While Elizabeth Warren, Mayor Pete and, to a lesser extent, Kamala Harris, are rising in the polls in Iowa at the expense of Bernie and Biden, the former Vice President still holds a lead in national polls. That makes him, for the moment, the foil that Trump apparently needs in order to focus in on his 2020 campaign, of which he has been mostly indifferent, so far. He’s not changed his messaging; he has no second-term agenda; and, according to the NYTimes, he seems mostly apathetic about the details.
However, according to Donald Trump’s own polling, Biden is kicking his ass around the country, and he doesn’t want anyone to know it.
After being briefed on a devastating 17-state poll conducted by his campaign pollster, Tony Fabrizio, Mr. Trump told aides to deny that his internal polling showed him trailing Mr. Biden in many of the states he needs to win, even though he is also trailing in public polls from key states like Texas, Michigan and Pennsylvania. And when top-line details of the polling leaked, including numbers showing the president lagging in a cluster of critical Rust Belt states, Mr. Trump instructed aides to say publicly that other data showed him doing well. Mr. Biden seems to have gotten into the president’s head — at least for now.
Trump and Biden will both hold events today in Iowa, and the two are expected to go after each other.
While in Davenport, Iowa, Tuesday, Biden will go after Trump by name dozens of times while labeling him “an existential threat to America.”
“In 2020, we not only have to repudiate Donald Trump’s policies and values — we have to clearly and firmly reject his view of the Presidency,” Biden will say, according to prepared remarks released by his campaign.
More from his prepared remarks, via CBS:
“How many sleepless nights do you think Trump has had over what he’s doing to America’s farmers?” Biden will ask Iowans Tuesday. “Here’s the answer: Just as many as he had when he stiffed the construction workers and electricians and plumbers who built his hotels and casinos. Zero.”
The “cashiers at Target … know more about economics than Trump,” Biden will assert.
On climate change, Biden is expected to chide the president’s previous climate-related comments, saying, “If he was just another rich guy sitting in his gold-plated apartment in Manhattan tweeting about how those pointy-headed scientists don’t know anything, it wouldn’t matter — but he’s president.”
That’s not bad, Joe. And it will get under Trump’s skin, because Trump only views the other old white guy as his equal, and my hope is that the next six months will operate like I hope the next season of Billions will go: Two hubristic white dudes destroy each other while someone else — like Warren or Harris — rises out of their ashes.
In the meantime, another line of attack Biden should open up against Trump is the fact that Trump continues to manufacture crises and congratulate himself not following through on his threats. To wit: Last week, Trump threatened Mexico with tariffs unless they began patrolling their border more effectively. No one, including Republicans, wanted to place tariffs on Mexico, so before the deadline, Trump announced that he had struck a deal with Mexico and tried to take credit for strong-arming our neighbors to the South. The only thing is: Former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen negotiated most of that deal months ago before Trump fired her.
There was nothing new in the agreement, either, so Trump — to save face — lied and claimed that there were other provisions in the agreement that the public did not know about yet.
We have fully signed and documented another very important part of the Immigration and Security deal with Mexico, one that the U.S. has been asking about getting for many years. It will be revealed in the not too distant future and will need a vote by Mexico’s Legislative body!..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 10, 2019
…Companies to come to the U.S.A and to get companies that have left us for other lands to come back home. We stupidly lost 30% of our auto business to Mexico. If the Tariffs went on at the higher level, they would all come back, and pass. But very happy with the deal I made,…— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 11, 2019
….If Mexico produces (which I think they will). Biggest part of deal with Mexico has not yet been revealed! China is similar, except they devalue currency and subsidize companies to lessen effect of 25% Tariff. So far, little effect to consumer. Companies will relocate to U.S.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 11, 2019
Only, the Mexican government doesn’t know about that agreement, either. They denied that there was another “very important part” of the agreement, but Trump being Trump, he has doubled down:
REPORTER: The Mexican government says there was no secret agreement. So what do you mean when you say there was?— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 10, 2019
TRUMP: We have an agreement on something they will announce very soon
R: Why are they denying it then?
T: I don't think they'll be denying it very long#lunacy pic.twitter.com/I0bIzWdPBK
We will never find out about the “other” secret agreement, of course, because it does not exist, but Trump knows he can wait it out, just as he waited out that very important press conference in which Ivanka would reveal how she gained a green card, just as he has waited out revealing his taxes. Remember Jamal Khashoggi? Yeah, Trump kept saying, “Well, I’ll have more to say about that after the investigation,” and he kept putting it off and putting it off until last week when a reporter asked him about it, and he was like, “Are you guys still talking about that?”
REPORTER: "Mr. President, are you willing to say that MBS is responsible for Khashoggi’s death?"— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 3, 2019
TRUMP: "When did this come up again? What are you, back — are you back —"
R: "Jared. Jared talked to Axios."
TRUMP: "Are you back — what — 4 months ago? No." pic.twitter.com/3XmW5Mu9Wu
And that’s been Trump’s strategy all along: Deny, deny, deny until the press loses patience and moves on to the next crisis of Trump’s own making. In the meantime:
Trump secretly approved the transfer of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia after the killing of Jamal Khashoggi without informing Congress….President Trump also hid from Congress that Saudi Arabia is accelerating missile program with Chinese aid. https://t.co/MUaCMqn13T— Rula Jebreal (@rulajebreal) June 6, 2019
Someone might want to ask him about that, but then again, aside from yelling out questions to the President on the White House lawn as he gets into Air Force One, the press outside of Fox News and other friendly reporters, doesn’t get many chances to ask the President questions. It’s hard to hold the President’s feet over the fire when the guy won’t take off his damn shoes.