For tired Democrats, Trump verdict is finally a positive

For Democrats who have suffered through a difficult news cycle regarding President Joe Biden, Donald Trump’s conviction on 34 counts in New York on Thursday offered a rare bright spot.

Biden, who has struggled in the polls and is fighting to keep part of his core base intact for the fall election, remained silent himself after the verdict was announced, with his campaign sticking to the message that the only way to defeat Trump was at the ballot box.

“No one is above the law… Donald Trump has always mistakenly believed that he would never face consequences for breaking the law for his own personal gain,” campaign spokesperson said Biden, Michael Tyler, in a statement. “The threat Trump poses to our democracy has never been greater. “

NBC News was at Biden’s campaign headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, just before the impending verdict was announced. It was, at least for the moment, a Thursday like any other, in the bustling two floors of an office in a downtown skyscraper, near Biden’s home. The campaign was preparing for an important month intended to turn the page on the end of Trump’s trial, which will conclude with the first of two face-to-face Biden-Trump debates.

At the same time, Thursday’s campaign underscored the message it teased last week: that voters should wake up to the possibility of another Trump term. That means, they say, getting involved in Democratic campaigns and fundraising to stop Trump in November — and not expecting Trump to somehow disappear because of the myriad of trials he faces.

But allies and Democrats saw those resounding beliefs — across the board — as a potential obstacle to Trump’s electoral prospects in a race that poll after poll has shown to be close.

“There’s no way to pretend it’s a good day for Donald Trump,” said Pete Giangreco, a veteran Democratic strategist who once worked on former President Barack Obama’s campaign. “There’s no way to tell how many people who can’t vote for a felon are Trump voters. There are a lot of people who don’t like Biden and don’t like the current situation, who before today would hold their noses and vote for Trump. I think a lot of these people might now say, “I’m going to stay home.”

That’s unlikely to be reflected in the polls, Giangreco said: “What the polls can’t measure is who’s going to stay home.” »

A Biden ally called it a “great day” and was among Democrats who saw the verdict as a potential boost for Biden, calling it “perhaps a turning point.”

The verdict served as another kind of marker, and that’s where it may have finally woken up potential voters who hadn’t yet been paying attention to the presidential election, said veteran Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg .

“This clearly makes it more difficult for Donald Trump to win the election,” Rosenberg said. “It’s probably going to speed up the fine-tuning of the process, and for people who are just waking up, what they’re going to learn is that the leader of the Republican Party is a convicted felon.”

Biden was not expected to hold a separate press briefing to respond to the verdict, according to a person with knowledge of his plans. But he might end up answering a question about it in the future, when he’s already in front of reporters.

“We respect the rule of law and have no additional comment,” said Ian Sams, a spokesman for the White House Office of Counsel.

At the same time, the Biden The campaign emphasized the message it teased last week: that voters should be aware of the possibilities of another Trump term. That means, according to the campaign, getting supporters Involved in Democratic campaigns and fundraisers to stop Trump in November – and get them to do it stop expecting him to one way or another because of the countless trials he faces.

A Democratic strategist familiar with the Biden campaign’s thinking said the re-election team took the long view when it came to Thursday’s guilty verdict. As important as this development is now, the fact that Trump “is a criminal is not going to be a central message” in the long term, the strategist said.

Last week, the Biden campaign announced plans to take a more aggressive and targeted approach to Trump once the deal is concluded. Biden’s team will focus on its top issues about what matters to voters: threats to democracy and individual freedoms, Biden’s economic accomplishments and prioritizing the middle class over the wealthy and corporations.

“Ultimately, the president must convince the American people that Trump’s chaos and anarchy are bad for their lives, not just Trump’s,” the strategist said.

While the campaign was careful not to take a celebratory tone, other Democrats were much more open in their thoughts. Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, whose state is hosting the Democratic convention this summer, hasn’t been shy about taking office.

“Donald Trump is a racist, a homophobe, a crook and a threat to this country. He can now add one more title to his list: a criminal,” Pritzker wrote on X.

A social media fan account not associated with the Biden campaign posted a photo of Biden holding an ice cream cone and manipulated the photo so that he was holding a giant “L.”

Brandon Weathersby, a spokesman for the pro-Biden American Bridge PAC, said in a statement: “This trial exposed Trump’s corrupt deals with tabloids, exploitation of his staff and associates, and willingness to do whatever it takes to serve yourself above all else. The past six weeks have reminded voters that Donald Trump’s number one priority is still himself. At a time when we need stable, clear-headed leadership to stand up to adversaries like Russia and China, Trump reminded voters that he will always put himself above the needs of the country.”

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