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Biden campaign on Trump’s guilty verdict: ‘No one is above the law’

Democrats in and around the White House reacted to the unprecedented decision.
In this combination of photos, President Joe Biden and Donald Trump
Posted at 9:40 PM, May 30, 2024

Just minutes after a New York jury found former President Donald Trump guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business records in his hush money trial, President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign stressed that “no one is above the law,” while continuing to assert the importance of beating Trump not just in the court of law but in the court of public opinion as well.

“Donald Trump has always mistakenly believed he would never face consequences for breaking the law for his own personal gain,” Biden-Harris 2024 communications director Michael Tyler said in a statement. “But today’s verdict does not change the fact that the American people face a simple reality. There is still only one way to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office: at the ballot box. Convicted felon or not, Trump will be the Republican nominee for president.”

Biden, who was in Delaware commemorating the ninth anniversary of his son Beau’s death when the verdict was rendered, had no public events scheduled Thursday evening.

“We respect the rule of law, and have no additional comment,” said Ian Sams, a spokesman for the White House counsel’s office.

Vice President Harris — who was aboard Air Force Two en route to Los Angeles when the jury read the verdict — has not publicly commented on the decision as of Thursday night.

Even as Biden has ramped up his criticisms of the former president on the campaign trail, he’s so far steered clear of commenting on Trump’s legal problems — stressing instead the importance of an independent Justice Department.

But days before the verdict, the Biden campaign notably leaned into Trump’s legal troubles in a new way – holding a press conference outside the New York courthouse featuring several officers involved in the response to the Jan. 6 insurrection and the actor Robert De Niro.

“The fact is whether he’s acquitted, whether it’s a hung jury, whatever it is, he is guilty, and we all know it,” De Niro said over a chorus of pro-Trump protestors.

Former President Donald Trump walks to make comments to members of the media after a jury convicted him of felony crimes for falsifying business records in a scheme to illegally influence the 2016 election.

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The Trump campaign seized on the event as evidence the trial was meant to derail Trump politically.

“Joe Biden's campaign just conceded that this entire criminal trial against President Trump is political,” Karoline Leavitt, Trump campaign national press secretary, responded in an interview with Scripps News. “The fact that they're here outside of this criminal courthouse shows you that they know what they're doing with this trial.”

Democratic strategists in favor of President Biden’s approach tell Scripps News Trump’s unprecedented guilty verdict will remain top-of-mind for voters whether or not Biden addresses it directly.

“It’s gonna be the biggest story in the country tomorrow,” said Bob Shrum, a longtime Democratic operative who at one point worked on Biden’s Senate campaign. “It’s gonna keep going on; it’s gonna be in the debate in June.”

“We have five-and-a-half months to be talking about this,” said Simon Rosenberg, an alum of the Clinton White House and prominent Democratic commentator. “There’s plenty of time to have this conversation.”

“The election is likely going to come down to thousands of votes in key states, and we know there are plenty of voters unwilling to elect a 34-time convicted felon to the presidency,” said Eric Schultz, a Democratic strategist who worked in the Obama-Biden White House. “This will be a race where every vote counts, and there’s no question Trump is losing some today.”

As for Biden’s personal approach, Rosenberg had this advice:

“Let the dust settle. Be careful and steady and strong,” he said. “Take your time. Be Joe Biden.”