenge Trump in a way he had not previously.

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in pre-recorded comments At the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives’ annual convention, Biden made repeated references to the “defeated” former president, who worked hours to protect the Capitol as law enforcement officers, as lawmakers attest to Biden’s victory. met to do.

“The police were the hero that day. Donald Trump lacked the courage to act,” Biden said in his remarks. “Never forget the brave women and men in blue throughout this country.”

Biden’s Twitter feed amplified those words and promoted repeated references to Trump. A tweet a day later noted that the “former president” opposes limiting “military-style weapons,” which Biden says needed to be banned.

Biden released from isolation on Wednesday And his celebratory remarks in the Rose Garden gave him another chance to invoke Trump and their differences on a different issue.,

“When my predecessor got COVID, he had to fly by helicopter to Walter Reed Medical Center. He was seriously ill. Thankfully, he recovered,” Biden said. “When I got COVID, I worked from above the White House.” Biden emphasized that vaccines, home tests and anti-viral treatments were readily available to the American public during his recovery.

White House aides believe those two subjects – law and order, and managing the pandemic – are among the areas where Biden can draw the strongest contrast with the previous administration. Biden himself has made no secret that he is hungry to run against Trump again, recently telling an Israeli television station that he “won’t be disappointed” about a potential rematch.

As for the former president, Biden’s tweets and comments have not surfaced in recent conversations between Trump advisers, according to two people who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private debate.

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“Joe Biden and the Democrats are destroying America, just as President Trump predicted,” Trump spokesman Taylor Budovich said. “From recessions at home to wars abroad, there is nothing Joe Biden can say that will distract from the suffering he has inflicted on the American people. His intern should stop writing lame tweets and start writing resignation letters.”

Biden’s new, more confrontational stance is another way the White House has tried to draw a stark contrast with Republicans ahead of November’s elections as Democrats grapple with the traditional headwinds faced by the current party and voter discontent over inflation. are. and the general direction of the country.

Republicans are skeptical the strategy will work, even as Trump formally announces a 2024 bid ahead of the fall vote. He also worries that his candidacy could divert attention from the GOP’s effort to make the election a referendum on the leadership of Washington’s Democrats.

“I get it. If I was going to be held responsible for 9.1% inflation and a faltering economy and disorganization of the southern border, I would probably try to change the subject as well,” said Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, number one in the Senate. 2 Republicans said.

Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, said Biden’s largely-tempered public persona and his careful tendencies make him appeal to a broader set of voters.

“But I think he’s coming to the same conclusion that much of the country has come to what the former president had attempted,” Schatz said. “Although President Biden tries to avoid inflammatory rhetoric, I think he has found there is no other way to say it.”

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Associated Press writer Jill Colvin in New York contributed to this report.

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