WATERLOO — Joseph Biden rarely keeps his emotions to himself. Nonetheless, the president was silent when asked by reporters on Friday about the indictment of his predecessor.
“I don’t have anything to say about that,” Biden remarked. “No. I’m not going to discuss the Trump indictment “when asked again. “I have no opinion on Trump.” “He said it one last time.
The White House is avoiding Trump’s indictment by a Manhattan grand jury over hush-money payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels during the 2016 campaign. The White House thinks that the wisest tactic is to remain out of Donald Trump’s legal difficulties.
But when Biden publicly declares his 2024 reelection candidacy, which is widely anticipated to happen in the upcoming weeks or months, that calculation will be put to the test. Biden might make history as the first president to compete against a candidate who was under indictment, while Trump now enjoys the distinction of being the first former president to face a criminal indictment.
“It’s going to be difficult,” said Julian Zelizer, a history and public affairs professor at Princeton University. “I’m sure Trump will try to coax him into speaking. He’s not going to make it simple for you to keep quiet. Nonetheless, I believe Biden’s preference is to remain as far away from this as possible.”
Why is Biden remaining silent?
By refraining from mentioning Trump’s legal concerns, Biden is adhering to the customary White House policy of not intervening in ongoing investigations or influencing law enforcement, particularly within a state or local jurisdiction.
Trump, who is scheduled to appear in court in New York on Tuesday, faces many counts of fabricating company documents, including at least one felony crime, according to the Associated Press, citing two individuals familiar with the situation.
By not participating, Biden also avoids making statements that Republicans could exploit to buttress their claims of a politically biased justice system and a Trump “witch hunt.”
“He doesn’t want to give Republicans anything to work with,” said Todd Belt, professor, and political management program head at George Washington University. “They are hypersensitive to anything that appears to be the politicization of the court.”
Republicans unite behind Trump following his indictment
Trump immediately made the indictment a centerpiece of his 2024 presidential campaign, accusing Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg of “political persecution and election interference” and referencing it in many fundraising emails to contributors.
Republicans across the board, including possible GOP primary opponents, united behind Trump to condemn the “weaponization” of the government against the former president.
“The unprecedented indictment of a former President of the United States on a campaign finance issue is an atrocity,” former Vice President Mike Pence, who is considering a presidential run, said to the associated press.
If Biden maintains mute, Trump’s charges of a rigged court system, which are almost certain to intensify as we approach 2024, will go unchallenged by the presumptive Democratic standard-bearer.
“At some point, he’ll have to, within limits, deliver some strong statements that this is a legal process playing out, not a political process,” Zelizer said. “He’ll have to walk a fine line between disseminating that message and becoming the center of attention, especially when the campaign gets underway.”
The 2024 campaign could alter Biden’s calculations
With his loyal fans who might view him as a martyr, Trump’s indictment may help him further cement his position in the GOP race. Before the indictment, Trump continued to lead Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who was the next-closest candidate, in most surveys.
It might, however, strengthen Biden’s pitch for the general election. The contrast that Biden wants to draw between the instability of Trump and a White House that, in his view, has been restored to competence in 2024 is made clearer by the indictment of Trump.
Anthony Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, asserted that Biden would not remain silent and that he did not want to speak now since doing so would reveal his strategy to Republicans so close to the 2024 race.
Sabato claimed that Biden might link the indictment of Trump and any subsequent conviction to other dubious deeds by the former president, such as his attempts to rig the 2020 election. “The topic will be disrespect for the law. You can depict him in a horrifying light.”
Democrats do not, however, see a benefit to Biden discussing Trump’s indictment at this time.
Democratic campaign consultant Lis Smith said that while Joe Biden can contrast himself as a law-abiding president with Donald Trump, who was a president who generally upheld the law, at this point he does not need to use hyperbolic language. Joe Biden doesn’t need to run out in front of a train in this situation.
Is this just the beginning?
Of course, Biden may have to deal with allegations against Trump that are unrelated to his New York indictment if he wants to defeat the 2024 GOP front-runner.
A grand jury in Georgia is looking into the demands made by Trump to have his loss to Biden in the election annulled. Meanwhile, the Justice Department in Washington is looking into how Trump handled secret materials after leaving the White House and his attempts to rig the 2020 election.
According to Sabato, Democrats, and Biden can exploit Trump’s legal troubles against other Republicans who have a close political connection to the former president.
But this is not the proper time.
“You want to bring up the incident again. Trump should be used to identify them. It is also older than summer reruns if you start now “said he.
‘No. ‘I’m not going to discuss the Trump indictment,’ says Biden, refusing to comment on the hush money issue
Washington, DC – President Joe Biden is remaining mute on the indictment of former President Donald Trump by a New York grand jury.
As he departed the White House early Friday for a trip to Mississippi, reporters grilled Biden about the indictment.
“No. I’m not going to go into detail about Trump’s indictment “he explained.
“I have no comment on Trump,” Biden said again.”
Since the former president revealed two weeks ago that he anticipated facing criminal charges, Biden has said nothing publicly about Trump’s legal difficulties.
White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients notified Biden of the charge, which he learned about from news reports “just like every other American,” according to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who was flying with the president aboard Air Force One.
The indictment raises the possibility of a rematch between Biden and Trump in the 2024 presidential election. Trump has proclaimed his intention to run for a second term and has stated that he will not withdraw from the race even if he is indicted. Biden is also likely to run again but has yet to make an official announcement.
A New York grand jury has voted to arrest Trump on specific criminal charges, making him the first former president to face criminal charges, his lawyers announced Thursday.
The grand jury was looking into hush money payments to two women who claimed to have slept with him. The outline of those payments became known only after Trump was elected in 2016, and more specifics were exposed in sworn testimony during his presidency.
Trump’s attorney, Joseph Tacopina, said Trump would be arraigned in New York on Tuesday.