Former President Donald Trump is increasingly taking aim at his successor, President Joe Biden, with a series of blistering criticisms reminiscent of last year’s campaign as the 45th president teases another run.
Trump has issued a series of statements, his substitute for Twitter, from which he was banished over his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, challenging Biden’s policy decisions and circulating articles that are similarly critical of the White House’s new resident. He also appeared on Sean Hannity’s prime-time Fox News show on Monday night to take his case directly to the voters.
Many of Trump’s quarrels with Biden speak to his own legacy as president. “If Joe Biden wants to keep our Country safe from Radical Islamic Terrorism, he should reinstitute the foreign country Travel Ban and all of the vetting requirements on those seeking admission that go with it, along with the refugee restrictions I successfully put in place,” Trump said in a Monday statement. “Terrorists operate all over the world and recruit online. To keep terrorism and extremism out of our Country, we need to have smart, commonsense rules in place so we don’t repeat the many immigration mistakes made by Europe—and the USA prior to ‘Trump.'”
On Sunday, Trump hit Biden on using the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as his date for withdrawal from Afghanistan — a war Trump wanted to end and Biden now says he will.
Trump has also taken issue with the federal government pausing the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after a small number of patients who had received it suffered blood clots. The speed of the vaccine’s development amid bipartisan doubts is a top Trump administration accomplishment, while Biden owes his election, in large part, to the widespread public perception that his predecessor botched the federal response to the pandemic.
“While former President Trump is maintaining a laser-like focus on helping Republicans take back power in Washington and across the country in 2022, he is also keeping tabs on the follies of the Biden administration,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “And at a time when the country needs to vaccinate as many Americans as possible as quickly as possible, Trump is correct that the Biden administration’s decision to halt distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a self-defeating head-scratcher that will only lead to greater skepticism about COVID jabs among the general population.”
On Afghanistan, Trump insisted U.S. troops should be withdrawn earlier, as he intended, and pointed to his own large reduction in forces committed to the nearly 20-year conflict. “I planned to withdraw on May 1st, and we should keep as close to that schedule as possible,” he said.
Known for his marketing instincts, Trump also objected to the symbolism of the 9/11 date. “September 11th represents a very sad event and period for our Country and should remain a day of reflection and remembrance honoring those great souls we lost,” he said. “Getting out of Afghanistan is a wonderful and positive thing to do.” O’Connell called Biden’s choice of date “flat tone-deaf.”
Trump blasted the Johnson & Johnson pause in a statement issued by his political action committee rather than his office as ex-president. He called it “a terrible disservice to people throughout the world.” He suggested that Biden and the Food and Drug Administration might be biased in favor of Pfizer, a competitor that has also produced a vaccine. “The only way we defeat the China Virus is with our great vaccines!” he concluded. Trump later promoted articles arguing Biden was delaying the country’s return to normal.
This, to some extent, relitigates an argument Trump and Biden had during last year’s campaign over the speed with which normalcy could be restored. Exit polls showed Trump won voters who prioritized economic reopening by 58 points. But a greater number of voters prioritized containing the pandemic instead, and Biden won them by 60 points.
Trump has not yet confirmed he wants a rematch with Biden in 2024, though polls show he would have a good chance at capturing the Republican nomination if he chose to run. The former president has been taking active steps to remain influential among the grassroots and in control of the party’s infrastructure.
Either way, Trump’s attacks are certain to resonate with, and be imitated by, Republicans running in next year’s midterm elections and those who wish to follow in his footsteps two years later.
“It’s usually a pretty good bet that when Trump says something, it starts to show up shortly thereafter in candidate tweets, posts, announcement videos, and ads,” said Republican strategist Nicholas Everhart. “Think when it comes to the withdrawal from Afghanistan and [Trump-era vaccine development program] Operation Warp Speed, it’s not only an opportunity to align yourself with Trump from a messaging standpoint but also show you’re fighting to make sure his legacy issues aren’t being co-opted by Biden, and, in turn, it might be an opportunity to start roughing up Biden a bit politically, something that thus far still hasn’t really happened as we get close to month five of his presidency.”
Even though Trump lost to Biden, albeit by a much narrower margin than most public polls and Democratic operatives predicted, and saw his reputation take a bipartisan hit following a series of unsuccessful election challenges that culminated in violent protests at the Capitol on Jan. 6, he still sets the tone for much of the GOP.
“Donald Trump may be out of the White House, but he is the unquestioned leader of the Republican Party and the one person who can lead the GOP back to majorities in Washington next year, despite repeated attempts by Big Tech, the Democrats, and corporate media to silence his every word,” O’Connell said. “And should Trump choose to run for the White House in 2024, he will be the Republican Party presidential nominee.”
Original Author: W. James Antle III
Original Location: Trump steps up campaign-style attacks on Biden