[4 / 1 / ?]

Trump Can’t Stop Attacking Biden. G.O.P. Strategists Wish He Would.

No.399350 ViewReplyOriginalReport
WASHINGTON — As President Trump has struggled to explain the difficulty of negotiating a trade agreement with China, he has embraced a side argument: A Democratic president would only agree to a worse deal.

But not just any Democratic president.

“China is DREAMING that Sleepy Joe Biden, or any of the others, gets elected in 2020,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter Sunday. “They LOVE ripping off America!”

By Monday afternoon, Mr. Biden, making his first trip to New Hampshire since entering the 2020 race, was happily returning fire, criticizing the Twitter-borne blur of threats and flattery Mr. Trump had aimed at Beijing. “He’s going about it all the wrong way, a lot of bravado, no action,” the former vice president told reporters.

It is just the sort of fight Mr. Biden has been spoiling for: a head-to-head contest with the incumbent on an issue that elevates Mr. Biden into a statesmanlike role, well above the Democratic primary fray and all the sniping candidates and liberal litmus tests therein.

For Mr. Trump’s advisers, it was one more example of the president’s inability to resist offering what amounts to an in-kind contribution to a Democrat who, according to their own polling, is positioned to soundly defeat them next year.

The president, though, has told advisers he believes he can portray Mr. Biden, a longtime Washington veteran, as representative of an ossified political class the same way he did Hillary Clinton, wounding him with enough attacks and put-downs that Mr. Biden will either stagger into the general election or collapse in the primary.

In the three weeks since Mr. Biden announced his candidacy, Mr. Trump has tried out two nicknames on him, accused his opponent and family members of corrupt dealings with Ukraine (prompting a coordinated Democratic response) and argued that he’s naïve about the threats America faces.