If there’s one theme we can isolate and mock as denying political reality, it’s the theme that Joe Biden could still argue in any way that he’s all about a “thick bold line” between the White House and the Justice Department. The Politico “Playbook” team on Wednesday set out to explain ”Why Biden won’t touch on Trump“.
Eugene Daniels, Ryan Lizza, and Rachael Bade set out to explain how Team Biden thinks they can just decline to answer questions about the multiple indictments of Trump, pretending they are set apart from what’s going on:
LOOK AROUND, BIDENWORLD ON MUTE — It’s usually the first or second question of the briefing — and maybe third, fourth, fifth and sixth, too: “Does the White House have any comment on the indictment?”
The answers on those days when DONALD TRUMP’s legal peril is preeminent can always be boiled down to: “Go talk to literally anyone else about this.”
The reason for the silence is pretty simple. Candidate JOE BIDEN campaigned in 2020 on a restoration of time-tested governing norms — including the thick, bold line between the West Wing and the Justice Department that had been drawn after Watergate and, to Democrats, had been dangerously thinned during the Trump administration.
Then the special counsels and subpoenas and indictments and arrests started, sparking a frustrating almost-daily stalemate between the Beltway press corps and Biden’s foremost defenders at the White House and inside his political orbit.
Outside this media-Democrat complex, it doesn’t look like a “frustrating stalemate.” It’s liberal reporters underlining the never-ending “top story” of Trump’s scandals. They don’t really mind the deferral, and Team Biden doesn’t mind the question. But the pretense remains:
Biden in fact sent explicit orders that individuals or entities associated with him are not to discuss the criminal investigations into Trump — from his reelection campaign to the DNC to anyone speaking as Biden’s surrogate.
But four indictments and 91 felony counts later — and Trump’s political power within the GOP only growing — some Democrats are getting antsy.
The Politico Playbook writers aren’t really explaining why Biden would order silence — Democrats let the “objective media” go on offense do the attack-dog work. Anyone observing the tone of Trump vs. Biden coverage can’t miss the difference in tone: Trump is being pummeled by indictments and is in serious danger of going to jail. Meanwhile, Biden is hosting events inside and outside the White House touting his “inflation reduction” efforts. This is also a point-and-laugh enterprise.
Politico turned to longtime Democrat strategist Simon Rosenberg saying it’s inevitable that Team Biden will take on Trump. “It would be like not talking about the sky being blue,” he added. “It’s a major part of our discourse. It would be impossible for the campaign to avoid it.” That doesn’t mean it can’t wait until 2024.
For the opposing view, the Anonymous Source speaks:
“Americans know what Trump did,” said a Biden campaign alum, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe strategy. “A lesson of every election cycle from 2018 to now is, don’t get mired in the endless details of Trump scandals, talk about values and agendas.”
In the current environment, it’s the best of both worlds for the Democrats. Biden can talk about his “achievements” and values, and Republicans are all asked about Trump indictments instead of discussing Biden’s “achievements” and values.