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As second Democratic debate wraps, Trump camp focuses on Biden

·White House Correspondent
·3 min read
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President Trump’s campaign team and allies clearly had their sights set on former Vice President Joe Biden during the second Democratic primary debate on Thursday night.

The Trump campaign Thursday night sent out 13 “rapid response” emails about the debate, most of them were defending Trump’s record. Two of the messages attacked other Democrats and four were focused on Biden.

The missives from the Trump campaign highlighted Biden’s reliance on wealthy donors, how immigrants were treated at the border during the “Obama-Biden” administration, and comments Biden made indicating China wasn’t major competition for the U.S., and accused him of repeatedly being wrong on national security issues.

The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this story.

Biden is currently leading the crowded field of Democratic presidential candidates, so he makes a natural target for the Trump campaign. However, just last month, top members of Trump’s campaign team insisted they wouldn’t be focusing on any individual Democrats and instead would treat them as “one homogenous group” to best capitalize on potential infighting during the primary.

Joe Biden and President Trump. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: AP(2), Wilfredo Lee/AP)
Joe Biden and President Trump. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: AP(2), Wilfredo Lee/AP)

Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign communications director, pushed back on the idea they were focused on Biden, pointing to the rapid response emails the campaign sent out during the Wednesday debate that did not feature Biden. Overall, Murtaugh predicted the debates would benefit Trump because they showcased the Democrats’ “crazy policy proposals.”

“At this moment there’s no way to know who President Trump’s opponent will be. Our mission for the Democrat debates was to promote and defend the president’s record, fact check the candidates in real time, and expose the truth about the candidates’ own records,” Murtaugh said. “Over the two days, we feel like we spread the love around pretty well.”

The Trump campaign sent out less than half as many rapid response emails during the debate that did not include Biden.

Trump was in Japan on Thursday for the annual G-20 summit and had meetings with other world leaders while the Democrats were on stage debating. He still managed to fire off one tweet critiquing the Democratic field for supporting health care programs for undocumented immigrants.

The president’s son Donald Trump Jr. was far more active on Twitter as the debate unfolded — and he clearly had his eye on Biden. Don Jr. tweeted and retweeted 29 times during the debate, and 16 of those posts were solely about Biden.

As the debate drew to a close, Trump’s allies seized on the idea that Biden had performed badly, particularly during a fiery exchange where Sen. Kamala Harris questioned his record on race.

Donald Trump Jr. shared footage of the Hindenburg blimp going down in flames.

“Live shot inside Biden HQ,” he wrote.

Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale suggested Harris had killed Biden’s chances of winning.

“Checkmate @KamalaHarris. Sorry @JoeBiden!” Parscale wrote.

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