‘Stupid person’: Trump comes out swinging on Biden’s home turf ahead of Pennsylvania primary

SCHNECKSVILLE, Pennsylvania — Former President Donald Trump wasted no time in launching attacks against President Joe Biden during a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, a crucial battleground state that Biden claims as his home turf and has emerged as a center focus of the 2024 election. 

Shortly after taking the stage at the Schnecksville Fire Hall in Lehigh County on Saturday evening, Trump quickly began lobbying attacks against Biden on a number of platforms, such as the economy and immigration. However, the former president began by targeting the president over his handling of issues overseas, particularly pointing to the Iranian attack on Israel that occurred just hours before Trump took the stage. 

Former President Donald Trump greets attendees during a campaign event in Schnecksville, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, April 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Joe Lamberti)

Trump argued the attack on Israel by the Hamas militant group, as well as the Russian invasion of Ukraine, would not have occurred if Biden was not elected, prompting the crowd to chant “Genocide Joe!” 

“The weakness we’ve shown, it’s unbelievable, and it would not have happened if we were in office,” Trump said.

The former president attacked Biden on a slew of other areas, spending much of his time addressing the crisis at the southern border — a key campaign issue that Trump has focused on since his first presidential run in 2016. 

“We’re going to stop the invasion and Joe Biden’s illegal aliens back home,” Trump said. “We had the safest border, the most secure border in the history of our country, four years ago.”

Trump also acknowledged the looming threat of his own criminal charges, speaking just days before his first criminal trial is set to begin early next week. Jury selection is scheduled to begin on Monday for Trump’s hush money case, marking the first criminal trial of a former president in U.S. history.

Trump denounced the trial, accusing the Democratic Party of election interference by using the criminal cases against him months ahead of the election. 

“They could have done this case seven years ago. … This case would have been fine seven years ago, do whatever you want,” Trump said. “They do it right smack in the middle of our election campaign.”

The criminal trial on Monday is centered on allegations Trump orchestrated a “catch and kill” scheme during the 2016 presidential cycle to identify negative stories about him and pay large sums of money to bury them from public view.

In one instance, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen wired $130,000 to an attorney to be transferred to porn star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about an alleged sexual affair. Cohen later pleaded guilty to the illegal campaign contribution charge in 2018.

Instead, Trump argued Democrats are pushing for the trial now to boost Biden’s chances of being reelected. Trump then reiterated his challenge to debate Biden, claiming the president “can’t put two sentences together. He can’t find the stairs or a platform to walk off after he makes about a two-minute speech.” 

Trump’s visit to the state comes less than two weeks before Pennsylvania will hold its primary election on April 23. Pennsylvania has become a crucial battleground state for November after Trump won the state in 2016 before it flipped back to Biden in 2020. 

The increased focus on Pennsylvania sets the stage for what is likely to be a bitter election, which is already appearing to result in personal attacks between the two. Those attacks especially came into view during Trump’s rally, who decried Biden as a “stupid person.”

“I don’t get it because he can’t speak, he can’t walk,” Trump said.

Biden has also had his fair share of personal attacks against the former president, often calling Trump a “threat to democracy,” referring to his claims that the 2020 election was rigged in Biden’s favor.

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Biden defeated Trump by less than 2 percentage points in Pennsylvania in 2020, and recent polling indicates the state will once again be razor-thin come November. Biden is also expected to travel to the state next week, making stops in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. 

The state is also home of a crucial Senate race, which could determine which party will win the majority of the upper chamber next year. That race will be determined in the state’s primary later this month, although it is expected to be between incumbent Bob Casey (D-PA) and Republican candidate Dave McCormick, whom Trump endorsed during the Saturday rally. 

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