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Biden leans into COVID-19 to argue Trump mishandled economy

JacksinPA

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Biden leans into COVID-19 to argue Trump mishandled economy | TheHill


Joe Biden is seeking to force President Trump to play defense on the one issue where he’s had a consistent polling advantage: the economy.

The Biden campaign is increasingly using the coronavirus pandemic to make the case that Trump has failed voters on economic issues.

In recent days, it has sought to connect COVID-19’s economic fallout, from record-high unemployment to the closures of businesses and schools, directly to Trump.

“We believed and continue to believe it’s a winning argument for our campaign,” Stef Feldman, Biden's policy director, said in an interview.

The effort was helped this week by the Watergate journalist Bob Woodward, who released audio of Trump interviews from earlier this year of Trump acknowledging he downplayed the pandemic’s severity to avoid panicking the country.

The story helped push Trump’s pandemic response to the center of the news cycle again, even as wildfires raged in the West.

Biden’s campaign wants voters to have the coronavirus on their minds when they vote in November because they think it sinks into so many issues that people care about.

“The virus isn’t just about health. It’s tied to every economic issue from unemployment to childcare and education,” another Biden ally close to the campaign explained. “When [Trump] says ‘The economy is great,’ we have to scream ‘No it certainly is not. Take a look around. It’s impacting every part of our lives.’”

In terms of electoral politics, it should mean one thing: “Checkmate,” the ally said.

Trump has made the economy central to his reelection campaign, saying it has reached historic heights under his administration. He has pressed voters to remember how strong the economy was before the coronavirus, which he has repeatedly blamed on China.

“We just broke a record on jobs, an all-time record,” he said during the Republican National Convention last month. “There’s never been three months when we’ve put more people to work. We’re just about ready to break the all-time stock market record.”

But in recent speeches and interviews, Biden has repeatedly referred to the pandemic to stress Trump’s lack of leadership on the economy, particularly in battleground states.

He blames Trump for not taking the initial outbreak seriously and then failing to take action as the disease spread from state-to-state without proper testing or medical supplies.

At the same time, the campaign also rolled out a $44 million ad buy in key battleground states to emphasize Trump’s inadequate response to the pandemic.

“To fix the economy, we need to get control over the virus,” Biden says in one spot.
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Biden has the common sense that Trump lacks.
 
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