President Joe Biden suggested Tuesday night that Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee facing dozens of state and federal charges, was the reason he was running for a second term.
“If Trump wasn’t the candidate, I’m not sure I would be,” Biden said at a fundraiser near Boston. “But we can’t let him win.” Later, when asked by a reporter if he would end his campaign if Trump did too, Biden replied, “No, not now.”
The president’s stated reason for running for another term isn’t exactly inspiring. Already, polls show him performing poorly in swing states and among young voters, and his campaign is beset by concerns about his age and fitness for office, as well as anger over his unconditional support for Israel’s war in Gaza. He may need a more compelling argument than what amounts to “I’m still not that other guy” to get voters excited about his campaign.
His comments appear to be part of his speech as an antidote to Trump. As the 2024 election gathers pace, Biden is increasingly warning of the dangers of a second Trump term, focusing his attacks on the many ways his predecessor poses a threat to democracy.
It’s not that different from his message during the 2020 election, which Biden embarked on after months of reflection. At the time, he positioned himself as a defender of American values and called the race a “battle for the soul” of the country.
Trump has shown that he is willing not only to break norms while in office, but that he would also be willing to tolerate the breaking of laws. His criminal trials and comments about retaliation against his “enemies” have provided the Biden campaign with strong arguments for the 2024 election.