An upbeat Biden ranges far as trial keeps Trump tied up

By AFP   April 26, 2024 | 11:58 pm PT
An upbeat Biden ranges far as trial keeps Trump tied up
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at Grand Rapids, Michigan on April 2, 2024. Photo by AFP
Meetings, interviews, fundraising events, official travel: Joe Biden tried this week to be everywhere at once while his rival Donald Trump was held up in court.

It was a tactical campaign move by an 81-year-old president who faces mixed polls and nagging questions about his age.

Since last Monday, Trump has been tied up in criminal court in connection with alleged hidden payments to a former porn star.

And for the next several weeks, the 77-year-old former Republican president, who's been indicted in several other cases, will see his campaign disrupted while he sits in the New York courtroom.

Biden's team jubilantly noted that last Wednesday, the only day Trump was not required to be in court, the real estate magnate played golf.

"I haven't had a chance to watch the court proceedings," Biden chuckled on Thursday at a fundraiser at the home of actor Michael Douglas, "because I've been out campaigning."

On Tuesday, Biden flew to Florida to defend abortion rights. A day later, he presented himself to construction workers as a child of the middle class. On Thursday, Biden announced heavy federal investments in semiconductors.

Trump "learned the best way to get rich is inherit it," said Biden, adding: "I guess that's how you look at the world from Mar-a-Lago," the former president's vast estate in Florida.

On Friday, Biden again played up the contrast in a radio interview with host Howard Stern, a regular venue for Trump before he won the presidency in 2016. Stern and Trump often delved into salacious terrain.

But Friday's interview was neither abrasive nor off-color.

Biden reviewed his life, the painful moments -- the death of his first wife and their baby daughter, then the death of his eldest son from cancer -- as well as the happy ones, such as meeting his current wife Jill.

With the encouragement of a very supportive Stern, Biden took the opportunity to highlight his sense of family, his empathy and his resilience.


"We have a fundamentally different value set," Biden said of Trump.

However, the week was not all roses for the Democrat.

On Wednesday, a Bloomberg News/Morning Consult poll gave Trump the lead in several crucial states.

On Thursday, he was hit by worse-than-expected economic statistics.

And questions about Biden's age resurfaced, thanks to a change in his routine.

Until now, when Biden traveled by helicopter, he walked alone to Marine One on the White House lawn, and did the same on his return, with multiple cameras focused on him.

Recently however, the president has been surrounded by advisors as he walks these few dozen yards.

According to the Axios news outlet, some aides prefer moving in a group to draw attention away from Biden's gait, which has stiffened considerably.

This is not the first such accommodation. Biden who has fallen several times in public, now prefers the shortest walkway to board his plane. He was also recently seen wearing thick-soled sneakers rather than dress shoes.

The Democrat has a well-honed response to polls and age.

On the subject of opinion polls, he constantly criticizes the press for ignoring those that are favorable to him, such as an NPR/Marist poll this week that puts him ahead of Trump in voting intentions nationwide.

At Michael Douglas's home on Thursday, he recalled that the actor played Benjamin Franklin in a series.

"I knew him really well. He was only a couple of years older than I was," he joked about the founding father of the United States, who died in 1790.

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