July 14, 2024

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Biden campaign tests waters on Trump’s financial woes

4 min read

President Biden’s reelection campaign has grown more aggressive in its mocking of former President Trump’s financial situation, even in light of millions of dollars in legal penalties Trump owes. 

Biden’s team took no mercy on Trump last week when they lobbed attacks on his war chest after his campaign finance numbers showed him lagging. Biden has also joked during campaign receptions, in which he’s referred to Trump as a “defeated man” being crushed by debt.

But on Monday, the campaign took a rare shot at Trump in the midst of a dueling day of court fights in which he addressed matters at the heart of his New York fraud case. That included boasting about the values of some of his most famous properties and Trump indicating he would put up the $175 million trimmed down judgment now due after his lawyers exposed his financial limitations in court documents.

In a statement the Biden team noted was in direct response to Trump’s press conference, which centered on legal financial matters, Biden campaign spokesperson James Singer called Trump “weak and desperate.”

“Donald Trump is weak and desperate — both as a man and a candidate for President,” Singer said. “He spent the weekend golfing, the morning comparing himself to Jesus, and the afternoon lying about having money he definitely doesn’t have,” Singer said.

The White House has notoriously tried to stay away from addressing Trump’s legal troubles. But in going after Trump’s personal finances, some of which are at the heart of high stakes legal battles, Biden’s campaign appears to be testing those waters, which some strategists see as a good thing.

“Trump is nothing without his brand, and that includes how he portrays his purported wealth. The campaign is reminding voters that it’s a facade, and that he is actually having a hard time with money: He owes a ton of money in a fraud case, and he’s struggling to raise money from the donors paying his legal bills,” said Alexandra LaManna, a former Biden White House spokesperson.

The White House cites its lack of response to Trump’s legal cases, two of which are federal criminal cases that stem from the Justice Department, to its ongoing effort to ensure the independence of the DOJ, consistent with Biden’s pledge to restore confidence in the agency.

The campaign, meanwhile, dropped its statement Monday right after Trump wrapped up a press conference at his 40 Wall Street building in New York, during which he suggested a conviction in the hush money case he was in court for earlier that morning could actually make him more popular. He also claimed again, without evidence, that Biden was responsible for his legal problems, even those brought at the state level, proclaiming: “It’s a Biden trial. There is no trial.”

Last week as the latest campaign finance reports surfaced, the Biden team dubbed Trump “Broke Don,” to highlight the former president’s lagging fundraising numbers in the 2024 race. 

Trump’s 2024 campaign brought in $10.9 million last month, while his joint fundraising committee raised nearly $11 million. The campaign has about $42 million in cash on hand while Biden’s campaign operation raised roughly $53 million in February, for a total of $155 million in cash on hand entering March.

In its statement right after Trump’s Monday press conference, Biden’s campaign sought to cast Trump as “uninterested” in campaigning outside of his Mar-a-Lago Florida club.

“His campaign can’t raise money, he is uninterested in campaigning outside his country club, and every time he opens his mouth, he pushes moderate and suburban voters away with his dangerous agenda,” Singer said.

“America deserves better than a feeble, confused, and tired Donald Trump,” he added.

Jim Kessler, executive vice president for policy at the left-leaning think tank Third Way, argued that statements like those put out by the Biden campaign Monday serve as reminders to the American public.

“Memories are short. The Biden team needs to remind voters of the chaos they left behind when Donald Trump finally left the White House. That includes highlighting Trump’s crazy comments, putting January 6th back in voters’ minds, and capitalizing on the legal whirlwind surrounding Trump,” Kessler said.

The campaign has similarly mocked Trump, like When Trump dropped a $399 sneaker, communications director Michael Tyler said, “Donald Trump showing up to hawk bootleg off-whites is the closest he’ll get to any Air Force Ones ever again for the rest of his life.” After Super Tuesday, they said Trump “limps into the general election as a wounded, dangerous and unpopular candidate.”

“When voters chose Biden in 2020, part of the reason was that they were fatigued by the drama of the Trump Administration. That is largely forgotten for a lot of voters. The Biden team is simply using the news of the day to remind them of what they tossed aside nearly four years ago,” he added.

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