President Joe Biden and his top aides have chosen to remain silent on the federal indictment of former President Donald Trump. Biden has explicitly instructed the national Democratic Party and his reelection campaign to also refrain from discussing the charges against Trump. The decision has raised concerns among some Democrats and allies who believe that Biden could miss an opportunity to emphasize the gravity of the situation and deliver a political blow to his top White House rival.
Biden made it clear at the beginning of his presidency that he would not comment on ongoing Department of Justice investigations, particularly those involving the former president. Even when Trump was arraigned in a Florida courthouse on Tuesday, Biden maintained his silence. Some individuals close to Biden hope that the decision will be reconsidered if next year’s general election appears to be a rematch with Trump, even if the legal proceedings are still ongoing. They see the charges against Trump as a potent political weapon for Biden’s reelection campaign.
The number of criminal cases against Trump continues to grow, and potential charges could include election interference and incitement related to the January 6th riot. These actions form the basis of Biden’s argument that Trump poses unique threats to American democracy. There may be a future possibility of allowing surrogates and leading Democrats, if not the president himself, to address the criminal charges directly.
While some left-leaning groups outside of Biden’s control have already produced ads focusing on Trump’s legal troubles, their reach is more limited compared to the party’s political apparatus and the president himself. Biden has privately expressed disgust with Trump’s behavior but is honoring his promise to allow the Department of Justice independence from the White House. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has advised members of Congress not to comment on the Trump investigations if they are speaking publicly as Biden campaign surrogates.
“I have never once — not one single time — suggested to the Justice Department what they should do or not do, relative to bringing a charge or not bringing a charge,” Biden told reporters Thursday. “I’m honest.
My heart feels so broken by a lot of the headlines that we see on the news,” she told donors at a fundraiser Monday night in New York. “Like I just saw, when I was on my plane, it said 61 percent of Republicans are going to vote, they would vote for Trump.”