May 24, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trumpworld's plan to brand Biden

Trump and Biden
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, Mandel Ngan/AFP

Trump's advisers relish the contrast between his public appearances and Joe Biden's lack thereof. The former vice president, following the guidance of public experts, has eschewed public events and stayed home for months now. Trump, meanwhile, is out and about — masks be damned.

What we're hearing: Watch for plenty more mask-free outings from Trump, hyping the reopening of the economy and avoiding discussions of social distancing and death counts.

  • And watch for a visual contrast between the two party conventions in August. Two sources close to the president said they hope to have a boisterous, live crowd.
  • They want to have more people there physically than at the Democratic convention the week earlier, which will likely involve significant virtual elements.

Go deeper: The Wall Street Journal's Ken Thomas and Michael Bender have a detailed piece on this theme.

  • The key point: Team Trump and Team Biden are making vastly different bets on where the electorate will be in November.
  • While most Americans tell pollsters they're nervous about reopening too quickly, Trump is betting that economic concerns will overtake health concerns by late summer.
  • Biden, who leads Trump in national and key swing state polls, has said the economy won't come back until people feel safe. He's prioritized public health recommendations and followed his state's stay-at-home order, doing media hits from his home in Wilmington, Delaware.

The bottom line: As Thomas and Bender write, "The danger for the president's strategy is the potential for a national relapse: the economy would suffer another blow if states reopen too quickly and trigger a jump in cases and deaths."

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