Trump avoids overshadowing Biden meltdown — but spotlight heading his way


President Joe Biden was elected in 2020 in part with a message of being the stable, reliable alternative to the chaos of former President Donald Trump. Lately, those roles have been reversed.

Trump has largely avoided the spotlight since the now-infamous June 27 presidential debate, letting his opponent soak up most of the media attention and criticism in Washington. The question now is how long he can, and should, try to keep it up.

Democrats are eager to make that shift and train their fire on Trump.

“We’ve got to stop talking about [Biden],” Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) complained to CNN last weekend. “We need to get back to talking about Donald Trump.”

But Trump, contrary to his typical style, has been happy to sit back and let team Biden absorb the pressure and the constant questions about Biden’s fitness for office.

With the debate now two weeks in the past, Trump has begun tentatively stepping back into the race in a more active way, appearing on Fox News for interviews and holding a Tuesday evening rally in Miami.

Biden’s campaign tried highlighting statements he made there to turn the tide, focusing in particular on Trump challenging Biden to a round of golf.

“Donald Trump hasn’t been seen in public for 12 days, now he’s inviting fictional serial killers to dinner, teasing lil’ Marco Rubio, praising Project 2025 architect Tom Homan, and challenging the President of the United States to golf,” Biden campaign spokesman James Singer said.

“We’d challenge Donald Trump to create jobs, but he lost 3 million,” Singer continued. “We’d challenge Donald Trump to stand up to Putin, but he bent the knee to him. We’d challenge Donald Trump to follow the law, but he breaks it. We’d challenge Donald Trump to not destroy our country, but that’s all his Project 2025 aims to do.”

It’s probably no coincidence that the statement mentions Project 2025, the Heritage Foundation’s 900-page policy mandate for a second Trump term, two different times. Democrats in recent days have worked to tie Trump to the proposal despite his claims to know nothing about it.

So far, the push seems to be paying limited dividends.

“Trump’s disavowal is a ridiculous lie, but I doubt most members of the public know anything about it,” Guardian columnist Margaret Sullivan lamented. “Nor do they likely know much – if anything – about Project 2025.”

Biden will again be under an intense microscope as he hosts a “big boy” press conference on Thursday as part of the NATO summit. Should he survive that, which is not guaranteed, Biden’s campaign may finally have a chance to spring pressure back on his opponent.

Trump will have another rally on Saturday in Pennsylvania, is expected to announce his vice presidential choice any day now, and will become the center of attention during next week’s Republican National Convention, during which thousands of delegates and reporters will descend on Milwaukee.

While Biden’s team may welcome any relief of pressure, the president is not content to fully cede the spotlight back to Trump, with Biden already announcing an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt that will air Monday night.

GOPers, on the other hand, appear happy with Trump’s uncharacteristically quiet ways since the debate.

“He’s been focused. He’s been on message. He’s been raising money,” New York GOP spokesman David Laska told the Washington Examiner. “He’s been doing the things necessary to run a successful presidential campaign. Meanwhile, senior Democrats are calling on their nominee to drop out.”

Democratic strategist Brad Bannon says Biden should keep talking next week — just about Trump rather than himself.

“The attention will be focused on Trump with his VP pick and the beginning of the RNC,” Bannon said. “Given those circumstances, the president has to be very active and aggressive, criticizing the pick for being a Trump toady and also talking about the convention itself.”


Bannon sees the RNC as a great chance for Biden to hit the reset button on his campaign, making it more about Trump vs. Biden rather than Biden vs. his own party.

“Looking at the polls, Trump is ahead, but Biden is definitely within striking distance both nationally and in the battleground states,” Bannon said. “Biden has to bring Trump’s vulnerabilities into the open again.”

Marisa Schultz contributed to this story

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