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June 18, 2024

Why Biden is dialing up his mockery of Trump: From the Politics Desk

Why Biden is dialing up his mockery of Trump: From the Politics Desk

Welcome to the online version of From the Politics Desk, an evening newsletter that brings you the NBC News Politics team’s latest reporting and analysis from the campaign trail, the White House and Capitol Hill.

In today’s edition, White House correspondents Mike Memoli and Monica Alba note how Joe Biden is ramping up the personal attacks on Donald Trump. Plus, “Meet the Press” moderator Kristen Welker interviews two governors about whether bipartisanship can still exist in these divided times.

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Biden’s latest campaign goal: Get under Trump’s skin

By Mike Memoli and Monica Alba

As President Joe Biden works to defeat Donald Trump, he’s increasingly focused on another goal he thinks will help him achieve that: getting under his skin. 

In recent weeks, both in private and public settings, Biden has ramped up personal, biting and often sarcastic broadsides against his Republican opponent, targeting his financial challenges, his campaign tempo and even his weight.

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It’s a strategy largely driven by Biden himself, according to multiple aides and advisers familiar with the approach. 

“This is him, and we’re following his lead,” one Biden aide said. “There’s just something about Joe Biden that gets under Donald Trump’s skin more than anybody, and I think Joe Biden knows that.”

At a star-studded fundraiser Thursday evening, Biden was asked what was at stake in the 2024 election. After giving an answer criticizing Trump’s positions broadly, he concluded: “All the things he’s doing are so old … a little old and out of shape.” 

Biden also took a jab at the former president’s physical stamina while telling a story recounting a brief conversation they had about golf at the White House shortly after Trump’s election.

“I told him this once before when he came into the Oval before he was sworn in. I said, ‘I’ll give you three strokes, but you carry your own bag,’” Biden said to laughs. 

The president came up with those jokes on his own, according to two aides and a senior adviser, who pointed out that Biden is often using similar quips in internal staff meetings. 

Biden’s team thinks these kinds of comments and jokes may resonate with voters for two reasons: because it’s “rooted,” one aide said, in who Biden is at his core and because it wouldn’t work as well if it didn’t have some authenticity to it. 

While contrasting their policy positions is important to the president, an adviser said Biden is “totally the driver” of presenting a “stark” character difference with Trump as well.  

Read more here →

A time for bipartisanship? Two governors weigh in on leadership in a crisis

By Kristen Welker

In a time when the country is so divided, how do we come together? 

That’s the question facing our elected leaders on a daily basis, and especially in times of crisis. And that’s the challenge facing Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, a Democrat, as he leads his state after this week’s deadly bridge collapse in Baltimore

“Whether you’re a governor or elected to another office, you are called upon to serve all, to think of all, and to transcend some of the politics and unfortunate polarization that we see today,” Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey, also a Democrat, told me this week at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Boston, where Moore and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican, were honored. (Moore could not attend the event due to the bridge collapse.) 

Sununu stressed the importance of transparency in a time of crisis and fostering a sense of “we’re all in this together.” 

“And if you have that, it kind of circumvents the political issues or policy, and even folks that might not agree with the decision or a path you’re taking,” Sununu said. 

Rebuilding this critical thoroughfare is a daunting task for Moore, who is facing his first major test since taking office last year. It’s also a test for the Biden administration, including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who told Politico that the Baltimore bridge collapse is “one of the most striking and extreme emergency situations that we’ve faced.” And it’s a test for Congress, as lawmakers from both parties will try to come together to provide crucial funding to rebuild the bridge. 

Partisanship does, of course, persist, especially as we get closer to November. Take Sununu, who finds himself in a unique position in his own party. After vigorously opposing Trump in the presidential primary, Sununu now supports him for the general election, albeit begrudgingly. 

“It’s a binary choice for me,” Sununu said, later adding: “I might not like Trump and what he’s done and all that. But I can get a Republican administration, or I could get, you know, President Kamala Harris. And for the average Republican, we go, ‘Oh, I guess we’re sticking with that guy because it’s about the administration.’” 

But Sununu also stressed that the country is not as divided as it may seem. And, speaking of bipartisanship, Healey agreed. 

“There is far more that unites us than divides us as a country,” Healey said. 

🗞️ Today’s top stories

  • 🔀 Crossing the aisle: Biden released an ad aimed directly at winning over Nikki Haley’s voters, using comments from Trump that her supporters are not welcome in his campaign. Read more →
  • 💲Art of the deal: Trump is now selling a wide range of products, ranging from sneakers to perfume to trading cards to Bibles. Experts say it’s unprecedented for a presidential candidate to intertwine business ventures with a campaign to this degree. Read more →
  • 🍑 Election moves : Georgia lawmakers passed a bill that would expand access for candidates to appear on the state’s presidential ballot and broaden abilities to challenge voter eligibility in the battleground state. Read more →
  • 🗳️ Ballot battle: A judge struck down New Jersey’s controversial ballot design ahead of the June primary, a win for Democratic Senate candidate Andy Kim and a blow to the state’s political machine. Read more →
  • Decision reversed: A Texas appeals court tossed out a woman’s five-year prison sentence for voting illegally, ending a yearslong saga that garnered national attention. Read more →
  • 🏀 March madness: A GOP Michigan state lawmaker posted a photo on social media claiming there were buses of “illegal invaders” at Detroit’s airport. But as the Detroit News notes, the buses were filled with college basketball players arriving for the NCAA Tournament. Read more →

That’s all from The Politics Desk for now. If you have feedback — likes or dislikes — email us at politicsnewsletter@nbcuni.com

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