Robert De Niro and Biden campaign against Trump outside the courthouse

After first ignoring former President Donald J. Trump’s criminal trial and then beginning to make sly insinuations that he was “off on Wednesday,” the court’s day off, President Biden’s campaign embarked on a stunt intended to highlight the unprecedented situation of a major party presidential candidate awaiting a felony verdict.

The Biden campaign held a news conference Tuesday outside the Manhattan courthouse with Robert De Niro, the actor whose voice narrates the campaign’s latest ad, as well as Harry Dunn and Michael Fanone, two former officers of the US Capitol police who attacked Mr Trump over his role in the Capitol riot in January. 6, 2021.

Mr. De Niro said Mr. Trump engaged in “cowardly violence” after the 2020 election.

“He orders the crowd to do the dirty work for him,” he said.

The press conference was the kind of thing the Trump campaign would have done from the start if the political situation had reversed.

The Biden campaign has for weeks complied with the president’s letter directive not to respond to criminal charges against Mr. Trump facing or commenting on the trial, but his decision to send surrogates to the Manhattan courthouse while the former president’s lawyer delivering his closing argument was hardly subtle.

Although Mr. De Niro and the two former police officers did not speak to Mr. During Trump’s trial in Manhattan – he is accused of falsifying business records linked to a secret payment to a porn star before the 2016 election – they sought to draw attention to his actions that led to the events of January. 6, which are the subject of another ongoing federal criminal case against Mr. Atout.

Mr. De Niro also mentioned last year’s civil case in which a jury found Mr. Trump responsible for sexually abusing and defaming E. Jean Carroll, a former magazine writer. In January, the former president was ordered to pay $83.3 million in damages to Caroll. The Biden campaign has rarely discussed this case or the verdict against Mr. Trump.

“A few blocks from here, a jury found him responsible for sexual abuse,” Mr. De Niro said.

The Biden campaign sought to argue that bringing Mr. De Niro and the two Capitol Police officers to Mr. Trump’s trial was not a commentary on the case but on the assembled media scrum. to cover it.

“We’re not here today because of what’s happening there,” Michael Tyler, the campaign’s communications director, told reporters gathered outside the courthouse. “We are here today because you are all here.”

With a number of protesters stationed in a protest zone outside the courthouse, many news conferences throughout the trial caused some ruckus. A crowd of Trump supporters shouted at Mr. De Niro and the former Capitol police officers as they appeared downtown, calling him an elitist and a traitor.

Mr. Trump has sought to link his four pending criminal cases and desperately argued that Mr. Biden is behind them all. In addition to the Manhattan trial, he is charged in separate federal cases for his manipulation of classified documents and his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, as well as a case in Georgia related to his efforts to overturn this year’s results- there.

The Trump campaign quickly jumped on Biden’s press conference.

“The Biden people finally did it,” said Jason Miller, a senior campaign adviser. “After months of saying politics had nothing to do with this trial, they came in and held a campaign event. »

He characterized Mr. De Niro’s involvement as a desperate bid for a campaign to raise Mr. Biden’s poll numbers, calling him a “failed actor” and arguing that campaign staffers present at press conference felt it was a bad idea to stand in the professional shadows of the courthouse.

Steven Cheung, a spokesman for the Trump campaign, said the Biden campaign was “making a political mockery” of the criminal case with its appearance.

Asked about the Biden campaign’s assertion that it held a news conference at the courthouse only because national media had been stationed there for weeks, Karoline Leavitt, the campaign’s press secretary, responded simply : “They are pathetic.”

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