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National News

Trump Campaign to Treat Biden as 'Opposition' in Fight Against Coronavirus

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Trump Campaign to Treat Biden as 'Opposition' in Fight Against Coronavirus

2020-04-02 18:41:45

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Joe Biden (Image source: Screenshot)

It seems Donald Trump will be pulled in two directions with regard to former Vice President Joe Biden, who is expected to be his Democratic competition in the November presidential election. The president's reelection campaign is suggesting Biden be treated as the "opposition" against the coronavirus, yet Trump is also saying he will accept a phone call from Biden to discuss the response to the pandemic.

It's surprising at this point that the president is even entertaining a call from the former vice president. Throughout Trump's impeachment, he painted Biden and his son Hunter as the bad guys in the Ukraine drama, then continued to go after "Sleepy Joe" after the president was acquitted by the Senate.  

But the coronavirus pandemic changes everything. Both sides have put campaigning on hold. For one, they can't hold rallies, town halls, or debates, and for another, frankly, there's something much more important on the table.

The Trump campaign believes Trump should use the pandemic against Biden, who took on a commanding lead in the primaries over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) before everything was put on hold.  

In a call Wednesday with surrogates, a person who participated in the call said Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign's director of communications, said, "This is the bottom line: President Trump is leading the nation in his war against the coronavirus, and Joe Biden, the Democrats, and the media have decided to be the opposition in that war."

While Trump is appearing on TV screens nightly in a press briefing, not mentioning anything about his reelection bid, his campaign is very much still in it. 

Campaign manager Brad Parscale and senior adviser Lara Trump, the president's daughter-in-law, mentioned the increase in the number of people watching the news and urged the surrogates to capitalize on that attention he's receiving. This was mentioned not to boost his handling of the pandemic but as an attack on Biden.

"I know everyone is worried, making sure everyone thinks the president is doing a great job on this," Parscale said. But "we need to continue to pick up the pace" on the former vice president. 

"Because 84 percent of people are watching right now the press conferences, a large number of people watching news and your hits, this is an opportunity for you to really establish a narrative on Biden," he continued. "If all of you on the phone could really kind of double down on Biden during this and the contrast ... between how President Trump is handling this and how Biden is handling it."

Some of the surrogates on the call included YouTube celebrities Diamond and Silk, former Republican politician Ken Blackwell from Ohio, and multiple representatives from Women for Trump. 

When asked about the call, Murtaugh said the campaign wants supporters to show that Democrats "positioned themselves as the opposition."

Not that Biden is sitting doing nothing. He's been appearing on various shows and holding his own press briefings, all from his home in Delaware. A super PAC that is backing his campaign has been running ads that attack Trump. 

But while the Trump campaign is planning an attack on Biden, his campaign is reaching out to the president. His deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, said in a statement, "Our teams will be in touch, and we will arrange a call," regarding the best way to deal with the pandemic.

During a White House briefing, Trump said he would take a call from the former vice president. "Oh absolutely. I'd love to speak to him," he said. "I always found him to be a nice guy." 

That would probably be a surprise to most of his Twitter followers who have read his daily rants about "Sleepy Joe."

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