Mar 5, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Biden's new strategy: Go for Trump's jugular

President Biden walks off Air Force One at Los Angeles International Airport last month. Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

President Biden is privately pushing for a much more aggressive approach to 2024: Go for Donald Trump's jugular.

Why it matters: Biden is convinced he'll rattle Trump if he taunts him daily.

Biden has told friends he thinks Trump is wobbly, both intellectually and emotionally, and will explode if Biden mercilessly gigs and goads him — "go haywire in public," as one adviser put it.

  • Other sources tell us that Biden is looking for a fight.
  • Biden's instincts tell him to let it fly when warning about the consequences of Trump winning the presidency again. Biden told The New Yorker that Trump would refuse to admit losing, again.

Between the lines: The "trigger Trump" approach would be a departure from a traditional Rose Garden re-election campaign.

  • Instead of focusing on jobs and the economy areas in which polls suggest Americans aren't giving Biden much credit — Biden would be making the contest as much about Trump as his own accomplishments.
  • One potential upside: It would help assuage concerns about Biden's age by showing that at 81, he can still throw a Scranton punch.

Flashback: Some Democrats want to see a return of the Joe Biden who sliced and diced his 2012 opponent, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), in the 2012 vice presidential debate.

Driving the news: It's unclear whether Biden will flash his new fighting spirit at the State of the Union address on Thursday.

"I'm the only one who has ever beat him," Biden said in the rare, lengthy interview with The New Yorker, published Monday, "And I'll beat him again."

  • "Trump lost 60 court cases — 60," Biden said, referring to the legal challenges on Trump's behalf that alleged fraud in the 2020 election (It was 63, actually).
  • "The legal path just took him back to the truth — that I won the election, and he was a loser."

Zoom out: In a speech at Valley Forge, Pa., before the third anniversary of the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol ("Defending the Sacred Cause of American Democracy"), Biden attacked Trump in terms that were clearly personal — and nearly profane.

  • He suggested Trump was a "sick [blank]" before catching himself.

In an interview on "Late Night with Seth Meyers" last week, Biden parried a question about his age with a shot at Trump.

  • Biden said that at least he knows his wife's name — unlike "the other guy."

Zoom in: Biden advisers have some evidence that Biden is already getting under Trump's skin.

  • After Biden's appearance with Seth Meyers, Trump quickly complained about the show on social media, calling the president a "basket case."
  • Biden is using his campaign's new TikTok account to take more jabs at his Republican rival. "Trump has no courage," Biden said recently. "All Trump does is bow down to Putin."
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