Inside Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, Joe Biden is a shadow of the past.
Once his chief rival in the 2020 Democratic presidential field, and the cause of so much presidential angst that Trump mounted a pressure campaign against Ukraine to damage him, the former vice president’s name is now hardly mentioned in conversations with the president’s aides — that is, unless they’re mocking him.
“Lately, he looks like he’s competing against himself,” a top Trump aide said late last week as delayed data from the Iowa caucuses appeared to confirm Biden’s dismal fourth-place finish.
With Biden increasingly struggling — recent polls showed him trailing Sen. Bernie Sanders and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg in New Hampshire just ahead of the first-in-the-nation primary, and he is said to be running low on cash — the Trump campaign is now salivating at the thought of what could unfold next.
After months of meddling in the Democratic primary with presidential tweets, campaign ads and behind-the-scenes oppo dumps, the president and his team are taking a break to let the nominating contest play out naturally and taking bets on when — not whether — it will devolve into an epic intraparty conflict.
“The campaign doesn’t have to do anything but step back and watch the Democrats demolish themselves,” said a GOP operative close to the Trump campaign. “This is like a dream scenario.”
“If you had asked me at the beginning of all of this which Democrats would be the weakest to run against from the moderate and the progressive lanes, the answers would have been Buttigieg and Bernie,” the operative added, pointing to the two candidates leading the Democratic field out of Iowa.