Updated May 28, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Biden campaign dispatches De Niro, Jan. 6 officers to N.Y. to blast Trump

US actor Robert De Niro speaks in support of US President Joe Biden outside of Manhattan Criminal Co

Actor Robert De Niro in New York City on May 28. Photo: Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden campaign enlisted Robert De Niro and two Jan. 6 police officers to draw a stark contrast with Donald Trump's campaign during a press conference outside the courtroom where the former president is listening to closing arguments in his historic criminal hush money trial.

Why it matters: Biden's team did not directly comment on the ongoing trial during the press conference, but it's still a significant moment for a campaign that has largely stayed away from Trump's criminal cases.

  • The Biden campaign sought to capitalize on the media presence outside the courthouse, highlighting the differences between President Biden and his GOP rival and warn that a second Trump term would be a threat to democracy.

Driving the news: "We're not here today because of what's going on over there," Biden's communication director Michael Tyler said. "We're here today because you all are here," he said, referring to reporters.

  • De Niro, who narrated a Biden ad out last week, said Tuesday that Trump wants to "destroy not only the city, but the country and eventually he could destroy the world."
  • "The only way to preserve our freedoms and hold on to our humanity is to vote for Joe Biden for president," De Niro said.

Zoom in: Michael Fanone and Harry Dunn, who were Capitol police officers during the Jan. 6 riot, described their personal account of the attack and warned of the dangers of a second Trump term.

  • "At the end of the day, this election is about Donald Trump and his vision for the office of the president of the United States, not as a public servant who answers to the elected, to the people who elected him, but as an authoritarian, who answers to and serves only himself," Fanone said.

The other side: The Trump campaign held a press conference on Tuesday after the Biden campaign.

  • Trump, who has denied wrongdoing in his New York case, has repeatedly said that he is the victim of politically motivated prosecutors.
  • "The Biden folks have finally done it," Jason Miller, a senior adviser to the campaign, said during the press conference.
  • "After months of saying that politics had nothing to do with this trial, they showed up and made a campaign event out of a lower Manhattan trial day for President Trump."

State of play: Trump's legal team began delivering closing arguments on Tuesday morning, with the prosecution expected to follow later today.

  • The trial is expected to be in the hands of the jury this week, with a verdict in the first ever criminal trial of a former president looming.
  • The Biden campaign has largely avoided commenting publicly on Trump's legal cases to avoid playing into the Trump campaign's false narrative that Biden is responsible for the charges.

What to watch: The Biden campaign is seeking to ensure that voters view the November election as a choice between Biden and Trump, not a referendum on his first-term policies.

  • "So we're talking about the choice that voters are gonna have in this election and the threat embodied by the man who is in that building right now," Tyler said.

Go deeper: Trump loyalists follow him from Mar-a-Lago to Manhattan during hush money trial

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details from the Trump campaign press conference.

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