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Joe Biden wants to remind 2024 voters of a record and an agenda. Often it’s Donald Trump’s

SEATTLE — President Joe Biden is running for reelection on a record and an agenda — often Donald Trump’s.

In a hotel ballroom in Seattle, at fancy homes in California and at stops in Illinois and Wisconsin over the past week, Biden has been betting that reminding voters about Trump’s presidency and highlighting his Republican opponent’s latest campaign statements will work to the Democrat’s advantage.

At a Seattle fundraiser Friday night, Biden brought up Trump’s recent interview with Time magazine in which Trump said states should be left to determine whether to prosecute women for abortions or to monitor their pregnancies.

“I really urge you to read it,” Biden said.

Biden, who had another Seattle fundraiser scheduled for Saturday before returning to the East Coast, has plenty of other Trump material to draw from, too.

The president highlights how Trump has promised, if elected, to be “a dictator on Day 1”, how he has suggested the United States would not necessarily defend allies from aggression and how he has pledged to “totally obliterate the deep state” in the federal bureaucracy, which he blames for blocking his first-term agenda.

“And he said a whole lot more,” Biden said during a Chicago appearance. “But the bad news is he means what he says. He means what he says. Unless you think I’m kidding, just think back to the 6th of January. This guy means what he says,” referring to the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Biden wants the 2024 election to be a referendum on Trump’s record and plans, but he also wants voters to look favorably on his own policies and actions.

Biden and his allies think the country needs reminding about Trump’s tenure and his outlandish and often concerning statements, particularly because the Republican is no longer ubiquitous on X, formerly Twitter, nor is he in front of television cameras as often as he once was.

“Chaos is nothing new for Trump,” Biden said in Chicago. “His presidency was chaos. Trump is trying to make the — the country forget about the dark and unsettling things that he did when he was president. Well, we’re going to not let them forget.”

Biden frequently highlights Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election and how he stood by when supporters violently stormed the Capitol as Congress met to certify his loss to Biden. He also points to Trump separating children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border, tax cuts the Republican pushed through that benefited corporations and the wealthy and his repeated efforts to overturn the Affordable Care Act.

Biden’s barbs have been getting sharper of late.

He opened his Seattle fundraiser on Friday night by telling donors, “Thank you for the warm welcome. Please keep it down, because Donald Trump is sleeping. Sleepy Don.” That was a riff off of news reports that the former president has dozed off during his criminal trial in a New York courtroom. Trump has pleaded not guilty to charges in a hush money scheme to illegally influence the 2016 presidential election.

Biden also talks about Trump’s admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his self-described “love letters” with Kim Jong Un, the authoritarian leader of North Korea.

Biden frequently jabs at Trump for wondering aloud during the COVID-19 pandemic whether disinfectants could be injected or ingested to fight the virus. “That bleach he didn’t inject in his body; he just put it in his hair,” Biden says to laughter every time. “But, look, he’s got more hair than I do.”

Trump’s campaign said in a statement that “their records speak for themselves. President Trump created the most secure border in history and peace in the world. President Trump was the first president in modern history not to enter the U.S. in any new wars. Joe Biden’s weakness has led to wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, an immigrant invasion of our border, anti-Semitic protests on our college campuses, and crime and chaos in every American city.”

Trump doesn’t hesitate to criticize Biden and his policies. Trump is spending much of his time lately sitting in court. But before and after the proceedings, he often stands in front of cameras outside the courtroom and goes after Biden.

At a recent Wisconsin rally, Trump mentioned Biden within the first 2½ minutes of his speech and referenced the president or his administration more than 60 times during his remarks.

Trump’s criticism often takes a dark turn. Last weekend, he told donors at his Florida resort that Biden was running a “Gestapo administration.”

The Gestapo was the secret police force of the Third Reich that squelched political opposition generally and, specifically, targeted Jewish people for arrest during the Holocaust. Trump’s unfounded comparison to Nazi-era tactics is part of his effort to deny and deflect the charges against him, most notably his effort to overturn Biden’s 2020 victory.

Biden’s strategy is a gamble. Voters are divided in their views of both men’s presidencies.

An April poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that nearly half thought Trump’s presidency hurt the country on voting rights and election security, relations with foreign countries, abortion laws and climate change. But more than half of U.S. adults thought Biden’s presidency hurt the country on cost of living and immigration.

For all his criticism of Trump, Biden does get around to talking about his agenda and accomplishments. He tells supporters about his work to boost the economy and to bring the country out of the pandemic. He discusses his support for abortion rights even as he highlights how Trump has taken credit for the overturning of Roe v. Wade in part because of his Supreme Court nominations.

“Folks, the choice is clear,” Biden told supporters recently in the nation’s capital. “Donald Trump’s vision of America is one of revenge and retribution.”

“I’ve never been more optimistic about America’s chances,” he went on. “Not because I’m president, because of the state of the moment. The world needs us.”


Long reported from Washington. AP White House Correspondent Zeke Miller in Washington contributed to this report.

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